ISBN-13 Update: A Report from the Field

May 2005
by Laura Dawson

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Three months into the 2005 “Sunrise” Initiative for ISBN-13, the Book Industry Study Group (specifically its BISAC committee, which deals with industry data standards) has put together the ISBN-13 Education and Support Project, and publishers should be using both ISBN-10s and ISBN-13s on new titles with trading partners.

As recommended in our December 2004 issue (see “The New ISBN Timetable” by Tom Clarkson at, both numbers should appear on the copyright page of each book coming off press in the format recommended by the International ISBN Agency:

ISBN-13: 978-1-56619-909-4

ISBN-10: 1-56619-909-3

Please note, though, that dual numbering is valid only for ISBN-13s that begin with 978–which they all will until 2007–and that before you can use dual numbers, you must be capable of accepting either version (ISBN-10 or ISBN-13) in written, verbal, and electronic communications.

Moves to Make Now

Different companies will, of course, be making the transition at different rates. Still, it’s important for everyone to become accustomed to seeing the 13-digit number, and BISG recommends including stuffers with your paper invoices or tags on your electronic invoices that refer trading partners to ISBN-13 information at BISG also recommends briefing your sales reps on the issue, following up with those reps to make sure the message is being communicated effect…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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