ISBN Registration, Fees & Online apply for ISBN Number


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Isbn Registration


ISBN in its full form means International Standard Book Number that is used to identify commercial books. It is a unique identification number that currently consists of 13 digits amongst 5 divisions whereas before 2006 it consisted of 10 digits. ISBN is used by publishers, libraries, authors, education/research institutions and booksellers for the purposes of listing, ordering and controlling stocks of books and other reading materials like research papers.

It helps in the identification of the particular publisher that has published the book, and within their output it also allows the publisher to identify specific edition, title and format.

ISBN Number – Structure

There are 5 divisions or elements of ISBN, they are:

  1. Prefix element – The prefix element is the first and foremost digits with which the ISBN typically begins. It has 3 digits in it and usually starts with 978 or 979.
  2. Group Element for Registration – This component denotes the country, state or region of registration from the International system of ISBN. It basically indicates the geographical area. This element may consist of 1 to 5 digits within it.
  3. Registration element – This component identifies the publisher and comprises about 7 digits.
  4. Element for publication – This element of the ISBN provides information regarding the specific edition and the format of a title. This component can consist of a maximum 6 digits.
  5. Check Digit – This is the last element in an ISBM, and it consists of the ISBN code. It has the function of validating the remaining components of the ISBN. It is calculated with the help of the “Mod 10” system that alternates weights between 1 and 3. It is also known as Check Digit.

Functions Of ISBN

  • ISBN is a product number that assists in the internal processes of ordering and listing on sale of books that are monographic in nature.
  • The number grants access to data of bibliographic nature used by the industries engaged in the field of books, and also by libraries.
  • An ISBN can either be used by a publisher or by the author of a book who is also publishing the book.
  • It is a unique identification internationally for publications.
  • It helps by handling bibliographic descriptive records, thus saving time, labour and also copes with errors.
  • It enhances the efficiency of ordering and distributing books in bookshops by helping in supply chain systems and by managing sales data.
  • ISBN ensures that the book receives popularity and is widely known.
  • It facilitates in the process of compiling and updating directories of books.

Documents Required for Registration Of ISBN

  • Identification Proof: The identification proof of the author of the book or research paper is required for registration. It can include PAN, Aadhar Card, Voter ID, etc.
  • Content: The content of the complete book for which ISBN is to be published must be provided for the process of registration of ISBN.
  • Description of the book: Any other description of the book like the cover page, title of book, etc. must be provided in the specific format to apply for registration. A copy of the above aspects can be provided.
  • Details of the publisher and printer: Information and details of the publisher who would be publishing the book must be provided at the time of registration along with details of the printer.

Process of Registration of ISBN

ISBN registered at home via official online portal from anywhere and at any time. Since ISBN can be applied online, it is also more efficient, transparent and hence it streamlines the entire process of registration. Further, the status relating to the issue of ISBN numbers would be continuously updated by the Agency in the portal, hence making it simpler and more convenient for the applicants to know about the status of their application.

  1. ISBN website – A person willing to obtain an ISBN is to visit the official website of ISBN that is There is an option known as the “New Applicant Registration” on the homepage of the website. That option needs to be clicked.
  2. Agree to the disclaimer – A disclaimer will appear on clicking the option of “New Applicant Registration”. The disclaimer consists of the rules that need to be fulfilled to obtain ISBN registration. If the person applying for registration must click on the tick box next to the “Disclaimer” of “Applicant Registration” to move forward.
  3. Fill out the form – On clicking the checkbox next to the disclaimer, a form would appear in the website that needs to be filled. It consists of
    • Applicant Type (Compulsory) – The applicant must choose one of the options between publisher/author and click on it to fill out the book.
    • If the applicant is an Author, then the following boxes would have to be filled:
      1. Author Type (Compulsory) – The applicant would have to choose between the options of
        • Individual author/Individual publisher other than the author; or
        • Institutional author
      2. Nationality of Author/Editor (Compulsory)
      3. Email of Author/Editor (Compulsory)
      4. Name of Author/Editor (Compulsory)
      5. Phone No. of Author/Editor
      6. Mobile No. of Author/Editor (Compulsory)
      7. Fax No. of Author/Editor (Inc. Area code)
    • If the applicant is a Publisher, then the following boxes would have to be filled for the registration:
      1. Publisher Type (Compulsory) – The applicant would have to choose between the option of:
        • Commercial Publisher
        • Institutional Publisher
      2.  Email of the Publishing Agency (Compulsory)
      3. Name of the Publishing Agency which will be publishing the book (Compulsory)
      4. Name of Proprietor/Director of Publishing Agency (Compulsory)
      5. Phone No. of Publishing Agency
      6. Mobile No. of Publishing Agency (Compulsory)
      7. Fax No. of Publishing Agency (Including Area code)
    • After filling out the above options, the applicant needs to click on the option of “Verify Mail”
  1. After clicking on the option, an email would be received by the applicant on his/her registered email id that is the id that he/she filled out in the form. The username will be the registered email id and the email will consist of a password for logging into the portal as an applicant.
  2. Thereafter the applicant can go back to the home page and click on the option of “Applicant Login”, and enter the following details
    • “User Name” which is a registered email address
    • “Password” that has been provided in the email sent
    • “Security Code” needs to be typed by looking into the textbox next to it, which consists of characters and numbers.
  1. Once it has been logged into, the page will consist of options such as Edit Profile, My Application, Change Password and Log out.
  2. The applicant, after logging into the portal can change his/her password by clicking on the “Change Password” option.
  3. Then the applicant can choose the “My Application” option, and click on “Apply for New Application” to apply for an ISBN. If the applicant has already applied for ISBN through the online system, then the applicant can apply for a fresh ISBN only after consuming 90% of the ISBN numbers allotted.
  4. The applicant would have to fill out the form which would consist of the following details:
    • Have you applied for ISBN before? (Yes/No)
    • If yes, what was the assigned ISBN?
    • If yes, have you attached submitted? (Yes/No)
    • The bibliographical details about the used ISBN as per log book – The applicant would have to upload a file to fill this option, and this file must not exceed 100kb and should only be a PDF file.
    • Cover page of titles/books – The applicant would have to upload a file for this option too and this can either be a JPEG/PDF file, but should not exceed 100kb.
  1. The applicant must click on the SAVE button to successfully save the form, and the applicant will then be able to view the screen which reflects the current status of his/her application. After the application is saved, the applicant must submit it to the agency and can do so by clicking on the link to “SUBMIT TO AGENCY”. Until the application is submitted to the department, it can be edited and modified by the applicant and will be pending at the applicant’s end until it is in fact submitted.
  2. Once the application has been submitted, the application status in the “My Application” option will change from “Pending” to “Submitted”. The applicant will then have to wait for the approval of the same and to be issued ISBN Numbers by the department.
  3. Once the ISBN numbers have been issued, the department system would send a notification regarding the same to the registered mail id of the applicant and the status of the application would then be altered.
  4. If any further clarification is necessitated by the department, then the status of the application would show “Clarifications Sought by Department” and the same can be responded to by the applicant by clicking on the option of “View Details” in the consecutive column.
  5. Once the “View Details” option is chosen, the screen would consist of the following which needs to be filled.
    • Query date
    • The query (of the department)
    • Reply – Here the applicant need s to fill his/her response to the clarification that is sought.
    • Reply file
    • Reasons

