The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is the worldwide standard for identifying exact books published all over the world. For students looking to buy school textbooks, these numbers are very important when they inquire at bookstores or libraries.
Publishing companies who want to release books need to register for an International Standard Book Number or ISBN to identify their books. This helps bookstores, libraries, teachers and students make sure that they are buying and selling the correct books. This is because these numbers are unique not just for every book, but for every edition as well.
Students like you might wonder why you need to understand what these numbers mean and how it really matters to you. Here are some frequently asked questions about the ISBN:
What do those numbers stand for?
The required numbers have increased from 10 to 13 last 2007. This is to allow for more books that can be assigned numbers, and to allow for more information to be represented by them.
These numbers really stand for unique identifiers. The new numbers all start with “978” to represent published books. Then the next digits that follow are country identifiers, which stand for the language the book is published in and the national group number. Afterwards comes the specific number to identify the publisher of the book. The next numbers will stand for the particular title and edition of the book. Rounding up is the check digit, which is used for validation. Just from these series of numbers, a bookstore can already track the language, the publisher and the exact title and edition.
Why do you need them?
If these are numbers mostly used to track textbooks, why do students like you need them? If you have ever tried purchasing or renting your textbook online, the very first thing you are asked to input is the ISBN number of your textbook. This number helps these bookstores store and keep track of inventory, as well as identify which books to sell you. For students, you need these numbers when you get your book list to ensure you will purchase the accurate book.
How do you get the ISBN number of the book?
First of all, publishers will need to register the book to be published with the corresponding agency in their country. They will be given these numbers, a barcode can also be assigned to facilitate selling, and these numbers can be seen in every copy of the book, usually along with the barcode.
If you need the code for a book you need for school, just ask your professor to be 100% sure.
This process is mainly a standardized way to register and monitor whatever book that gets published. By creating this system, you as a student is also benefitting whenever you purchase your school textbook.
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