International Standard Book Number

Overview of ISBN
– An ISBN is given to each edition and variation of a book.
– The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned after January 1, 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007.
– An ISBN consists of 4 or 5 parts: GS1 prefix, group identifier code, publisher code, item number, and checksum character.
– The group identifier code (GIC) represents different language-speaking countries.
– The national ISBN agency assigns the publisher number, and the publisher selects the item number.

Parts of an ISBN
– GS1 prefix: 978 or 979 for a 13-digit ISBN.
– Group identifier code (GIC): Represents countries sharing a language.
– Publisher code: Assigned by the national ISBN agency.
– Item number: Selected by the publisher.
– Checksum: A character used for error detection.

Group Identifier Code (GIC)
– GIC number 0 or 1 for English-speaking countries.
– GIC number 2 for French-speaking countries.
– GIC number 3 for German-speaking countries.
– GIC number 4 for Japanese.
– GIC number 5 for Russian, etc.

Publisher Codes
– A book publisher is not required to assign an ISBN.
– Most bookstores only handle ISBN-bearing merchandise.
– The publisher number is assigned by the national ISBN agency.
– A listing of all assigned publisher codes can be ordered in book form.
– The web site of the international ISBN agency does not offer a free method of looking up publisher codes.

Other Websites
– ISO 2108:2005 at
– Brief Summary of ISBN at
– How to find a book from Wikibooks.
– ISBN to European Article Number EAS EBS CONELRAD transition at
– Description of the ISBN to EAN upgrade process at