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The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier that is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase or receive ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.
|International ISBN Agency
|1970; 54 years ago (1970)
|No. of digits
|13 (formerly 10)
An ISBN is assigned to each separate edition and variation (except reprintings) of a publication. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book will each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is ten digits long if assigned before 2007, and thirteen digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-specific and varies between countries, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country.
The initial ISBN identification format was devised in 1967, based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108 (the 9-digit SBN code can be converted to a 10-digit ISBN by prefixing it with a zero).
Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines and newspapers. The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) covers musical scores.
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