ISBN, Library of Congress and Copyright Information

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
ISBN is a worldwide identification system that has been in use since the late 1960's. There is a different ISBN number for each edition and binding of every book. To obtain an ISBN number application electronically, visit or contact the U.S. ISBN Agency:
     U.S. ISBN Agency
     630 Central Avenue
     New Providence, NJ 07974
     Telephone: 877-310-7333
     Fax: 908-219-0188
This application link provided above is for U.S. ISNB Publisher Prefix and is not for foreign publishers use (foreign publishers must apply to their own national agencies to obtain ISBN numbers). Complete the form and return to the ISBN Agency with processing fee (approximately $200, subject to change). Allow 20 days processing time. You may request 72-hour turnaround for an additional charge. Publishers should start this process before their publication is sent to the printer. The ISBN Agency will issue you 10 ISBN numbers (more if requested). Select one for use on your current project and reserve the balance for future projects.

Meaning of ISBNs
Using 0-915516-21-7 as an example, here is how the ISBN breaks down:
0 - Book originated in English speaking country
915516 - Identifies publisher
21 - Identifies particular title and edition (hard or soft cover) of book.
7 - Check digit. This is a mathematical function to check the accuracy of the other digits.

Where to Put Your ISBN
Your ISBN should be printed on the copyright page and the lower right-hand corner of the outside back cover and back jacket, or below the bar code. Dust jackets should carry the ISBN on the upper edge of the left-hand jacket flap.

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)
ISSNs are issued for serial publications, magazines and directories. Serials are print or non-print publications issued in parts, usually bearing issue numbers and/or dates. A serial is expected to continue indefinitely. Serials include magazines, newspapers, annuals (such as reports, yearbooks, and directories), journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions of societies and monographic series. An ISSN is eight digits long and always displayed this way: ISSN 1234-5679.

ISSNs’ first seven digits serve as the title number and the eighth is a check digit, which provides an efficient means for discovering transcription errors. The system used for calculating the check digit sometimes requires a check number of 10, in which case, to prevent a nine-digit ISSN, the Roman numeral "X" is substituted. For each serial with an ISSN there is a corresponding "key title" – a commonly acceptable form of the title established at the time of ISSN assignment. The title provides a benchmark that serves to regulate the assignment of ISSN, so if the title of a serial changes, a new ISSN must be assigned.

Administration of ISSN
The coordination of the ISSN is international, with registration initiated at the national level where serials are published. The National Serials Data Program (NSDP) within the Library of Congress is the U.S. Center of the ISSN Network. The ISSN International Centre located in Paris coordinates the network. NSDP is responsible for registering and providing ISSN for serials published in the United States and for promoting use of the ISSN.

Advantages of ISSN Use
The ISSN should be as basic a part of a serial as the title. The advantages of using it are abundant and the more the number is used the more benefits will accrue.

  1. An ISSN provides a useful and economical method of communication between publishers and suppliers, making trade distribution systems faster and more efficient.
  2. The ISSN results in accurate citing of serials by scholars, researchers, abstracters, and librarians.
  3. As a standard numeric identification code, the ISSN is eminently suitable for computer use in fulfilling the need for file update and linkage, retrieval, and transmittal of data.
  4. ISSNs are used in libraries for identifying titles, ordering and checking in, and claiming serials.
  5. An ISSN simplifies interlibrary loan systems and union catalog reporting and listing.
  6. The U.S. Postal Service uses the ISSN to regulate certain publications mailed at second-class and controlled circulation rates.
  7. The ISSN is an integral component of the journal article citation used to monitor payments to the Copyright Clearance Center Inc.
  8. All ISSN registrations are maintained in an international database and are made available in the ISDS Register, a microfiche publication which is scheduled to cease in the near future, or in "ISSN Compact," a CD-ROM.

Call the Library of Congress for National Serials Data Program at 202-707-6452.

Library of Congress (LC) Catalog Card Number
The Library of Congress Catalog Number is essential for publishers if they sell to the library market. To obtain a Library of Congress Catalog Number, visit their website at

CIP Data Block (Catalog In Publication Data Block)
Every book with a library market should have a Library of Congress CIP Data Block on its copyright page. Publishers can create their own

CIP Data Block with the help of a local librarian:
The following information will have to be taken to the library in order for the librarian to help:

  1. Manuscript
  2. Author's name and birth date
  3. Title of book
  4. The Library of Congress Card Number (publisher provides)
  5. The ISBN
  6. LC subject headings (ask librarian for help)
  7. LC classification number (ask for help)
  8. Dewey Decimal Classification Number (ask for help).

Your data block will be listed as Publisher's Cataloging in Publication Data, not Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. CIP Data Block information should be included on the title page.

Copyright Registration
Contact the Copyright Office, Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. at 202-707-9100. Ask for Form TX (application for copyright of books). Complete the form and return with it a $20 check (subject to change) made payable to Register of Copyrights along with two copies of your finished publication (no galleys) to the Copyright Office within two weeks of receiving books from printer.

EAN Bar Code
Every book sold in chain bookstores should have an EAN Bar Code printed on the lower right corner of the back cover. Thomson-Shore can create a barcode for you if you supply us with your ISBN and suggested retail price for your book.  

Bar Code Graphics
Thomson-Shore can create a barcode for you if you supply us with your ISBN and the suggested retail price for your book. 

ISBN Information Links
> GTIN Information
> ISBN-13 Information