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Page history last edited by M. Muthukrishnan 7 years, 4 months ago



How to get ISBN in India ?

     Any eligible applicant can obtain a set of ISBN Numbers at zero cost. The process is very simple.

Who Can Apply?
     Any one publishing a book or other material eligible to get ISBN:

  • Publishers
  • Authors
  • Universities
  • Institutions
  • Government Departments



What type of material can have ISBN?

  1. Printed books and pamphlets
  2. Braille publications
  3. Publications that are not intended by the publisher to be updated
  4. regularly or continued indefinitely
  5. Individual articles or issues of a particular continuing resource (but not the continuing resource in its entirely)
  6. Maps
  7. Educational/instructional films, videos and transparencies
  8. Audio books on cassette, or CD, or DVD (talking books)
  9. Eectronic publications either on physical carriers (such as machine-readable tapes, diskettes, or CD-ROMs) or on the Internet Digitised copies of print monographic publications,
  10. Microform publication
  11. Educational or instructional software
  12. Mixed media publications (where the principal constituent is text-based)

Who issues ISBN in India?



Procedure for applying:

Read details : http://mhrd.gov.in/publisher_admin_english

Download the application form from:http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/isbnproforma-revised.pdf





Fill all the relevant columns in the form and sign it and affix seal, Send the signed hard copy to :

Ministry of Human Resource Development
West Block -1, Wing-6, 2nd Floor,
Sector-1, RK Puram, New Delhi-110001
Email: isbn@nic.in




ISBN defined

ISBN or sometimes pronounced ‘ Is-ben’ is an acronym for International Standard Book Number. It is given to every book or edition of a book before publication to identify the publisher, the edition and volume number.


What is an ISBN?

The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique machine-readable identification number, which marks any book unmistakably. This number is defined in ISO Standard 2108. The number has been in use now for 30 years and has revolutionized the international book-trade. 166 countries and territories are officially ISBN members. The ISBN accompanies a publication from its production onwards.

I S B N Background

The booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith developed the ISBN system in United Kingdom in 1966 and was originally called Standard Book Number or SB. International Organization recommended the system for international use for Standards (ISO) in October 1969. It was accepted by the delegates of the Plenary Session and circulated to all member bodies in 1970.



The purpose of the international standard is to coordinate and standardize the international use of ISBNs to uniquely identify one title or edition of a title, published by one specific publisher.


Administration of ISBN


The administration of the ISBN system is carried out on three levels:
International agency
Group agencies
Publisher level


International Administration

The international administration and co-ordination of the ISBN system is done through the International Standard Book Number Agency

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin,Preussischer Kulturbesitz D-10772 Berlin, GERMANY
Tel: (+49 30) 266 23 38
Fax: (+49 30) 266 28 14, 266 23 78
E=Mail: ISBN@SBB.SPK-Berlin.de
URL: http://www.isbn-international.org/

Main functions of the International ISBN Agency are:


vTo promote, coordinate and supervise the worldwide use of the ISBN system.

vTo approve the definition and structure of group agencies.

vTo allocate group identifiers to group agencies.

vTo advise on the establishment and functioning of group agencies.

vTo advise group agencies on the allocation of international publisher identifiers.

vTo publish the assigned group numbers and publishers' prefixes in up-to-date form.

Publishers wishing to have ISBNs assigned to them should contact their appropriate National Agency.



The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system was put into operation in January 1985 as Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency for ISBN, India, by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Secondary & Higher Education, New Delhi.


Contact Address

Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency for ISBN Government of India 
Ministry of Human Resource Development 
Department of Secondary & Higher Education 
A2/W 4, Curzon Road BarracksNew Delhi -110001 Tel. (+91 11) 2338 46 87

E-mail: isbn@nic.in


Structure of ISBN


The ISBN is divided into four parts of variable length, which must be separated clearly by hyphens or spaces:


ISBN 81-241-0614-2 or ISBN 81 241 0614 2

These parts are as follows:

  • Group identifier
  • Publisher identifier
  • Title identifier
  • Check digit

Group identifier number


First group of digits are group identifier and indicate a national, geographical, language or

Other convenient group. The group may be of single digit or multiple digits. The country field is 0 or 1 for English speaking countries, 2 for French speaking countries, and 3 for German speaking countries. The country field can be 5 digits long. For example 99936 are used for Bhutan. The country code for India is 81 and 93. The complete list of countries, which have been allotted group code, is available with the International Book Number Agency in Berlin, Germany.

