I’ve seen ISBN barcodes on book covers, but what do ISBN numbers mean? It may look like a random string of numbers, but each ISBN is assigned. It provides information about the books you read.
An International Standard Buy cheap ISBN (ISBN) is a unique 13-digit number assigned to each title, edition, and format of a book, e-book, audiobook, or similar product. ISBN numbers are used to identify specific book products in much the same way UPCs (Universal Product Codes) identify other products.
An ISBN number has five parts.
Group or country identifier
A prefix is a three-digit number that identifies a product type or industry. The book prefix is 978 or 979.
A group or country code indicates the country or language in which the book was published. 0 or 1 for English, 2 for French, 3 for German, 4 for Japan, 5 for Russian, 7 for China. Group or country ID can be up to 5 digits.
The publisher identifier identifies the publisher of the record with that title.
Publishers assign name tags to specific book titles, editions, and formats. For example, the first edition of a hardcover book will have an ISBN number. If a book is also published in paperback, audiobook, or ebook format, each format will have its own unique ISBN number. When the second edition is published, each second edition format will receive a unique ISBN number. If the book is simply reprinted, no new ISBN code is required.
The last digit of the ISBN number is the check number. The check number is a single digit between 0 and 10 (where X represents 10) calculated from the remaining 12 digits of the ISBN. The purpose of the check number is to detect ISBN number entry errors.
Let’s look at a real-life example of how this works. My book The Mystery Shopper’s Manual ISBN is 978-1-888983-30-2.
- 978 indicates that this number identifies the book.
- 1 indicates that the book was created in an English-speaking country, in this case the United States.
888983 is the code assigned to my publisher Special Interests Publishing.
30 is the title identifier assigned to this book by the publisher: The Mystery Shopper’s Manual 6th Edition.
2 is a check number calculated from other ISBN numbers according to a formula developed by the ISBN office.
The product ID is always 3 digits and the group ID and check number are always 1 digit buy Cheap ISBN. The publisher tag and title tag can have different lengths. Large issuers have shorter issuer IDs than small issuers, although they contain a total of eight numbers. This is because large publishers have many title identifiers in their ISBN blocks. Here’s how it works:
ISBN numbers are distributed to publishers in blocks of 10, 100, and 1000. The ISBNs of my books come from blocks of 100 numbers. This means that the Title ID will be assigned 2 numbers and the Publisher ID will be assigned 6 numbers. If the ISBN code block is 10 digits, the title is 1 digit and the publisher is 7 digits. If the block contains 1000 ISBNs, the Title ID will be 3 digits and the Publisher ID will be 5 digits.
It’s important to know that the ISBN tells the book industry who the publisher is. So I only get the ISBN from the official office and I don’t want to borrow or buy the ISBN from other publishers. Using their ISBN makes them appear to be the issuer, not you.
As confusing as it may seem, ISBNs help organize the distribution of books by giving each edition of each book a unique identifier.