Then a dialogue box would be there where the question of the department would be posted. The response of the applicant needs to be filled into the “Answer” box and if any other document is to be uploaded, there is an option to upload it as well.

  1. Once the clarification has been submitted to the agency, the status of the application will show as “Under Process”.
  2. Once the application has been processed, the status of the application will either show as “Approved/Rejected” and in case it is approved, it will be pending at the department in furtherance of the issue of ISBN number.
  3. After the ISBN numbers have been allotted, the system will show the status on the application as “Allotted” but it will be pending at the department for the final issue of the ISBN series for the applicant.
  4. Once the ISBN series has been issued by the Agency, the status of the application will be “Allotted (Please fill in book details”. The applicant is supposed to provide the book details by clicking on the link so as to be provided with the ISBN numbers and then click on the “New Book Details” for each published book.
  5.  The applicant must then submit the book details by:
    • By clicking on the “Add New Book” link and by submitting single book details in it.
    • By clicking on the “Bulk Uploading” link to submit all the book details at once. In this case, the cover page can be uploaded by clicking on the edit option mentioned for each Book’s details.
  6. Once the book details are submitted by the applicant to the Agency by clicking on the boxes next to each of the book details, and by then clicking on the “Submit to Agency” option that would be provided below. The applicant then has to wait for the issue of ISBN numbers for each of his/her books from the agency. The status of the ISBN number will then be reflected for each book once “New Book Details’ ‘ has been clicked by the applicant.

The process of obtaining ISBN by a publisher or author can be done online by following the prescribed steps. Although ISBN does not convey any legal protection such as copyright in most countries, it is essential in order for the product of the publisher, author, bookseller, retailers, etc. to be identified.

It helps mostly in the identification process of written materials including monographic works like books, the publication that is not intended to be regularly updated by the publisher, volumes of books, publications that fall into the print on demand category, publications involving mixed media text, individual articles, research papers, etc.

However, ISBN cannot be granted for journals/periodicals, record books, video documentaries, publications that are not text-based, games on computers, musical scores, etc.

ISBN Registration FAQs:

1. Who is eligible for ISBN?

ISBN Agency assigns ISBN’s at the request of e-book publishers, video producers, publishers, audio cassette producers, software producers, museums and associations which have publishing programs.

2. What is the time duration taken to get an ISBN?

For all non-priority requests, it takes about 5 working days from the time the ISBN application is received at the agency. Priority processing takes around 2 working days from the time the application is received at the agency. Express processing takes 24 business hours to process the same. Keep in mind that this time frame is from the time the request is received at the agency and not when the publisher sends it out.

3. How much does it cost to get an ISBN?

A service fee is charged for processing all ISBN applications. This fee is mentioned and contained within the application. For priority and express processing, an additional fee will be involved.

4. In case something goes wrong with the application and the ISBN is not approved, is the service charge refundable?

No. The service charge is a one-time payment that will not be refunded.

5. How do I find an ISBN?

ISBN’s appear in the publications of distributors, publishers, wholesalers, etc.

6. Where exactly on a book does an ISBN get placed?

Usually, the ISBN can be found on the copyright page and in case there is no barcode, it will be on the back cover.

7. Is there a relation of getting the ISBN to the geographical location of where the book is printed?

No. Books can be printed just about anywhere. The ISBN’s are assigned in relation with the geographical location of the publisher and not where the books are actually printed.

8. In case the books are in different languages, are there different ISBN’s?

Yes. Every language version will be a different product.

9. Can I transfer a used ISBN to another user?

No. ISBN’s are broken down to a specific group identifier, title identifier and publisher identifier. So, all ISBN’s in the specific batch will be allocated in accordance. Hence, this cannot be transferred.

10. What are the products that do not qualify for getting an ISBN?

Products such as websites, video DVD’s, record books, journals, periodicals, computer games, video documentaries on CD-ROM, DVD or other media, music scores, etc. do not quality for an ISBN.

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