ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. ISBN is a unique number that gets assigned to every book to identify it. ISBN is given to every edition of a book. Hence each revised edition will have a different International Standard Book Number. In addition to this each e-book, hardcover, and paperback of the book will also be allocated to a different ISBN. Here is everything that, you should know about ISBN:
When Was It Introduced?
ISBN recognition for the books was first started in 1967 by David Whitaker in the United Kingdom. Later on in 1968 United States also adopted this method of recognition and was brought there by Emery Koltay.
David Whitaker is known as the Father of ISBN. Before ISBN was introduced in the United Kingdom, the book publishers used SBN as the way to recognize their books. The SBN was a nine-digit Standard Book Number and was in use until 1974. However, International Organization for Standardization recognized the ten-digit ISBN as the standard method that would be used internationally. A method to prefix the nine-digit SBN number with a 0 to make it ten digits was devised to implement this law on all the books.
However, from 1st January 2007, the ten digits were changed, and the number now has 13 digits. A special mathematical formula is used in the calculation of the ISBN. Additionally, ISBN has also been the reason behind the development of the IBSN, i.e., the International Blog Serial number that identifies the uniqueness of the online blogs with a specific set of numbers.
How Does It Work?
The ISBN is a set of 5 elements that combine to make a 13 digit unique code. The five elements are:
The prefix is the first three digit of your ISBN that can either be 978 or 979.
The registrant is a set of numbers that identifies your location, country or the language. The set of numbers can have 1 to 5 digits.
The Publication Element
The publication element is what makes every edition of the same book unique. It can have 1 to 6 figures.
The Check Digit
The check digit is the last digit and is calculated using complicated mathematical formula.
ISBN can usually be found at the back of the book above the barcodes. Each country has its authorities for the International Standard Book Number, and each of them has their own rules. Any book publisher who is responsible for the production of the book can apply for the ISBN. The publisher can be a company or a group of people or even the author of the book if he plans on publishing the book by himself.
Each of the different formats needs a different ISBN. Hence if the publisher has released an eBook version, a paperback version and a hardcover version of the book, they will have to apply for a different number each time. It is also important to note that the books that have been published before 1970 do not have an ISBN. Also, it is not mandatory to apply for an ISBN, but if you are selling your books to publishers and are planning on having the books in libraries, an ISBN is essential. Furthermore, you can apply for an ISBN even after the book has been published.
How Is It Important?
ISBN is useful for the publishers, booksellers, librarians and even the readers. The primary aim of an ISBN is to provide a unique identity to every edition of every book.
So basically if you are a student who is looking for a particular edition of a book, all you need is a 13 digit or a ten digit number, and you can quickly search for it in the database and have it without even knowing the other details of the books. It is especially useful in the case of books that have multiple editions.
ISBN is also used for the librarians to keep a stack of the book, for the publishers to put it in the catalogs, for the booksellers in ordering the books and much more. Having an ISBN has become a necessity and has made the lives of a lot of people much more manageable.