Publisher Identifier Number
The publisher identifier number, which may also consist of multiple digits, is awarded by the national Standard Book Number Agency in each country. In India Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation established by the government of India has been entrusted with the job of assigning the publisher code and also the block code to the publishers according to their requirements.


Numbers for Individual Titles
The National Standard Book Number Agency gives the numbers in block of ten to hundred some times even more at a time according to the publishing program of a publisher. After the block of numbers received by the publisher is utilized the Agency is intimated and further block may be asked for. In this way a small publisher may receive an ISBN consisting if one digit for the language, seven digit s for the publisher and single digit for the individual item. Once that block is used up, the publisher can receive another block of numbers. As a consequence different publisher number may correspond to the same publisher. The individual item/title number follows the publisher code.
The Check Digit


The check digit is the last digit of an ISBN. It is calculated on a modulus 11 with weights 10-2, using X in lieu of 10 where ten would occur as a check digit. This means that each of the first nine digits of the ISBN – excluding the check digit itself – is multiplied by a number ranging from 10 to 2 and that the resulting sum of the products, plus the check digit, must be divisible by 11 without a remainder. . The last digit, which is multiplied by 1, is the check digit chosen to make the sum correct and divisible by 11. If the sum total of the first nine digits thus arrived is divisible by 11 then the check digit is expressed as 0.


Parts of the I S B N

ISBN consists of 10 digits (Arabic 0-9). These digits are formally broken into four parts and these parts appear on the book with the use of hyphen or space in between the parts.

For example:


81-241-0614-2 or 81 241 0614 2


1) Part one is group/ country/ language identifier 81 (INDIA)


2) Part two is publisher identifier 241 (PUBLISHER CODE)


3) Part three is the number assigned to each individual title 0614(ITEM/TITLE CODE)


4) Part four is the check number or checksum character (CHECK DIGIT)



The number of digits in the first three parts of the ISBN (group identifier, publisher prefix, title identifier) varies. The number of digits in the group number and in the publisher prefix is determined by the quantity of titles planned to be produced by the publisher or publisher group. Publishers or publisher groups with large title outputs are represented by fewer digits.


Check digit in 10 digit ISBN

Let us take the example of an ISBN 81-241-0614-2


8 x 10 = 80

1 x 9 = 9

2 x 8 = 16

4 x 7= 28

1 x 6 = 6

0 x 5 = 0

6 x 4 = 24

1 x 3 = 3

4 x 2= 8


Total 174



If we divide this figure with 11 the remainder will be 9. We need to add 2 to make it divisible by 11. If we add this number (2) to 174, it will make 176, which is equally divided by 11. Therefore, the check digit is 2, which is the last digit of the above ISBN. The number, therefore, is correct.


Bookland Number 978

From the creation of the ISBN until January 12007, the ISBN was a 9-digit number followed by a modulo 11 checksum that was either a digit or the letter X. A Bookland EAN was generated by creating the Bookland "country code" 978, the digits of the book's ISBN other than the checksum, and an EAN checksum digit.

Bookland is an imaginary place created in the 1980s in order to reserve an EAN Country Code for books, regardless of country of origin, so that the EAN space can catalog books by ISBN rather than maintaining a redundant parallel numbering system.


Check digit in ISBN 13

Rapid world wide expansion of barcode scanning has brought into prominenbce the agreement reached between European Access number ( EAN ) and Universal Code council (UCC) which allowed 10 dogit ISBN to be converted into 13 digits. This has made ISBNan internationally identifier with world wide bar code system.

