How To Get An ISBN Number For A Book?

If you’re an avid reader, you must have come across an ISBN book number at the back of your favorite book. Consequently, evoking your curiosity regarding what it is and why every book has one?

While we all know that an ISBN is pretty crucial, especially for a self-publishing author, publishing without an ISBN is nearly impossible.

So, if you are a professional book writer or book publisher, we’re here to guide you with the most asked questions regarding an ISBN and how you can get an ISBN number for your book.

What Is An ISBN Number?

An International Standard Book Number is abbreviated as ISBN. An ISBN is a ten or 13-digit number that is unique to your book and no other. The ISBN number identifies your book; it tells retailers, libraries, and book distributors what your book is and who published it.

This code helps identify the origin of a book, the publisher, the title, the format, the edition, and the volume number.

An ISBN number is a book number typically assigned prior to publication. The ISBN number system worldwide located in London is responsible for distributing ISBN numbers. But why should your book have one?

Why Does Your Book Need An ISBN Book Number?

An ISBN number for a book is necessary because an ISBN on a book makes your book stand out. It helps in identifying the book, edition, and publisher. The book barcode will help you identify books by sellers, wholesalers, distributors, and libraries.

How Long Is An ISBN Book Number?

An ISBN Number for a book used to be 10-digit long prior to 2007. However, due to a large number of books being published annually, on the 1st of January 2007, the ISBN book number digits were increased to 13-digits.

So, if you look at an older book, you may notice that a book’s ISBN number is 10-digit long. However, you can convert the ISBN to a 13-digit one using an online conversion tool.

Where Is The ISBN Number On Books?

The ISBN for a book is generally placed on the back cover of your book, just below the barcode. It is printed on the copyright page with other publication information like the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) and Bookland EAN number.

Benefits Of Having An ISBN Number For A Book?

An ISBN is a unique identification number that is assigned to every book and e-book that hits the shelves. It helps in the identification, cataloging, and inventory of a book. Every edition and variation of a book has a different ISBN number for books.

If you're authoring a book with two different editions (for example, hardcover and paperback), both will have their ISBN book numbers. An ISBN book number makes sure that your readers can find your books easily without any confusion.

It also allows you to order your books from anywhere in the world with just a few clicks. Besides this, there are many benefits of having an ISBN number for your book, which are as follows:

  • An ISBN gives your book a professional look and feel.
  • It aids in the marketing and promotion of your book.
  • An ISBN makes your book more discoverable by libraries, retailers, and online stores.
  • It allows you to track the sales of your book and understand your audience better.
  • It builds credibility and professionalism.
  • Gives you control over the metadata associated with your work.

You’re probably curious to get an ISBN number for your book now, but how can you get one?

Where To Buy A Book ISBN Number?

You can get an ISBN number for your book from a variety of places. You can purchase an ISBN book number from online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Additionally, you may also get in touch with a local bookstore to see if they offer ISBN numbers for your book for sale.

The process of getting an ISBN book number is not as complicated as it may sound. Trust us; it’s simpler than you think. If you are looking to get an ISBN number for your book, all you need to do is follow these steps:

First, you will need to go to the website of your country’s ISBN agency. There is a list of all the countries with their relevant agencies on the official International ISBN Agency site.

Once you have located your country’s agency, go to their website and look for the ‘Apply for an ISBN’ page. On that page, the form may ask you to fill in your personal details, including your name, contact information, and the title of your book, and click the ‘Submit’ button.

Followed by making the payment of your ISBN fee. The cost of an ISBN number for a book varies by country, so check the website of your country’s ISBN agency.

Once you have paid for the ISBN book number, you will receive a confirmation email with your ISBN book number. Congratulations! You have now obtained an ISBN number for your book.

How To Purchase ISBN Book Numbers In The USA?

You can purchase ISBN numbers from the US ISBN Agency. The agency is a part of the International ISBN Agency, and it’s responsible for assigning ISBN numbers for books published in the United States.

The process of purchasing an ISBN number is pretty simple. Start with completing the form online and processing the payment. Once you have your ISBN book number, you can start using it on your book!

How To Verify An ISBN Book Number?

If you want to verify an ISBN yourself, there are a few things you need to know. First, all ISBNs are ten or thirteen digits long. The first nine digits of the number are called the ‘group,’ and the last digit is called the ‘check digit.’ It is used to verify the other nine digits in the number.

There are a few ways to verify your book’s ISBN number. One way is to check the number of digits in the book’s ISBN number.

The second way to verify an ISBN is to use an online tool like the one offered by Bowker. This service will tell you if the ISBN number for a book is valid, and if it is, it will provide you with information about the book.

If you have a physical copy of the book, you can also look up the ISBN on the back cover or on the copyright page. The publisher should list the ISBN there. If you can't find the ISBN anywhere in the book, it's likely that it's not a valid number.

The third and final way to verify an ISBN book number is by using the ISBN Lookup tool on the International Standard Book Number website. This will cross-check the number against a database of over 170 million ISBNs.

If the number exists, it will return data about your book, including the title, the author’s name, and the publisher. If you still can't find anything about the book, then it's likely that the ISBN is not valid.

With these methods, you can verify any ISBN number in no time!

How Much Does An ISBN Book Number Cost?

ISBNs are necessary for anyone who plans on selling their book commercially. So how much does an ISBN cost? The answer may surprise you - an ISBN book number can be free!

That's right; if you're planning on self-publishing your book, you can get an ISBN for free from many online retailers.

However, if you're looking to have your book published by a traditional publisher, they will likely charge you for the ISBN. Prices can range anywhere from $50 to $125 per ISBN book number.

