Definition

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

Contributor(s): Todd Fast

The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number assigned to a book title by its publisher for tracking and ordering purposes. An example is:

ISBN 0-385-49531-5

which is the ISBN for Simon Singh's The Code Book, a book about crypography.

Publishers, retailers, libraries, and readers use the ISBN as a way to specify a particular book without confusion.

The principles and procedures for international standard book numbering are contained in the International Organization for Standardization's Recommendation 2108.

This was last updated in September 2005

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