Call us today! 1.800.662.0703
Official ISBN Agency Channel Partner

FAQs- ISBN Number for Books

ISBN Assignments from the U.S. ISBN Agency

In 2004, we entered a formal partnership with the U.S. ISBN Agency to provide two distinct programs which abide by the ISBN requirements to enable independent self-publishers to obtain ISBN Numbers for books and other production/marketing services. ISBN assignments by either program enable our customers to retain all legal copyright and distribution rights. These programs were devised with the U.S. ISBN agency to specifically assist self-publishers, and Publisher Services is now one of the largest providers of individual ISBN assignments. Our Self-Publisher Package is geared towards providing publishing assistance to small authors/publishers who plan on distributing their publications by themselves or over the Internet (i.e., Our publisher prefix denotes “Independent Publisher” as the registrant. ISBNs purchased through our service have a Publisher Identifier listed as Independent Publisher. It is important to recognize that our customers retain all copyright and distribution rights, since the assigned unique international identifier associated to a particular publication (title/author). The Self-Publisher Package follows the ISBN terms and the numbers we provide are legitimate and cause no disruption to the book industry supply chain.  This publishing solution is an easy and economical method to obtain ISBN numbers and barcodes. For publishers who intend on utilizing book distributors and would like an ISBN with their company listed as the registrant, we offer the Publisher Package. Through an agreement with the U.S. ISBN Agency, we can provide our clients ISBN and barcodes directly from the ISBN Agency INSTANTLY!

Package Comparison:
Unmatched Phone Support (Talk to a real person)
Author/Publisher retains ownership and copyright
Clients manage title data & cover art on our Client Portals
ISBN Assignment (Unique and linked to Global Databases)
No annual fees
Discounted Copyright Registration
Complimentary Standard Book Sales Page (Info)
Digital barcode included (barcode stickers also available)
Your company listed as the publisher - Expedited as US ISBN Agency Channel Partner
"Independent Publisher" is the listed publisher (information)
Quantity Discount (i.e. 10 ISBNs & barcodes are $28.00 each)
Delivery Time

What is an ISBN and how is it used?

ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number”. It is a unique identifier for books, eBooks, tapes, and CD’s. The ISBN numbering system is used worldwide and publishers around the globe identify their work in this standardized format. Each title or edition must be identified by a unique ISBN.  In essence, the ISBN number for books  is similar to a license plate which guarantees that each book type product is identified uniquely.

Who assigns an ISBN?

The International ISBN Agency in the UK coordinates all ISBN allotments while individual group agencies assign ISBNs for each country. Every country has an organization which administers these numbers and the U.S. ISBN Agency is run by Bowker. Bar Code Graphics, Inc. has an agreement with the U.S. ISBN Agency and our Publisher Services division  is able to act as an agent for small publishers and facilitate single ISBN assignments with a publisher’s name listed as the registrant (Publisher Packages). Today, Publisher Services is now the largest authorized agent and provides the majority of ISBN assignment to self-publishers.

Are there Unauthorized Resellers of ISBNs?

Unfortunately, there are a few internet companies which prey on new self-publishers. Since the ISBN assignment uniquely identifies a title for the life of the book, authors need to be assured of the legitimacy and security of the assigning company. There is even a company which calls itself, and they are not the U.S. ISBN agency.A key part of the ISBN assignment process is REGISTERING book information and cover art within the Global Books In Print Database. This function enables book discoverability. Publisher Services clients get to enter upload their title information and cover art through our online portal which automatically uploads to the master database. Without this assurance, you might just be receiving an arbitrary number. In addition, be wary of any company offering 30 day money back guarantees with ISBN purchases. ISBN numbers should NEVER be reassigned!

Do I have to have an ISBN?

From the point of view of the international ISBN system there is no legal requirement to have an ISBN and it conveys no legal or copyright protection. However, both brick/mortar and online book sellers in the US require ISBN identification.

What happens if I decided to publish under a new publisher and ISBN?

Publications which are reprinted should carry the new listed publisher’s ISBN, and ISBN of the previous edition on the verso of the title page. Example: ISBN 0-999-00123-1 (previously ISBN 1-59972-091-X)

What is the Bookland EAN barcode?