The agreement replaced the 10 digit ISBN with a special ‘ bookland’ identifier represented by the digit ‘978’ for books. Digit.978 is prefixed by first nine digits of an ISBN and check digit is worked out on the basis of EAN rules ( Modulus 10 )

The International ISBN Agency's official 2005 manual covering ISBNs issued beginning January 2007, reveals the 13-digit ISBN check digit, which is the last digit of the 13-digit ISBN, is calculated differently from the old 10-digit ISBN check digit. In the 13 digitISBN check digit is calculated on a modulus 10, of the alternately weighted (by 1 and 3) products of the first 12 digits, with additional calculation of this result.

Calculating an ISBN 13 check digit requires that each of the first twelve digits of the 13-digit ISBN — excluding the check digit itself — be multiplied alternately by 1 or 3. Next, take the sum modulo 10 of these products. This result is subtracted from 10. The result is the check digit. If the check digit calculates to 10, 0 is used.

Let us take the example of ISBN ISBN 81-241-0614-2

Pre fix 978 to the 10 digit ISBN ISBN 978-81- 241- 0614- 2


9 x 1 = 9

7 x 3 = 2 1

8 x 1 = 8

8 x 3 = 2 4

1 x 1 = 1

2 x 3 = 6

4 x 1 = 4

1 x 3 = 3

0 x 1 = 0

6 x 3 = 1 8

1 x 1 = 1

4 x 3 = 1 2


Total 107


When we divide 107 by 10 the remainder is 7. The result is subtracted from 10. The resultant 3 is the check digit in 13 numbers ISBN.


The complete sequence of 13 digit ISBN is 978-81-241-0614 - 3

Care in Using I S B N


Publishers with more than one place of publication

  1. A publisher operating in several places which are listed together in the imprint of the book will assign only one ISBN to the book.


A publisher operating separate and distinct offices or branches in different places may have a publisher identifier for each office or branch. However, each book published is to be assigned only one ISBN. This ISBN should be assigned by the office or branch responsible for publication. 


Registration of ISBN

It is the responsibility of all publishers to inform their group agency or the organization responsible for the maintenance of title registration of the ISBNs that have been assigned to published and forthcoming books


ISBN Can Never be Re-used

An ISBN, once assigned, can never be re-used, under any circumstances. This is of the utmost importance to avoid confusion. If, through a clerical error, a number is incorrectly assigned, the number must be deleted from the list of useable numbers and must never be assigned to another title. Publishers should advise the group agency of the number(s) deleted and of the titles to which they were erroneously assigned.


Printing of ISBN

For the efficient running of the system the ISBN must appear:

von the verso of the title page (copyright page)

von the lower section of the outside back cove;

von the foot of the title page, if there is no space elsewhere;

von the bottom of the back dust jacket, or any other protective case, or wrapper; and

von the base of the spine (only if the product is a paperback book).


Advantages of the ISBN

  • vThe ISBN is a unique international identifier for monographic publications; the ten-digit number therefore replaces the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records. Time and staff are saved and copying mistakes are avoided.
  • vThe ISBN allows compilation and updating of book-trade directories, like Books in Print. Information on available books can be easily found.
  • vISBN mainly executes ordering and distribution of books; this is a fast and efficient method.
  • vThe ISBN is machine-readable in the form of a 13-digit Book land EAN bar code. This is fast and avoids mistakes.
  • vThe ISBN is needed for the running of electronic point-of-sale systems in bookshops.
  • vRights management is mainly done on the basis of ISBN.
  • vSales data monitoring is done by ISBN.
  • vLibraries profit from copy-cataloguing by ISBN.
  • vThe national lending right in some countries is based on ISBN.


It may be added here that there is, in general, no requirement for a publisher to assign an ISBN to a book or for that to display its number, but in the age of computers and Internet selling many booksellers may find it more convenient to deal in books that carry an ISBN


With deepest regards

Muthukrishnan M


Dr. N.G.P Arts and Science College



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