Home About Copresco Publications Quick Links Contact Us
About Copresco Publications Quick Links Contact Us

International Standard Book Numbers...

Do You Really Need Your Own ISBN Number?

Whatever you are planning to print; be it a textbook, a novel, a cookbook or a family history, you should consider an ISBN number…if your book is really a book. Let us explain. An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 13-digit number that identifies printed books or book-like products.

What’s An ISBN For?

An ISBN establishes and identifies one title or edition of a title, in a specific format, from one specific publisher.

For example, the hard cover and paperback editions of the same book will have separate ISBNs. Likewise, a revised edition will have a new ISBN to distinguish it from the first edition.

Google It

ISBNs are linked to essential information that allows booksellers and readers to know which book they’re buying, what the book is about and who the author is.

If you enter an ISBN into a search engine (or a specialized search such as www.isbnsearch.org) it will tell the name, author, and publisher of the book as well as where you can purchase it.

Without an ISBN, the book may never be discovered in bookstores or online.

Bar Codes Add Big Value

Bar coding is another good reason to get an ISBN. Bar codes contain vital pricing and inventory information for booksellers. Publishers must have an ISBN to get a bar code.

Your ISBN barcode should be positioned in the lower right corner of the outside back cover.

Not Everything Needs An ISBN

As a general rule of thumb, a book should have an ISBN if it will be sold on its own.

Any publisher or self-publishing author that wants to sell books in stores, through wholesalers or through online services, needs an ISBN.

On the other hand, manuals or other documents that are included with a product or service do not require ISBNs.

Catalogs and calendars are more examples of book-like products that don’t need an ISBN.

It’s Up To You

If you are a professional or business publishing your own book to give away free to clients, you don’t have to have an ISBN, but using one does add legitimacy to your book.


Published work that appears in new editions on a periodical basis should use an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) rather than an ISBN.

Publications include newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, journals, and newsletters like Overnight Lite.

Acquiring An ISBN

You don’t need an agent or a publisher to obtain an ISBN.

In the United States, a company called Bowker has a monopoly on the registration and sale of ISBN numbers.

A quick visit to their website at www.myidentifiers.com will get you started.

Once you are at their site, Bowker will try to sell you other superfluous services. Don’t fall for the advertising, just get your number and barcode and be on your way!

Do It Yourself

You may wonder: can Copresco register my ISBN? The answer is emphatically no.

An ISBN is not transferable. If we purchase your ISBN, Copresco will be registered as the publisher of your book, which we are not.

Registering your own ISBN assures that your book will be associated with you in perpetuity.

You Publish, Copresco Prints

At Copresco, we digitally print and bind millions of impressions of short-run publications, books and manuals.

Our diversified products run the gamut from booklets, bulletins, catalogs, workbooks, handbooks, textbooks and technical materials to training aids, guidebooks, newsletters, cookbooks and calendars.

Call Copresco

Whether you call your next project a book or call it by any other name, if it has pages, you should call the company that can bring your words and pictures to life. Call Copresco.

Happy Holidays

We work and play hard at Copresco. We’ll be closed Thursday November 24 and Friday November 25 for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Copresco will be closed on Friday December 23 for Christmas and Friday December 30 in celebration of the New Year.