ISBN Number

What is an ISBN number? In this article we will answer all questions you may have in reference to this issue. An ISBN number is a specific computerized number given to a certain book to make it easier to track and find. An ISBN number is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, especially for bookstores and libraries.

The ISBN number system was designed by W.H. Smith in 1965. Smith, the largest book retailer in England at the time, had announced his decision to try to move his empire to a computerized warehouse in 1967. With this move, he also wanted a system of numbers for his books beyond the Dewey Decimal system. This new way of tracking books would revolutionize the book industry. The BPADMC, also known as the British Publishers Association’s Distribution and Methods Committee, was hired along with others to make this dream a reality. They came up with the Standard Book Numbering, or SBN, system just a year later and implemented it into Smith’s company a year after that. Three years after that, many countries had adapted the system and was approved as a standard of book making, sales and tracking. The standard may have been changed of the years with new forms of media being present however the basic structure put forth back in the late 1960’s has not changed and is being used in over 170 countries.

ISBN numbers are used from the start of a publication to its end, starting with its early planning and production stages. It does not stop there either. It continues through to the publication and promotion of the product and onward to sales. It is vital to stocking, distribution of the product, managing the rights and analyzing sales. In its final stages, the bibliographic data storage and library information management becomes very important. The reason this system was made was because of a computers access to be able to make reading the code easier. However, it is also human-readable also.

The ISBN number system is not only used for books and textbooks. In fact, they are used for all types of media and publications; not only printed media. They can be found on such items like CD and DVD’s, and cassette tapes. Microfilm and microfiche also have ISBN numbers as well as educational computer software.

You may be asking yourself the question, “How do I get an ISBN number?” The answer is really simple actually. All you have to do is contact the U.S. ISBN Agency by phone or online. They will be able to walk you through the entire process of getting your very own ISBN number for each type of media you may have. Just go to and follow the easy instructions they have set up and in a matter of minutes you will have your very own ISBN.

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