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ISBN FAQs

The 10-digit ISBN, one of the most widely used identifiers in bibliographic databases, will be expanded to 13 digits beginning January 1, 2007. The standard is being revised in order to avoid running out of numbers and to align the ISBN with the longer Global Trade Item Number (GTIN).

The current draft of the ISBN standard calls for the change to be implemented by January 1, 2007. Books currently carry both EAN-13 barcodes (a form of GTIN) and 10-digit ISBNs. Retailers in the United States must be able to send and receive GTINs by January 1, 2005, but they will continue to support 10-digit ISBNs as well until 2007. This change will affect publishers, distributors, retailers, and libraries.

FAQs about the ISBN is provided by the ISO. Please check this site for further updates.

More information about the expanded ISBN is provided by Bowker, which is the United States ISBN agency. The new 13-digit ISBNs are being introduced into BooksInPrint.com (to which the District subscribes) and GlobalBooksInPrint.com.

Additional general information may be found in the ISBN Standard Revision section of the International ISBN Agency site. Included are links to the ISBN Users' Manual, guidelines for implementation of 13 digit ISBNs, and other pertinent information about the ISBN expansion.