ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and it is a unique identifying number for a book. It refers to a specific edition. Publishers, libraries, and booksellers both in retail stores and online find ISBNs invaluable. A book shopper can also find them very helpful.
For example, paperback and hardcover versions of the same title will have different ISBNs. A textbook will have a separate ISBN for each edition. International Edition textbooks have a different ISBN than the standard edition. If a book is reprinted by its same publisher without any changes or revisions, it will keep the same ISBN.
What about 10-digit vs 13-digit ISBNs?
All books published since 1970 (1974 in the UK) have 10-digit ISBNs.
Since 2005-2007 books also have a 13-digit number which begins with 978.
To find the ISBN of a particular book, just turn it over and look on the back. If the number is not identified as ISBN, then look in the bar code area for a 13-digit number beginning with 978. The ISBN can also be found on the copyright page in the front of the book.
Tips for using an ISBN for a search:
- You can use either the 10-digit or 13-digit ISBN to search in the keyword field on Biblio.
- You do not need to include dashes, just the number, with no spaces between the numbers.
- An ISBN refers to a specific edition of a book. If you need a particular edition or format for a book, the ISBN should guarantee to get the book you expect. This is particularly relevant with textbooks and other books that have been updated.
- Paperback editions and hardcover editions will have their own ISBNs.
- If you are looking for a book with specific formatting such as large print, or possibly an edition printed in the U.K. instead of the U.S., then the ISBN can be very useful.
- If you want to read a book but are not particular about the edition, then don’t limit yourself to one ISBN. Search with the title or author information.
- Keep in mind that books published before 1970 will not have an ISBN unless they have been reprinted.
Biblio offers a unique multiple ISBN search that allows you to enter one or more ISBN numbers to be searched for simultaneously. Biblio’s ISBN Search helps you find the right title, every time.