A Little Piece of ISBN History

The International Standard Book Number is one of the best-known identification systems in the world. There are 151 national or regional ISBN agencies and ISBN is used in over 200 territories across the world. The International ISBN Agency is privileged to hold the position of registration authority for an identifier that is ubiquitous and enduringly well-used.

It is also worth noting how longstanding the ISBN is as a part of the publishing landscape. Standard Book Numbering is well over 50 years old. Indeed, we documented the 50th anniversary of the advent of Standard Book Numbering in a news item we published at the time. Here, in the U.K. one of the buildings used prominently by W. H. Smith at the time of the creation of the standard has been in the news recently because it may soon be knocked down. The building is located in Swindon, Wiltshire and you can read more about the building and its role in the inception of ISBN on the website of the local newspaper, the Swindon Advertiser.