ISBN Search – Book Price Comparison

What is an ISBN?

An ISBN, which stands for International Standard Book Number, is a unique numeric identifier used worldwide to identify books and related products. 

It serves as a universal method of cataloging and organising books, facilitating their distribution and sale. ISBNs are assigned to individual editions and variations of a book, such as hardcover, paperback, e-book, and different language editions.

The ISBN provides a standardised way for publishers, booksellers, libraries, and readers to identify and reference specific books. It helps ensure accurate inventory management, enables efficient book ordering and distribution, and aids in the discovery and acquisition of books by individuals and institutions.

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Where can an ISBN be found?

The ISBN is typically found on the back cover of a book, near the barcode, and consists of a 13-digit code (since 2007) or a 10-digit code (prior to 2007).

What's the difference between a 10 digit and 13 digit ISBN?

A 10-digit ISBN was the standard format used prior to 2007. It consists of four parts: a prefix element (either a single digit or a group identifier), a registration group element, a publisher element, and a check digit at the end. This format allowed for a maximum of 9,999,999 unique ISBNs.

On the other hand, a 13-digit ISBN became the standard format starting in 2007. It contains five parts: a prefix element (978 or 979), a group identifier element, a publisher element, an item number element, and a check digit at the end. The 13-digit format expanded the number of possible unique ISBNs to 999,999,999,999, allowing for a significantly larger quantity of books to be identified and tracked.

The transition from 10-digit to 13-digit ISBNs was primarily due to the increasing demand for unique identifiers as the publishing industry expanded and more books were being published. The longer 13-digit ISBN format also aligns with the EAN-13 barcode system used for scanning book barcodes in retail environments.

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