Ten-digit ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) are no longer the book industry standard. The change was made over three years ago.
Actually, the standard changed January 1, 2007 when Bowker, the U.S. ISBN agency, declared that all books published on or after January 1, 2007 must carry a 13-digit ISBN.
Let me be clear. For books to be viable in the marketplace, publishers need to ensure that all books available through book channels published on or after January 1, 2007 carry a 13-digit ISBN with a 13-digit EAN Barcode.
Some of you reading this post are asking yourselves, “Why is Sarah writing about old industry news?’
Believe it or not, CSPA has received book nominations for the Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year Award the past two years for books that carried 10-digit ISBNs. These books were published in 2008 and 2009. These publishers must have been unaware of the industry change.
For each book nominated that was printed with a 10-digit ISBN, I kindly contacted the publisher and let them know the new industry standard. Any publisher with unused10-digit ISBNs from Bowker simply needs to convert those numbers to 13-digit ISBNs before being placing the ISBN number on any new book they published. Bowker even provides a free online ISBN converter for publishers.
Here is a little piece of advice – If you are going to publish books, know the industry standards.
Most people don’t have much time to research and stay on top of all the changes happening in any given industry. That is why professional associations exist. One of the main jobs of any professional organization is to provide their members with cutting-edge information that affects their members’ business, including changes in industry requirements and standards.
If you publish books, I encourage you to join a publishers association so you don’t end up making a major gaffe on one of your books.
Three great publishers associations for small publishers are:
- Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA)
- Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
- Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN)
Join one or more of these great organizations and stay up-to-date on the latest industry standards.
CSPA’s June newsletter features a great article on the new ISTC. It’s not here yet, but it is coming and publishers need to be aware of it.