What and Why ISBN

Cassandra V. Fulwood


ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, meaning it’s an internationally recognized identification number. It is a number assigned to a book that identifies and registers it worldwide. It links essential information about the book, such as title, edition, publisher, etc. It is a number in the barcode (how the actual number is translated and readable by a scanner) on the back cover of every book.


An ISBN enables more efficient marketing and distribution of a book. An ISBN ensures the 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 how libraries, bookstores, and distributors identify, keep track of, and properly catalog important information about a book.


No matter the format you choose, print or digital publishing, having a unique ISBN for each format is important.


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