Get Your ISBN


The ISBN is the standard identifier for the book industry – all over the world. It has been for almost 40 years. It’s what identifies, uniquely, your book as your book.

It’s also how people find your book – all the search engines key off it (Google, Yahoo, Bing); all of the bookstores organize their whole database listings off of it (Borders, B&N), and with the new web and social networking world (Amazon.com, Facebook, Visual Bookshelf) it is still vital to getting your book exposed, discovered, and sold.

  • Any publisher who wants to sell books or book-like products in retail stores, libraries, or with wholesalers, needs an ISBN.
  • Obtaining an ISBN is the first step to getting your title out in the market place.
  • Publishers will need the ISBN prior to printing the book. This will be sent to you shortly after payment.
  • Once your publication is ready for sale, you must submit your title’s information that you’ve assigned an ISBN to, so it becomes part of the bibliographic databases at Bowker®. Then it appears in Books In Print®, allowing for discoverability by bookstores and libraries who look for publications to purchase.
  • Once you know your book’s sale price, I will generate a scannable barcode for use on the book’s cover. If your price changes, it will be necessary to generate a new barcode.
  • I can help you obtain your ISBN and generate a Bar Code to use on your book cover. Of interested, simply add the service under Quote Request.
  • R.R. Bowker is the U.S. Agency of the International Standard Book Numbering Convention, as approved by the International Organization for Standardization. As such, it is the originator of ISBNs for U.S.-based publishers.

Why Do I Need A barcode?

While the assignment of unique ISBN numbers to each title is often a requirement for selling your titles through major retailers such as Barnes and Noble or Borders as well as other wholesales and distributors, these same booksellers prefer to use a machine readable or scannable version of that number in their systems and processing. The Bookland EAN symbol is the most widely used barcode format in the publishing industry as it encodes the ISBN number and can also include the price.

The largest book retailers, as well as many book wholesalers, require books to display the Bookland EAN barcode graphic symbol which carries the ISBN. For example, at the point of sale in a bookstore, the book and its ISBN are scanned and all related information about the title is accessed in their sales system — identifying the price correctly and subtracting a copy from their inventory etc. It’s an essential component of their handling of the book.

To find out more about ISBNs, click here: WHAT IS AN ISBN BARCODE?


Submitting to the Library of Congress

Libraries use the Library of Congress database, as well as other databases, to stay up-to-date on available titles. Applying for a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)–a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns and uses for cataloging and other book-processing activities-does not guarantee that your book will be accepted, only that you will be considered.

If approved, your book will be searchable at the Library of Congress Online Catalog


ISBN Terms and Conditions

R.R. Bowker LLC (“Bowker”), a Delaware limited liability company, is the exclusive ISBN Registration Agency for the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico. Operating under a grant from the International ISBN Agency, Bowker has the exclusive right to assign ISBN prefixes and ISBNs to publishers located in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.

By registering with Bowker and completing an ISBN Application, Registrant agrees as follows:

1. Registrant hereby certifies that it is a publisher. A publisher is a person or firm whose business is the publishing of books or other publications to which an ISBN can be assigned, and includes e-book publishers, audio cassette and video producers, software producers and museums and associations with publishing programs.

2. Registrant will only assign ISBNs to publications to which it holds publishing rights.

3. Registrant will not sell, license, distribute, disseminate, assign or otherwise make its assigned ISBN prefix and ISBNs available to other publishers or to any third parties.

4. Registrant agrees to follow the International ISBN Standards for use of ISBNs. The International ISBN Standards are available at the US ISBN Agency website located at http://www.isbn.org and at the International ISBN website located at http://www.isbn international.org.

By issuing ISBN prefixes and ISBNs to Registrant, Bowker agrees as follows:

5. Bowker hereby warrants that it has the full right, power and authority to assign ISBN prefixes and ISBNs to publishers located in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico

6. Bowker hereby warrants that the ISBNs it assigns to Registrant will conform to current International ISBN Agency and International Standards Organization (“ISO”) specifications and are fit for the particular purpose of identifying publications pursuant to the recognized ISO standard.

7. EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY PROVIDED HEREIN, BOWKER MAKES NO OTHER
WARRANTY, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.

8. BOWKER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE TO REGISTRANT FOR ANY LOSS OR INJURY RESULTING FROM ANY USE OF ISBN PREFIXES OR ISBNS BY REGISTRANT OR OTHER PARTIES. BOWKER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE TO REGISTRANT FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH DAMAGES ARE FORESEEABLE, WHETHER SUCH DAMAGES ARE DEEMED TO RESULT FROM THE FAILURE OR INADEQUACY OF ANY EXCLUSIVE OR OTHER REMEDY OR WHETHER BOWKER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF SUCH DAMAGES.

Please contact the US ISBN Agency at isbn-san@bowker.com if you have questions about
these terms and conditions or the ISBN standards.

These terms and conditions are governed by the laws of the State of New Jersey excluding its conflicts of laws principles. The venue for any litigation arising out of these terms and conditions shall be the state or federal courts located within the State of New Jersey, U.S.A.