Book Production

Need an ISBN Number?

ISBN number for publishing

An ISBN number helps you identify your book in stores. You can get a similar identifier recognized globally when publishing through PublishDrive.


Publish to Thousands of Stores With Just One Dashboard

Start for Free

What Is ISBN?

When publishing a book, know if you need an ISBN or not. But first, what is it? Do you know that very long number under or above the bar code on the back of a book? That’s an ISBN, made up of 10 to 13 digits.ISBN bar code for books

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number that helps stores identify a specific book edition. It’s assigned to various book formats like ebook, print, and audiobook. Note that journals, magazines, and other publications can not get them (they have an ISSN number instead).

Book ISBN meaning: For 13-digit codes, the first three numbers are the “prefix”. Currently, they can be either 978 or 979. What comes after is the registration identifier, which can refer to a country, language group, or particular territory. 10-digit ones don’t include the prefix element.

Do I Need an ISBN Number?

They’re required for print books but not ebooks or audiobook formats. But most stores will assign their own identifiers. For example, Amazon ISBN uses ASIN. PublishDrive uses PUI

ISBN requirements

Print: Yes



Ebook: No



Audiobook: No


How to Get an ISBN Number

Acquiring one depends on your location. The International ISBN Agency gives out the registration identifiers to local authorities, who then decide what to do with them.

  • In the United States and Australia, you can get a Bowker ISBN costing around $125 to $250.
  • In the UK, you can get an ISBN from Nielson, costing around £89 to £149.
  • In other countries like Hungary, it’s free to get one.

Contact your national ISBN agency to find out more.

A note about Bowker: If you choose to go through Bowker, consider buying ISBNs in bulk. Their pricing is skewed toward bulk orders, meaning favorable towards traditional publishers and against smaller presses and indies. A pack of 10 costs as much as three. You’ll need different identifiers if you publish in more formats or release more books in the future.

How to Get an ISBN Number FREE

If your country doesn’t issue ISBNs for free, there are other ways to get them for free. Platforms like Kindle Direct, CreateSpace, and Lulu will issue their own unique identifiers for free if you use their publishing services.

We suggest getting a unique identifier from PublishDrive. You not only get a free identifier recognized by stores worldwide but a bunch of publishing perks. These perks include essentially everything you need in self-publishing from metadata to marketing support.

It takes a simple upload of your book files to get started with global publishing:

💡Did you know?

PublishDrive writers increased digital book sales by 69%, distributing to thousands of stores worldwide.

Start for Free

Get ISBN Numbers Taken Care of and More

Now you know that besides print books, you don’t necessarily need ISBN identifiers for ebook and audiobook formats. But since most bookstores assign unique identifiers anyway, we recommend going with PublishDrive’s PUI identifiers.

PublishDrive combines the best publishing tools and services from places like Kindle Direct into one dashboard:

  • It’s free to upload your book and get started in no time
  • Distribute print, ebook, and audiobook formats
  • As one of the only publishing companies that don’t take a commission, you keep 100% royalties!
  • Sell your book in over 400 stores and 240K libraries
  • Get marketing tools and perks, such as free featuring opportunities with retailers like Apple Books
  • Receive auto-financial reports and track real-time sales
With PublishDrive's platform, you can publish to the best Amazon KDP, one of the best self publishing companies

We're Proud Of Our Writers!

PublishDrive writers increased digital book sales by 85%, distributing in thousands of stores worldwide

Start Free 14-Day Trial

Related posts

Are you looking for something on PublishDrive?