The International ISBN Agency

Easily recognisable as the identifier for all kinds of books, the International Standard Book Number is key to an efficient and effective book supply chain.

The International ISBN Agency is the registration authority for the Standard on a global basis. 

Focus on

  • An abstract image of books connected by a wire to South America on a globe

    ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is the key identifier for books in the supply chain; an ISBN uniquely identifies a specific book by a specific publisher in a specific format.

    The International ISBN Agency wishes to inform publishers, booksellers, libraries and other participants in the book supply chain in Brazil about forthcoming changes with regard to ISBN assignment. Starting 1 March 2020, the International ISBN Agency has appointed Câmara...

  • The Capital Building, Washington DC

    From early 2020 the United States ISBN Agency (operated by Bowker) will begin assigning ISBNs starting with the prefix element 979. (These assignments will be in addition to  ISBNs with prefix element 978 that the US currently assigns). The introduction of ISBNs from the 979 ranges is necessary to increase the available inventory of some ISBN block sizes.

    What does this mean for publishers, libraries and retailers?
    Prior to 2007, the ISBN was 10 digits in length. In January 2007, the 13-digit ISBN was launched to increase the capacity of the ISBN system.

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