An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is assigned to each edition and variation, excluding re-printings, of books. ISBNs are calculated using a specific mathematical formula and are comprised of five different elements. Through this number, access can be gained to important information particular titles, editions, and formats of the book.

Do you need an ISBN converter when selling a book on a marketplace such as Amazon? In short, no. For Amazon, the ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) is the same as the ISBN. An ISBN converter is helpful when considering listing a book internationally. For example, an ISBN in the United States for Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, may differ from that of the same book in the U.K. Algopix has a helpful converter tool for ISBN, EAN, ASIN, UPC and more to help sellers obtain product identifiers within seconds.

The prefix of an ISBN, as of now, is three digits and can only either be 978 or 979. The following numbers are typically between one to five digits in length and are known as the registration group element, and these numbers signify a specific geographic region or a particular country. The following numbers may be up to 7 digits in length and are known as the registrant signifier, and are used to identify a specific publishing house, publisher, or imprint. Next is the publication number, which specifies the book’s edition. Last but not least is a singular number, known as the check digit, at the end which is used to validate the rest of the ISBN mathematically.

If assigned on or after January 2007, the ISBN will consist of 13 digits. If Assigned before 2007,  the ISBN is ten digits long. ISBN product numbers are crucial for sellers, publishers, libraries, sales records and more. Any book published will have an ISBN, though it’s important to note that ISBNs are specific to monographic publications and do not apply to newspapers, journals, magazines and other periodicals.

Related Terms