ISBN and What It Means
The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a coded number issued by the R.R. Bowker Company. This number simplifies ordering books anywhere in the world. Distributors and wholesalers, book buyers and dealers and sellers, libraries, schools, and any other purchaser use the ISBN to identify, locate, and order books.
The ISBN is found on the copyright page of books. Usually, it is also printed on the back cover and/or spine of paperback books, and imbedded in the barcode on the back cover. The barcode is a digitized code that can be scanned quickly worldwide by computers. Retailers, wholesalers, and distributors use barcodes for making and tracking sales and inventory. Barcodes make their job much easier and more error-free. Barcode scanning is used by major bookstore chains for book publications and book-related items.
The ISBN is like the social security number for books. It remains a unique identifying mark for a particular book. Once the ISBN is issued, that number is never used again. The ISBN stays with the book forever.
Essentially, the ISBN is an order fulfillment tool and a bibliographic element in cataloging. The ten-digit number is printed on catalog cards, in catalogs, and entered in national and international databases. It appears in promotional materials as the number to identify a book to be easily located for ordering and buying.
The ISBN is a 13-digit number. Before January 1, 2007, the ISBN was referenced with only 10-digits. The conversion to a 13-digit ISBN is made possible with the addition of the EAN prefix 978 and a different ending check-digit, as required by the revision of the ISBN standard as established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Pine Orchard includes this conversion with its service.
Books-in-Print is a bibliographic database with over 3.5 million titles. This is an annual R.R. Bowker publication that lists all books currently in-print as well as any reported forthcoming titles. The books in Books-in-Print must be available for purchase from the book industry or the general public. Therefore, a family scrapbook or poetry book for private distribution would not qualify for inclusion. Also, books which would be given away at no cost, unbound books, short pamphlets, periodicals, government publications, puzzles, calendars, maps are excluded from any R.R. Bowker registration of an ISBN, database, or directory.
Obtaining an ISBN for your book
The agency responsible for administering all ISBNs in the United States is R.R. Bowker. They accept applications to receive a block of numbers, which come in groups of 10; 100; 1,000; 10,000; or 100,000. To be eligible, you must be a business, organization, or publisher. There is a processing fee and waiting time to receive a set of numbers. For details about the application process, service charges, and completion time, check the website of R.R. Bowker at www.bowker.com.
If you do not wish to apply for your own set of numbers, Pine Orchard can help you in two ways:
1) We can provide enrollment assistance, contacting R.R. Bowker on your behalf and handling all administration tasks.
2) We can assign a Pine Orchard ISBN to your book.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is recognized as the national library of the United States and is known as the world’s largest library—being a great resource to scholars and researchers. It has over 17 million books. Selection officers review books and decide which should be added to the permanent collections. Books deposited for copyright registration make up the core of their collections. Books that are found in the Library of Congress are used only on the premises by members of the public.
The primary mission of the Library of Congress is to serve members of the U.S. Congress; but the Library also serves the needs of other government members, other libraries, and those of the public, the universities, and other learned societies.
Library of Congress Card Number (LCCN)
A Library of Congress catalog card number is another unique identification number similar to the uniqueness of the ISBN. The Library of Congress number remains with the book forever as does the ISBN. However, to be assigned a Library of Congress Card number (LCCN), an ISBN is first required.
Having a LCCN will give an automatic listing of a book in several national directories, catalogs, and databases that are read by librarians and from which librarians order books for their shelves. The ordering, however, is done through the ISBN.