ISBN or International Standard Book Number is an unique identifier number. It is displayed in barcode format on publications ex. books on their back jacket (lower right). An ISBN is a product that is used by publishers, booksellers and libraries for ordering, listing and stock control purposes. It enables them to identify a particular publisher and allows the publisher to identify a specific edition of a specific title in a specific format within their output.
ISBN is in the form of 13 digits, consisting of 5 elements separated by spaces and hyphens ex. ISBN No. 978-81-8038-835-4 indicates following information:
- Ist element- Denotes a specified prefix element (978).
- IInd element- Identifies the particular country or geographical area (81).
- IIIrd element- Identifies the particular publisher (8038).
- IVth element- Identifies the particular edition, format of a specific title (835).
- Vth element- Check digit (4).
What ISBN does not indicate
- It does not give any legal protection.
- No copyright protection.
- No statement on content form and documentation and distribution of the book.
What ISBN indicates
- It is a product number required to assist in internal processing and ordering while book selling.
- It provides access to bibliographic data bases used by the book industry and libraries to provide information.
- ISBN can be applied by publisher of the book, author of the book if he decides to publish the book himself.
Benefits of ISBN
- Unique international identifier for monographic publications.
- Assigning ISBN replaces handling of long bibliographic descriptive records-saving time, reducing staff costs & coping errors.
- Correct use different product forms to be clearly differentiated, enabling comparisons between different subject areas, publishing houses.
- Facilitates compilation and updating of book trade directories and bibliographic databases.
- Fast and efficient method of ordering and distribution of books, managing sale system in shops, supply chain systems, managing sales data, stock control.
- Ensures that the book is widely known.
Scope and Assignment of ISBN
ISBNs are assigned to Publishers in the country where the Publisher's main office is based /publishing activity takes place. This is irrespective of the language of the publication or the intended market for the book. Any Publisher who is publishing a qualifying product for general sale or distribution to the market, any author whose name is indicated on the cover page of book along with title, Institutions against the Seminars and Conferences on a specified title.
ISBN is allotted by International ISBN Agency based in UK. In India, ISBN is allotted through the National ISBN Agency. Raja Ram Mohan Roy National Agency for ISBN is responsible for ISBN registration in the country and is affiliated to UK based International Agency. It is under the Ministry of Education, Deptt. of Higher Education, Book Promotion and Copyright Division.
ISBN is assigned for the following products:
- Monographic works (books) that are textual and/or have an instructional content
- Publications not intended by the publisher to be updated regularly
- Individual articles
- Educational instructions, films, videos including audio books not purely for entertainment
- Electronic publications, Mixed media text based publications
- Print on demand publications
- Set of volumes or packs of books
Products which do not qualify for ISBN
- Serials/periodicals/journals (these are suitable for ISSN)
- Journals, record books
- Videos, DVDs or other media for entertainment
- Documentaries on video/CD-ROM, DVD or other media
- Computer games
- Computer application packages
- Music scores
- Items available to a restricted group, e.g. a course book only available to students on the course
- Non text-based publications
ISBNs are available in blocks for publishers and the smallest block is of 10 numbers. For an author, a single ISBN number is allotted against a single title. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. Applicant(author) can apply for more than one variation in the same application. The ISBN no to be allotted is the prerogative of the Raja Rammohun National Agency, which takes in account the publishing activity already done and proposed to be done in the future by the applicant.
Process for registration and allotment of ISBN
The authors, publishers and educational institutions are to send filled in relevant forms with the required documents and the ISBN numbers are allotted free of cost. Over a period of time with the growth of the publishing industry and awareness about ISBN, the request for ISBN has increased exponentially. Efforts have been made from time to time to streamline the operations of the agency which caters to the requirement of the applicants of the entire country. The online ISBN portal has hence been designed to further streamline the process. All the offline ISBN Application received beyond 30th April 2016 will not be processed.
From 09.07.2020 onwards, the registration for seeking ISBN is being done through a new portal only. Accordingly, the applicants of the old portal have to switch over to the new version of the ISBN portal after utilizing all their previously allotted ISBNs on the old version of the portal. So, the registrants would not be able to do any activity on their previous ISBN account apart from adding metadata for the remaining ISBNs and to view their ISBN allotment history after 31.07.2020.
The standard service time to get a ISBN is at least a month.
Salient features of the ISBN online portal
- Complete automation of the process of seeking application, their application by RRRNA examination and allotment of ISBNs.
- The developed software has several modules – users registration, online application submission, examination, allotment of ISBN No. and ISBN generation which includes ISBN generation request from the National Agency to the International Agency at UK.
- The automation process also seeks to maintain inventory as well as process the data that will be provided by the users.
- There will be doing away with receipt of hard copy of any document unless considered appropriate for establishing the identity of the applicant.
- It would also be ensured that the ISBN has been genuinely used and assigned to the books applied for by the user, which will be ensured by seeking details of the previously assigned ISBNs against a title and through oath and affirmation and declaration on their part.
Benefits of ISBN Online portal
- Online portal will streamline registration process, make it fast, efficient and transparent.
- Streamline operation of data accumulation, ease in examination, followed by fast delivery of services.
- Quick and easy search of bibliographic data.
- The books published and allotted ISBN Numbers by RRRNA will get globally identified in worldwide catalog of published books.
- The initiative will place India on the global map with other countries providing digital services.
- Will ensures smooth processing in the publishing industry and help authors, editors, printers, booksellers and distributors etc.
- Ease of access of ISBN services across the country through digital approach.
Process for Online application for ISBN
- To apply for ISBN Numbers the Applicant has to first register on the ISBN portal
- After submission of the registration form, the system will send the mail on the registered mail ID containing the Password for online system and the User Name will be your Email ID
- Applicant can login with the login credentials received through mail.
- Apply for ISBN Numbers by clicking on APPLY FOR NEW APPLICATION. Note : In case you have earlier applied for ISBN Numbers through the online system then you can apply for fresh ISBN Numbers only after consumption of 90% of allotted ISBN Numbers.
- Fill in the form with all requisite details and upload required documents in specified format - JPEG /Pdf formats and maximum size allowed is 100 kb. Save and Submit the application.
- After issue of ISBN Numbers by the department the system will send an update on your registered email ID and the status of the Application will be changed accordingly. In case In case any clarification is required by the Agency, the system will indicate the same in the APPLICATION STATUS Column and the same can be viewed and answered by clicking on View Details Link .
- The application once approved and the ISBN series allotted will show an application status ALLOTTED (PLEASE FILL BOOK DETAIL).
- The book details can be either bulk uploaded or as single entry
- After registration they can further apply of ISBN Numbers as and when required.
For complete step by step process, click here
For any query, users may write to
For General Query
Tel: +91-11-2334 1739
(Monday to Friday-9:00 am to 5:30 pm)
For Technical Query
Tel: +91-79-2326 8229
Tel: +91-79-2326 8284
(Monday to Friday-9:30 am to 6:00 pm)
Source : ISBN portal