ISBN Barcode (International Standard Book Numbering Barcode)

ISBN (International Standard Book Numbering) barcode or the "Bookland" barcode is really an EAN-13 barcode that follows a specific format (prefix with a number system of 978) and is used exclusively with books.

The ISBN is a unique machine-readable identification number, which marks any book unmistakably. Recognised in more than 160 countries throughout the world, it is a short and clear identifier that is an essential instrument in production, distribution, sales analysis, and bibliographic data storage systems in the book trade and library information management.

The Transitioning Phase

The ISBN was originally developed as a 10-digit number(see the numbers above the barcode), which for more than three decades has performed extremely well as a catalog number for books. However, the International ISBN Agency has determined that sometime in the not-too-distant future they will begin to run out of 10-digit numbers for publishers. Accordingly, in January 2007, the ISBN will be redefined from a 10-digit to a 13-digit number.

All currently assigned ISBN to book products begin with 978. However the supply of ISBN beginning with 978 will soon be exhausted. Once that happens, the 979 prefix will be issued to the new ISBNs.


The new ISBN-13 is quite similar to ISBN-10. However it is important to note that the formulas for calculating the check digit for an ISBN-10 and an ISBN-13 are different.

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