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How to Get an ISBN

The ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is a unique identifier to published books. Here's how you can obtain one.


  • Step 1: Identify the publisher Determine who will publish your book. The publisher must initiate the request for an ISBN.
  • TIP: The publisher is the group, organization, company, or individual responsible for initiating the production of a publication.
  • Step 2: Contact your ISBN Agency Contact the ISBN Agency for your company or organization's country. International contact information is available at If there is no ISBN Agency in your country, contact the International ISBN Agency in Berlin.
  • Step 3: Check about quantity Check with your ISBN agency about the minimum number of ISBNs you can order. In some countries, ISBNs are sold as blocks. In others, they are available as single numbers for author publishers.
  • TIP: In the U.S., you can buy as few as 1 ISBN, but they're sold in larger blocks as well.
  • Step 4: Submit an application and payment Submit an application for your ISBN along with payment to your ISBN agency. In no time at all, you'll be counting your royalties.
  • FACT: The International Standard Book Number was approved as an International Organization for Standardization standard in 1970.

You Will Need

  • Publisher
  • Internet access
  • ISBN Agency
  • Application
  • Payment

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