Not all FAQs displayed, search or browse for more.

What is an ISBN?

An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. ISBNs were 10 digits in length up to the end of December 2006, but since 1 January 2007 they now always consist of 13 digits. ISBNs are calculated using a specific mathematical formula and include a check digit to validate the number.
Each ISBN consists of 5 elements with each section being separated by spaces or hyphens. Three of the five elements may be of varying length:

  • Prefix element – currently this can only be either 978 or 979. It is always 3 digits in length
  • Registration group element – this identifies the particular country, geographical region, or language area participating in the ISBN system. This element may be between 1 and 5 digits in length
  • Registrant element - this identifies the particular publisher or imprint. This may be up to 7 digits in length
  • Publication element – this identifies the particular edition and format of a specific title. This may be up to 6 digits in length
  • Check digit – this is always the final single digit that mathematically validates the rest of the number. It is calculated using a Modulus 10 system with alternate weights of 1 and 3.

Prepared by UiTM Digital Library