How to Obtain an ISBN for your Book Published

Original Posted by Jason R. Rich from Self-Publishing For Dummies

The 5 parts of an ISBN-13 offer the following information:

The new prefix: This three-digit number (currently 978 or 979) identifies the book industry.
Group of country identifier: This section indicates the country where the book was published.
Publisher identifier: This part of the number is a unique code given to every individual publishing company.
Title identifier: This part of the ISBN is unique to every book and identifies the particular title or edition of that title.
Check digit: This single digit at the end of the ISBN validates the number. In some cases, this could be the capital letter ‘X’ (the Roman numeral for the number 10).

How to Obtain an ISBN for your Book Published

Publishers who want to find out more about implementing the new 13-digit ISBNs can check out the following two sources:

Download the free guide Guidelines for the Implementation of 13-Digit ISBNs. The guide is published by The International ISBN Agency.

Without a proper ISBN, most places that sell books won’t be able to order or sell yours.

How and when to register for an ISBN

Throughout the world, there are 160 ISBN agencies; each is responsible for assigning unique ISBNs to new books published within a specific region. The U.S. ISBN Agency handles the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

It’s important to understand that if you’re using a POD publisher or a publisher that offers a turnkey self-publishing solution to authors, that the publisher/printer typically obtains an ISBN on your behalf. You only need to acquire your own ISBN if you plan to self-publish your book entirely by yourself and establish your own publishing company to do this.

Even if you represent a small publishing company planning to publish only one or two book titles, you still need to acquire an ISBN publishing prefix, along with a block of at least 10 ISBNs. This process takes approximately 15 business days; however, for an additional fee a Priority Processing (two-day) or an Express (one-day) service is available.

To acquire an ISBN publisher prefix and purchase a block of ISBNs, you must first complete and submit the appropriate form — Application for An ISBN Publisher Prefix — to The U.S. ISBN Agency. This process can be done in a couple of different ways:

Online application: Fill out your forms online and submit immediately. Online applications are free of charge.
Printed forms: Download the printable forms. After you’ve filled out the forms, send them via
• Mail: R.R. Bowker, 630 Central Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974

• Fax: (908) 219-0188

• E-mail:

Original Article via  Obtaining an ISBN for Your Self-Published Book

Original Image via

Self Publishing Books and Authors is a resource for book publishing tips, articles, or reviews and other stuff about authors and books. We also publish news about independent or self publishers. Feel free to send me the link or the content if you wish to contribute to the blog. Want to publish your book? Send us your queries to

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3 comments on “How to Obtain an ISBN for your Book Published
  1. It’s great to see resources that we can actually use to help share our work with the world. I have been working on a book and when I began the project I was overwhelmed with the amount of steps necessary to produce it. Reading articles like this will help simplify the process. Hudsonink

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this web site needs much more attention.
    I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!

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