Help - ISBN
ISBN FAQsWhere on my publication should the ISBN appear?
- Location and Display of the ISBN on Publications
- What's the difference between a reprint and a new edition?
- If a second edition has the same title as the first, does it keep the same ISBN?
- How are ISBNs assigned to multi-volume works?
- How are ISBNs assigned to books in a series?
- Can ISBNs be assigned to loose-leaf volumes?
- How are ISBNs assigned to packages?
- Can ISBNs be assigned to magazines?
- If a publisher is selling their books in another country, does the publisher have to get an ISBN for that country?
- If an ISBN is assigned in another country, does an Australia ISBN have to be purchased to sell the book in Australia?
- Can an Australian distributor assign an ISBN to a book with an ISBN assigned by another ISBN Agency in another country?
- If the price of the book changes, does the ISBN?
- If changing the cover of a book, does a new ISBN have to be assigned?
- If typos are being corrected, is a new ISBN necessary?
- Can an ISBN be reused?
- If one company buys another, can the buyer use the ISBNs or do they have to get new ISBNs?
- I got my ISBN from my printer and now I want to make sure it's in my name, how do I transfer the ISBN?
- If more than one publisher or self-publisher is publishing a book, who's ISBN goes on the book?
- What can be done when a book is printed with the wrong ISBN?
- Can I use one of my friend's (or relative's) ISBNs?
- If a spouse or family member passes away, can a relative or surviving spouse use the remaining ISBNs?
- If an author gets the publishing rights back, does the original publisher's ISBN remain?
- Can a publisher keep the same prefix when ordering additional ISBNs?
- If I'm using a print-on-demand company (POD), who's ISBN goes on my book?
- Can ISBNs be assigned according to access rights?
Location and Display of the ISBN on PublicationsThe ISBN must appear on the item itself.
In the case of printed publications, the ISBN must appear on the:
- Verso of the title page (copyright page)
- Foot of the title page, if there is no space on the title verso
- Lower section of the outside back cover
- Foot of the back of the jacket, or any other protective case, or wrapper
- Title display; the first display (compact discs, online publications); or on the screen that displays the title or its equivalent (e.g., the initial screen displayed when the content is first accessed and/or on the screen that carries the copyright notice)
- Credit titles
The different formats of an electronic publication shall be given an individual ISBN if they are made available separately. If the publication is made available in two formats that are always bundled together for sale, then only one ISBN is required. Where formats are made available separately, all the ISBNs should be listed one below the other on all versions and the abbreviated format should be mentioned in parentheses at the end of its ISBN.
ISBN 978-951-45-9693-3 (hardback)
ISBN 978-951-45-9694-0 (paperback)
ISBN 978-951-45-9695-7 (PDF)
What's the difference between a reprint and a new edition?A reprint means more copies are being printed with no substantial changes. Perhaps a few typos are being fixed. A new edition means that there has been substantial change: content has been altered in a way that might make a customer complain that this was not the product that was expected. Or, text has been changed to add a new feature, such as a preface or appendix or additional content. Or, content has been revised. Or, the book has been redesigned. Back to top
If a second edition has the same title as the first, does it keep the same ISBN?No. A new edition is considered a different product and gets its own ISBN. Back to top
How are ISBNs assigned to multi-volume works?ISBNs are assigned to the volumes as they are sold as products. If they are only available as a set, the set gets one ISBN. If each volume is available separately and as a set, each volume gets an ISBN and the set gets an ISBN. Back to top
How are ISBNs assigned to books in a series?An ISBN is assigned to each book in the series. A series of books is also eligible for an ISSN (International Standard Series Number), available from the Library of Congress. Back to top
Can ISBNs be assigned to loose-leaf volumes?Yes, such reference works are routinely tracked by revenue strands (individual vs. library subscription reporting) by publishers. Back to top
How are ISBNs assigned to packages?ISBNs are assigned to the package and to the individual products in the package if (a) the product is eligible for an ISBN and (b) the products are sold separately. Any product that needs to be ordered as a distinct product and that is eligible for an ISBN, should be assigned an ISBN in addition to the package itself, if it contains items that are eligible for an ISBN. Back to top
Can ISBNs be assigned to magazines?ISBNs are not assigned to magazines, academic journals or other periodicals. However, if a single issue of a periodical is being sold as a book, then that issue alone may be assigned an ISBN. Back to top
Products and Entities Eligible for ISBNsThe ISBN is intended for a monographic publication: text that stands on its own as a product, whether printed, audio or electronic. ISBNs are never assigned to music, performances or images, such as art prints or photographs. Consult the chart below to determine if specific products/entities are eligible for ISBNs.
