ISBN: What It Is and Why a Book Needs One

Kristen Twardowski

Book publishing isn’t just about finding great pieces of writing and bringing them out into the world. Sometimes it is about the nitty-gritty. This means that at some point, an author or publisher has to think about ISBNs.

Implemented in 1970, ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a unique number assigned to each format of a book and allows books to be tracked and sold. These numbers are also transformed into a barcode that is readable by various types of scanners. Though books published before 2007 have a 10 digit long ISBN, more recent publications have a 13 digit one. I believe this is simply because people started publishing too many books to keep up. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) oversees and maintains the ISBN system. (As you might guess from the name, the group is filled with very detail oriented folks.)

ISBN Explanation.PNG

Though ISBN numbers are…

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