Retailers and distributors require book products to carry a barcode which encodes the ISBN and pricing information. The Bookland EAN barcode is a standardized format which is accepted by trading partners worldwide. Our experience with barcodes enables us to provide our customers with symbols which comply with the GS1 guidelines and offer assistance with providing the appropriate format. Click here for an example. Please note, a digital barcode is not needed on ebooks.If you require only a Bookland EAN symbol, we encourage you to purchase ISBN Bookland barcode files from for only $10 each.

I plan on selling my books through Amazon KDP, which program should I choose?

Amazon KDP is a Print-On-Demand (POD) service from Amazon. Their system requires users to either have an ISBN assigned in their company’s name or use an Amazon-assigned ISBN.  We have worked out an arrangement with Amazon KDP to assist their customers. Clients who purchase our Publisher Package can utilize their ISBN number on both the books which they sell directly as well as those which are sold via the Amazon marketplaces. Clients who have already purchased an ISBN through the Self-Publisher Package need to have Amazon assign an ISBN for those publications to be offered on their service. Note: ISBNs assigned from Amazon cannot be used to sell in any other marketplace, while the ISBNs assigned from our Publisher Package can be used across marketplaces. Since POD services, such as Amazon KDP, are geared for printing individual books as they are sold, it is not economically feasible to use them to print large quantities.

What is an imprint and what is an Amazon Imprint?

An imprint is a trade name, or brand name, used by a publisher to identify a line of books or a publishing arm within the organization. You may have multiple imprints. The imprints may be developed to market works to different buyer interests. Unlike a “division” an imprint does not represent an entity with a corporate life of its own. Essentially for ISBN identification, Publisher Name = Imprint Name.

Note for Amazon customers; Your Amazon Imprint Name should be the same name as your Publisher or Company Name to your ISBNs.

How do I enter my eBook ISBN for Amazon Kindle?

Amazon has their own internal identifier ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) and prefers our clients to NOT include the ISBN. During the publishing process, Amazon will assign a 10-digit ASIN that will identify your Kindle book on We have worked out an arrangement with Amazon to allow our clients to use their ISBN for all other eBook marketplaces and they should not use their ISBN when setting up their title in the Amazon Kindle program.

How do I list my book information with traditional bookstores and online retailers?

Book data and ISBN assignment information will be done directly between trading partners. Amazon Advantage, Books A Million and Barnes & Noble each have their own processes for updating information about your published items.Amazon: Most self publishers use the Amazon Advantage program to sell their items on Amazon. Once an account is established, there is specific title information pages which enable publishers to upload book data and cover images.

Barnes & Noble: Please read the Publisher & Author Guidelines. There you will find instructions about e-mailing your information to specific B&N representatives.

What other publishing services to you offer?

In addition to barcoding and numbering assistance, our Publisher Services program offers assistance enabling publishers towards book production and online marketing. Our services include:

  • E-book formatting and conversion
  • Professional Cover Design
  • Internal book formatting
  • Discounted book printing – 3 day turnaround
  • Promotional and marketing products
  • Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Distribution
  • Printed barcode labels

How much does an ISBN cost?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and must be unique for each title and format. Depending on the marketplace, the cost for a single ISBN can range from $29 to $129. An ISBN for an ebook only costs $29 each. Self-publisher can obtain ISBN and barcode starting at $55. For a complete rundown of pricing, please click here.

Reasons to Use Publisher Services for ISBN Assistance

  • Personal customer service – Talk to a real person – We post our phone number on every page
  • Authorized ISBN agent – We are, in fact, the largest and personally assist thousands of self-publishers every year
  • Online Portal enables our clients to enter their title data and upload cover art directly to Global Database
  • Instant ISBN delivery for Publisher Package orders and  delivery within 30 minutes for Self-Publisher Package orders  during business hours

Please allow additional time for orders placed at night or over the weekend.
We strive for 100% customer satisfaction. Click here for our Terms & Conditions.

Please Call Us at (800)662-0701 x250 for assistance