|Advertising and promotional materials||No|
|Blogs||No, publications subject to frequent update (online databases, blogs) are not eligible for ISBNs.|
|Broadsides/broadsheets||Broadsides are eligible for ISBNs if the content is not serial in nature. A broadside, also called a broadsheet, is a large sheet of paper, newspaper-size, which is printed, almost poster-like, on one side.|
|Brochures and pamphlets||Yes|
|Calendars||No, unless required by the retailer|
|Cell phone novels||Yes, the content of such a publication could be identified by ISBN in this format.|
|Compact discs (CDs)||CDs are only eligible for ISBNs if they are spoken word or instructional. Music or performance CDs are never assigned ISBNs. Meditation CDs that combine music and spoken word are not eligible for ISBNs. If the CD is eligible for an ISBN, the ISBN is placed near the copyright line on the packaging. The UPC (now called the GS1) bar code is the appropriate product identification standard for a music CD.|
|Chapters, paragraphs, charts, etc.||Chapters, paragraphs, charts and other sections of published text are eligible for their own ISBNs if a publisher is selling them separately.|
|Coffee mugs and other utensils||No|
|Comic books||Comic books, since they are serials, do not get ISBNs. However, graphic novels are eligible for ISBNs.|
|Digital customised publications||No, unless a publisher's internal assignment is necessary for back office systems, such as finance or inventory control.|
|DVDs||DVDs may not get an ISBN if they are entertainment or performance videos. If the DVD is instructional or educational, then the DVD is eligible for an ISBN. However, retailers vary in their requirements regarding the type of product identification. Publishers should check with their retailers for requirements. If the DVD is eligible for an ISBN, the ISBN is placed near the copyright line on the packaging.|
|Electronic advertising / promotional materials||No|
|Electronic newsletters / e-zines||No (see Serials)|
|Electronic schedulers||No, electronic devices are not assigned ISBNs, but a program on the device could be assigned an ISBN, if it were instructional or educational in nature.|
|Flash cards||Only if instructional in nature. Playing cards and tarot cards are not eligible for ISBNs.|
|Food and medicine||No|
|Graphic novels||Yes (see Comic books)|
|Greeting cards||Greeting cards are not assigned ISBNs unless required by the retailer. If assigned, they are assigned by price point rather than design. For example, if several different designs are all sold for the same price, only one ISBN is used.|
|Historical documents||Yes. Historical documents archived in a library or museum is part of the bibliographic record of interest to researchers. They meet the criteria for discoverability and reporting that is part of the ISBN system.|
|Journals and diaries||Journals and diaries can be assigned ISBNs when required by retailers.|
|Loose-leaf volumes||Yes, such reference works are routinely tracked by revenue strands (individual vs. library subscription reporting) by publishers.|
|Magazines||No (see Serials)|
|Music/performance CDs||No (see Compact discs)|
|Online databases||No, publications subject to frequent update (online databases, blogs, etc.) are not eligible for ISBNs.|
|Pamphlets and brochures||Yes|
|Periodicals||No (see Serials)|
|Personal documents, if digitised||No|
|Pictures and photographs||No. ISBNs are never assigned to images; they are used for text.|
|Playing cards and tarot cards||No|
|Podiobooks||Yes, this format of audio book could be assigned an ISBN.|
|Posters and art prints||No. ISBNs are never assigned to images; they are used for text.|
|Puzzle books||Yes, puzzle books are eligible for ISBNs, including but not limited to crossword puzzles and Sudoku books.|
|Serials (magazines, periodicals, etc.)||Magazines, periodicals and serials of any type do not get ISBNs. They are assigned ISSNs, available from the Library of Congress, or BIPAD numbers, available at bipad.com. However, if a single issue of a periodical is being sold as a book, then that issue alone may be assigned an ISBN.|
|Sheet music||No, sheet music does not get ISBNs. The ISMN is the appropriate standard for sheet music, which doesn't have any binding. ISBNs are assigned to books of printed music.|
|Shirts and other apparel||No|
|Software||Only if it is educational or instructional|
|Toys, including stuffed animals||No|
|USB drives/sticks||Devices themselves are not assigned ISBNs, but the text content sold in this particular format may be identified by an ISBN.|
|Web-based books||Websites are not assigned ISBNs. However, if the publisher needs to identify tracking, trading and discovery between two product types, one of which is an accessible web-based product, then the ISBN can be assigned to the product in its web-based version.|
|Web-based games||No. Electronic games, whether web-based or otherwise, are not eligible for ISBNs.|