While the cost of an ISBN may seem like a lot, it's important to remember that it's a lifetime investment. Once you have an ISBN, you can use it over and over again for future editions and printings of your book.

So if you're serious about publishing your book, don't let the cost of an ISBN book number deter you - it's worth the investment! This leads us to the next section; how long is the procedure to get one?

How Long Does It Take To Get An ISBN Book Number?

The process of getting an ISBN number for a book can vary depending on the country in which you are publishing your book. For example, in the United States, the ISBN Agency can take up to two weeks to assign an ISBN number to your book.

However, once you have been assigned an ISBN number for your book, it is yours for life and does not need to be renewed. If you opt for the self-publishing route for your book, you will need to get your own ISBN book number.

You can do this by contacting the ISBN Agency in your country or by using a self-publishing service that will provide you with an ISBN book number. Once you have obtained your ISBN number for your book, you will need to include it on all book copies.

In case you opt for the traditional route to publishing your book, the publication will obtain the ISBN number for your book. The publisher will include the ISBN number on all copies of your book.

Is An ISBN The Same As A Barcode?

People often confuse ISBNs for barcodes. While in reality, they’re not the same. We’ve summed up a few differences for you:

  1. A barcode is a machine-readable representation of data, while an ISBN is a unique identifier for books.
  2. Barcodes can be used to track inventory and prices; ISBNs are used to identify and catalog books. ISBNs are assigned to publications by publishers, and each book has a different ISBN.
  3. Barcodes are often printed on the back cover of books, while ISBNs are usually printed on the copyright page.

So, while both ISBNs and barcodes are for identification purposes, they definitely are not the same thing. If you're looking to identify and catalog books, you'll need to use an ISBN book number.

But if you're looking to track inventory or prices, a barcode will do the trick. We hope this has sorted the confusion between them both!

What If A Book Has No ISBN Book Number?

An ISBN is crucial to publishing a book. But what if your book doesn't have an ISBN book number?

There may be several reasons for a book not having an ISBN book number. One possibility is that it's an older book that was published before ISBN book numbers were introduced in 1970. Another possibility is that it's a self-published book that didn't go through a traditional publishing house.

You might have some difficulty if you're trying to sell a used book without an ISBN number. Many online marketplaces won't list books without ISBN numbers, so your best bet is to find a local used bookstore that will take it.

You can also check with online booksellers who specialize in older or self-published books. Have you ever come across a book without an ISBN number? Ever wondered why libraries don’t keep one? Read further to know.

Why Don't Libraries Keep Books Without an ISBN Book Number?

Every country has its own ISBN agency, which assigns ISBNs to books published in that country. In the United States, the ISBN agency is Bowker, while in Canada, it is the Canadian ISBN Agency.

So, what does this have to do with libraries not keeping books without an ISBN book number? There are a few answers to it:

  • Most libraries use an automated system for cataloging their books and other materials. And these systems generally require an ISBN for identification purposes. So without an ISBN, a book cannot be included in the library catalog.
  • ISBNs are used by libraries for ordering purposes. When a library orders a book from a publisher or vendor, they generally use the ISBN to identify the particular title they want. So without an ISBN, it would be challenging for a library to order a specific book.
  • Libraries also use ISBNs when creating bibliographic records for their holdings. These records are typically created using MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) format, the standard format for library catalogs. MARC records generally require an ISBN for identification purposes.

So, there are several reasons why libraries don’t keep books without an ISBN number. Without an ISBN, it would be tough for a library to catalog, order, or keep track of a particular book.

How To Get An ISBN Book Number For A Self-Published Book?

While self-publishing may be cheaper, it also requires more effort. One of the first things you need to do when self-publishing a book is to get an ISBN number for a book. It's necessary if you plan to submit your book to catalogs used by libraries and other institutions.

Obtaining an ISBN is vital to getting your self-published book to the readers. You can quickly get an ISBN number for your next or even first book using the steps as follows:

First, go to and click on the ‘Get an ISBN’ button. You'll be redirected to a page to buy or rent an ISBN. For self-publishing, it's recommended that you purchase your own ISBN book number so that you have complete control over your book's metadata.

After the account creation, you will have to fill out a form with your book's information and pay for your ISBN. After authorization, you will receive a confirmatory email.

The email will contain your ISBN book number as well. And that is how you can easily get an ISBN without involving a publisher.

How Do I Get An ISBN Book Number For Free?

To sell your book through a retailer, you will require an ISBN, but they can be expensive. However, you can get an ISBN for free by using

When you use, you will first have to create an account and then look for available ISBNs. You can also find other information about books, like the title, the author, and the publisher.

Once you find an ISBN number for your book that you would like to use, you can claim it and add it to your book's metadata.

Some free services include:

  • CreateSpace
  • Draft2Digital
  • IngramSpark

The services mentioned above can provide you with an ISBN for free. As always, ensure to go through all conditions before claiming any ISBNs, because some specific ISBNs may require you to pay a small amount.

Overall, though, this is a great way to get an ISBN number for books for free.

What does 978 Represent In An ISBN?

The ISBN-13 number 978 is the identifier for a book. A set of 13 digits make it up, the first nine identifying the country, the publisher, and the specific book title. The last four digits create a unique code that identifies a particular edition of a book.

You can refer to it as an EAN or European Article Number. EANs track products in stores and online. They're also for keeping track of books in libraries.

Every time a library loans out a book, they scan the EAN on the back cover. This helps to keep track of which books are checked out the most often so they can order more copies if necessary.


We sincerely wish that this guide helped you with everything that you must be aware of regarding an ISBN book number. And in case you’re looking to publish a book, we can help you with our Ghostwriting services and our content editing services for a professional book.