ISBNs help books get discovered!

An ISBN ensures your book's information will be stored in the Books in Print database which is consulted by publishers, retailers and libraries around the world.

The ISBN is a unique identifier for a book or other book-like product (such as an audiobook) that specifies its format, edition, and publisher.

Why should I buy an ISBN?

There are many reasons to purchase an ISBN for your title, including:

  • An ISBN improves the likelihood your book will be found and purchased
  • An ISBN links to essential information about your book
  • An ISBN enables more efficient marketing and distribution of your title
  • Most retailers require ISBNs
  • Correct use of the ISBN allows different product forms and editions of a book, printed or digital, to be differentiated clearly, ensuring that customers receive the version they require
  • An ISBN helps you collect and analyze book sales data
  • An ISBN ensures your book’s information will be stored in the Books In Print database
  • Books In Print is consulted by publishers, retailers and libraries around world when searching for title information
  • The ISBN conveys no legal or copyright protection, however, the use of ISBNs for publications is prescribed by law in some countries
  • In some countries a book will be charged higher tax if it does not have an ISBN
  • ISBNs are the global standard for book identification

How many ISBNs do I need?

You will need one ISBN for each edition and format of your book. The ISBN identifies the publisher as well as the specific book title, edition and format (hardback, paperback, ePub, PDF, Mobi, Audio…). Any variation of a book would require the use of a unique ISBN to identify it properly. This allows retailers to help the customer understand exactly which version of a title they are purchasing. So, you should consider:

  • How many book titles you are planning to publish
  • How many formats will each title be created in
  • Do you plan to publish future revised editions of these titles

And remember:

  • You can purchase ISBNs in advance and register your titles any time after they are obtained.
  • ISBNs never expire.

Why should I buy my ISBNs from Bowker?

Bowker is the official ISBN Agency for publishers physically located in the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, as well as military bases and embassies. If an ISBN is obtained from a source other than the official ISBN Agency, it might not identify the publisher of the title accurately. This can have implications for doing business in the publishing industry supply chain.

Once you set up your account with us, your ISBNs will be added to your account immediately at purchase (Title Assignment Instructions). You will be recognized as the publisher of all book titles associated with those ISBNs. For more information about the ISBN standard, or if you are looking for the official ISBN Agency in your jurisdiction, visit the International ISBN Agency.

Buy ISBNs with Barcodes

10 ISBNs
5 Barcodes
1 QRPlus Code

  • Save when purchasing multiple ISBNs and barcodes
  • Have enough ISBNs and barcodes for multiple book formats
  • Make your printed book interactive with a QRPlus code

10 ISBNs
1 Barcode

  • Get savings on multiple ISBNs
  • Have enough ISBNs for multiple books or formats
  • A barcode makes your printed book easier to sell

1 Barcode

  • The ISBN is the global standard for identifying titles
  • Having a barcode on your book will facilitate automated sales and inventory tracking

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