ISBN English



?What is an ISBN
ISBN - the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a worldwide system for identifying books internationally.

 The ISBN is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published


The purpose of ISBN
The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities and distributors


The format of the ISBN
Every ISBN consists of ten digits and whenever it is printed it is preceded by the letters ISBN. The ten-digit number is divided into four parts of variable length, each part separated by a hyphen. Example: ISBN 965-229-206-0


:The four parts of the ISBN are as follows
 (Group or country identifier which identifies a national or geographic grouping of publishers (Israel = 965 
Publisher identifier which identifies a particular publisher within a group 
Title identifier which identifies a particular title or edition of a title 
Check digit is the single digit at the end of the ISBN which is determined arithmetically and validates the ISBN


Who is eligible for an ISBN
The ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs at the direct request of publishers, e-book publishers, audio cassette and video producers, software producers and museums and associations with publishing programs.


How long does it take to get an ISBN
Allow 5 business days for regular processing from the time an ISBN application and payment are received at the agency (not from the date sent by the publisher.). Express processing is 24 business hours
(demands additional fee).


Printing of ISBN
An ISBN should be assigned to each title or product, including any backlist or forthcoming titles.
Each format or binding must have a separate ISBN (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, VHS video, laserdisc, e-book format, etc).
A new ISBN is required for a revised edition. Once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused.
An ISBN is printed on the lower portion of the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page. When the number is either written or printed, it must be preceded by the letters "ISBN" and each part must be separated by a hyphen.
Note: Hypenation varies with size of prefix


Can a publisher have both an ISBN & and ISSN
Both numbering systems are used for books in a series and with annuals or biennials. The ISBN identifies the individual book in a series or a specific year for an annual or biennial. The ISSN identifies the ongoing series, or the ongoing annual or biennial serial. If a publication has both, each should be printed on the copyright page.


How are ISBNs used in a Bar Code
The ISBN can be translated into a worldwide compatible bar code format. The Bar code given with the ISBN is issued by the International Article Numbering Association and is approved by The Ministry of Industry. Printing bar codes in books and other products enables the efficient use of optical scanning and identification systems.


Only the ISBN meets all needs and demands of the local Israeli market and the international publishing world. There is no need to assign any other number beside ISBN. Moreover, only the bar code accompanying the ISBN is recognized by the International Article Numbering Association .Use of the ISBN and the bar code preclude the use of any additional numbers or bar codes.

Major Issues in the Implementation of the ISBN

PRINTING OF THE ISBN IN PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS: The complete "10 digit" ISBN should appear in the book and all catalogs and promotional materials. An ISBN is only valid and can only be validated when all "10 digits" are displayed.

ISBN CAN NEVER BE REUSED: Once an ISBN is assigned to a title, it CANNOT BE REASSIGNED even if the title goes out of print. In addition to being an order fulfillment tool, the ISBN is a bibliographic element in cataloging. It is printed on catalog cards, in catalogs and entered in national and international databases.

EDITIONS/BINDINGS/FORMATS: A separate ISBN must be assigned to the different formats in which a particular title is published, i.e. paper, microfilm, braille, multimedia sets, microcomputer software programs on various disk size, tape, cassette, etc. ALL have a separate ISBN. REVISED editions require a new ISBN.

MULTI-VOLUME WORKS: If a multi-volume work is sold only as a set, one ISBN must be assigned to the whole set of volumes. If individual volumes of the set are also being sold separately, each volume must be assigned an individual ISBN. The ISBN for the individual volume and the ISBN for the set should be printed in each volume.

CO-PUBLICATIONS: A publication issued as a co-edition or joint imprint with another publisher can be assigned an ISBN by each publisher. However, if only one publisher is the distributor, only that publisher should assign an ISBN.

DISTRIBUTORS: A distributor, even an exclusive distributor, must use the ISBN of the PUBLISHER in all promotional materials. If a Publisher does not have an ISBN Publisher Prefix, have the publisher contact us.

PRINTING FOR CLIENT: Publishers acting only as a PRINTER and returning all stock to the client, MUST USE THE ISBN OF THE PUBLISHER (client) ON THE COPYRIGHT PAGE AND BACK COVER. If the publisher does not have an ISBN Publisher Prefix, have them contact the ISBN Agency.

It is important to implement the ISBN system and observe its standards exactly. Any deviation, i.e., not using all ten digits or assigning a new ISBN due to a price change, would complicate communication in the future.


To Order ISBN Please Contact

Haviva Shmueli
(Tel. 03-6180151 (ext. 115
Fax. 03-5798048


ISBN Application Form



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