What is an ISBN ?

ISBNInternational Standard Book Number
is a worldwide system for identifying books internationally.

Since 2007 The ISBN is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published, Before 2007 ISBN was a 10-digit number.

The purpose of ISBN

The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities and distributors

The format of the ISBN

Every ISBN consists of 13 digits and whenever it is printed it is preceded by the letters ISBN. The 13-digit number is divided into five parts of variable length, each part separated by a hyphen. Example: ISBN 978-965-231-157-3

Who is eligible for an ISBN 

The ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs at the direct request of publishers, e-book publishers, audio cassette and video producers, software producers and museums and associations with publishing programs.

How long does it take to get an ISBN

Allow 5 business days for regular processing from the time an ISBN application and payment are received at the agency. Express processing with extra 50 NIS, ISBN will be assigned in 2 business days.

Printing of ISBN

ISBN should be assigned to each title or product, including any backlist or forthcoming titles.
Each format or binding must have a separate ISBN (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, VHS video, laserdisc, e-book format, etc).
New ISBN is required for a revised edition. Once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused.
ISBN is printed on the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page. When the number is either written or printed, it must be preceded by the letters "ISBN" and each part must be separated by a hyphen.
Note: Hyphenation varies with size of prefix

How are ISBNs used in a Barcode

The ISBN can be translated into a worldwide compatible barcode format. The Barcode given with the ISBN is issued by the International Article Numbering Association and is approved by The Ministry of Industry. Printing barcodes in books and other products enables the efficient use of optical scanning and identification systems.

Major Issues in the Implementation of the ISBN

  • ISBN CAN NEVER BE REUSED: Once an ISBN is assigned to a title, it CANNOT BE REASSIGNED even if the title goes out of print. In addition to being an order fulfillment tool, the ISBN is a bibliographic element in cataloging. It is printed on catalog cards, in catalogs and entered in national and international databases.
    When A title is reprintred, regardless of price change' the original ISBN must be maintained.
  • EDITIONS/BINDINGS/FORMATS: A separate ISBN must be assigned to the different formats in which a particular title is published, i.e. paper, microfilm, braille, multimedia sets, microcomputer software programs on various disk size, tape, cassette, etc. ALL have a separate ISBN. REVISED editions require a new ISBN.
  • MULTI-VOLUME WORKS: If a multi-volume work is sold only as a set, one ISBN must be assigned to the whole set of volumes. If individual volumes of the set are also being sold separately, each volume must be assigned an individual ISBN. The ISBN for the individual volume and the ISBN for the set should be printed in each volume.
  • CO-PUBLICATIONS: A publication issued as a co-edition or joint imprint with another publisher can be assigned an ISBN by each publisher. However, if only one publisher is the distributor, only that publisher should assign an ISBN.
  • DISTRIBUTORS: A distributor, even an exclusive distributor, must use the ISBN of the PUBLISHER in all promotional materials.

It is important to implement the ISBN system and observe its standards exactly. Any deviation, i.e., not using all 13 digits or assigning a new ISBN due to a price change, would complicate communication in the future.

To Order ISBN Please Contact

Galina Yegorov
Tel.  03-6180151  ext. 106
Fax    03-5798048
isbn@icl.org.il

Order Forms:

‏‏ISBN First Time Order Application Form ISBN Re-Order Application Form