Bureau for Intellectual Property
ISBN: a unique identification for books
What is ISBN?
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is an international number to register books. With this number books can be distinguished from each other and it can be deduced from what part of the world the book originates.
The ISBN applies to books - for which the system was originally created - but, by extension, it may be used for any item produced by publishers or collected by libraries.
Since 2007 with the introduction of the new system, ISBN consists of thirteen digits (ISBN-13).
Every International Standard Book Number (ISBN) whenever it is printed, it is preceded by the letters ISBN.
The thirteen-digit number is divided into five parts of variable length:
Part 1. The current ISBN-13 will be prefixed by “978”
Part 2. Group Identifier
This part identifies the national, geographic or other similar grouping of publishers.
Part 3. Publisher Identifier
This part identifies a particular publisher within a group.
Part 4. Title Identifier
This part identifies a particular title or edition of a title published by a particular publisher.
Part 5. Check Digit
This is a single digit at the end of the ISBN, which provides an automatic check on the correctness of the ISBN.
The scope of the ISBN
For the purposes of the ISBN system books and other items to be numbered include:
- Printed books and pamphlets,
- Mixed media publications,
- Other similar media including educational films/video and transparencies,
- Books on cassettes, or CD, or DVD (talking books)
- Publications that are not intended by the publisher to be updated regularly or continued indefinitely
- Electronic publications such as: Machine readable tapes (designed to produce readable printout), CD ROM's, etc.
- Micro-form publications,
- Braille publications
- Educational or instructional software
How to apply for an ISBN
Only applicants who intend to first publish their book in Curaçao, St. Martin or in Aruba can apply for an ISBN. Applicants must complete a form with all information about the writer and the book. A brief description of the book title must be supplied, as well as the category of the book. Upon completion of the form, which also includes the signature on it, the writer will receive an ISBN.
Click here to download the application form for an ISBN.
The same publisher must assign a separate ISBN to every different edition of a book, but NOT to an unchanged impression or unchanged reprint of the same book in the same format. Price changes do not lead to the need for a new ISBN.
If a publication appears in loose-leaf form an ISBN is allocated to identify an edition at a given time. Individual issues of additions or replacement sheets will likewise be given an ISBN.
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