Q 1.What is ISBN?

Ans. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numerical identifier for monographic publications such as books, pamphlets, educational kits, microforms, CD-ROMs and other digital and electronic publications. Periodicals, magazines, journals and other types of serial publications are not eligible for ISBNs. They are covered by a separate identification system called International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

Q 2.What is the structure of an ISBN?

Ans. An ISBN is a 13-digit number consisting of 5 parts:
For ISBN 978-93-5300-895-6
-GS1 element (978) - three-digit number that is made available by GS1, formerly EAN International, currently 978 or 979.
-Registration group element (93/81 for India)- identifies the country, geographical region or language area participating in the ISBN system. This element may be between 1 and 5 digits in length.
-Registrant element (5300)- identifies a particular publisher or imprint within a registration group.
6 digit registrant element signifies block of 10 ISBN
5 digit registrant element signifies block of 100 ISBN
4 digit registrant element signifies block of 1000 ISBN
5 digit registrant element signifies block of 10000 ISBN
-Publication element (895)- identifies a specific edition of a publication by a specific publisher.
-Check digit (6)- the final single digit that mathematically validates the rest of the number ,calculated using a modulus 10 algorithm

Q 3.Who is eligible to obtain ISBN from Indian National ISBN Agency (RRRNA)?

Ans. A person or entity who publishes from an office of business that is based in India. Authors who self-publishes must reside in India to obtain ISBNs from the Indian ISBN Agency. The publisher's nationality, citizenship or intended market are irrelevant in the assignment of ISBNs.

Q 4.Who is a Publishers ?

Ans. The publisher is the group, organisation, company or individual who is responsible for initiating the production of a particular publication. Normally, the publisher is also the person or body who bears the cost or financial risk in making a product available. It is not normally the printer, but it can be the author of the book if the author has chosen to publish their book themselves/ self-published (means bearing the financial risk associated with the publishing of the book). The publisher should supply the RRRNA with a specified amount of metadata about the publication to which the ISBN is assigned. International ISBN Agency has developed an ONIX for ISBN registration format to be used by ISBN registrants (primarily publishers) and national ISBN Agencies

Q 5.Why should I use an ISBN?

Ans. If you are a publisher or bookseller it may be in your own interest as you want to sell books. If your books cannot be ordered and distributed by ISBN and if they are not listed in Books in Print-type listings you may find that your books do not sell. People will assume your books do not exist, and even if they do know they exist they may consider it too much of a bother to handle them since they will need to do so using full title and manual ordering

Q 6.What does a publisher have to do to obtain ISBNs?

Ans. Please visit http://isbnnew.inflibnet.ac.in/ and go through How To Apply. All the applicants, be it already existing registrants or new registrants have to register fresh on the newly redesigned ISBN portal for ISBN allotment. Although already existing registrants can switchover to the New portal, after utilizing all the allotted ISBN on the older version of isbn.gov.in

Q 7.Fees/costs for obtaining an ISBN from RRRNA?

Ans. Currently it is free.

Q 8.I have ISBNs left to be assigned on previous portal , can I switch to the new version of the ISBN portal?

Ans. No, you must 100 percent utilize your ISBNs allotted then only switch over to new portal.

Q 9.I already have an ISBN account on previous portal, do I need to register again on new portal?

Ans. Yes, as there are changes in the format of application forms and metadata format on new portal. An existing online ISBN user needs to make new ISBN account on the new version of the ISBN portal after utilizing all the allotted ISBNs on the previous portal only. A new applicant who has never taken ISBN via online portal earlier may directly apply on the new portal.

Q 10.Can I search my ISBNs allotted on previous version on this new version?

Ans. No, those will be searchable on the previous version only.

Q 11.Do books need an ISBN if they are not going to be sold?

Ans. It is desirable that all books made publicly available, whether they are available for sale or on a gratis basis, are identified by ISBNs

Q 12.Do I need to have an ISBN?

Ans. The international ISBN system does not impose any legal requirement to have an ISBN, and the ISBN conveys no legal or copyright protection.

Q 13.I am publishing in India, but may I obtain my ISBNs from a different agency?

Ans. No. All publishers should apply to the appropriate agency that is responsible for the country in which they are based. If you have genuine reasons that may prevent you from applying to the Indian agency, then you should contact the International ISBN Agency for advice in the first instance but you should not contact another ISBN agency instead.

Q 14.I am publishing a book in a foreign language. Should it have an ISBN of the country in whose language the book is written?

Ans. No. It is the country in which the publisher is based which determines the group identifier, and not the language of the text.

Q 15.What is ONIX?

Ans. ONIX is an XML-based standard for rich book metadata, providing a consistent way for publishers, retailers and their supply chain partners to communicate rich information about their products. ONIX fields are used to describe a publication in the ISBN India online system.

Q 16.Does RRRNA provide barcodes?

Ans. The RRRNA does not provide barcodes. The Publisher may speak with their printer or graphic designer about barcode or search for local barcode providers online.

Q 17.My printer offered to arrange an ISBN for my book. Is that OK?

Ans. Usually the printer is not the publisher, but someone who takes an order from the publisher to print the book. Of course the printer can help the publisher with the ISBN application forms but it is required that the ISBN registrant element and the ISBN are registered in the name of the genuine publisher, to ensure the traceability of the publication in databases after it has been published.

Q 18.I am an author/self-publisher and want to publish my (e-)book by means of a self-publishing platform. The platform has given the book an ISBN from its own ISBN registrant element. Is that OK?

Ans. In that case the platform will be considered the publisher. This is not recommended practice. If you later break the relationship with the platform and decide to distribute your book elsewhere, you will need a new ISBN of your own. It is therefore better to obtain an ISBN of your own from the start. RRRNA can assign ISBNs from ranges reserved for small publishers or even assign single ISBNs.

Q 19.What happens if I have used all the numbers in my ISBN registrant element?

Ans. An additional registrant element can be assigned – allowing for a larger output if necessary. This is an additional registrant element and not a replacement.

Q 20. I use ISBNs for internal purposes/publications that I do not wish to make available to the public. Do I still have to report them and submit metadata to the ISBN registration agency?

Ans. Yes. RRRNA has to keep a complete ISBN register in order to carry out the proper administration of the ISBN system in compliance with the guidelines of the ISBN standard. If you do not submit the metadata of these ISBNs you might end up in the situation of having used up the complete capacity of your ISBNs, yet the ISBN Agency refuses to give you an additional registrant element because in the Agency’s records they are not used up at all.

Q 21.Do I have to identify different formats for digital publications with separate ISBNs?

Ans. Yes, whenever anyone in the supply chain needs to identify them separately, then each product needs a unique ISBN. When there are different formats available that operate on different devices or software programs, the end user has to know what format to order. Therefore each different format has to be identified by its own ISBN

Q 22.Is it possible to reassign ISBNs when the books to which they were allocated are out of print?

Ans. No, an ISBN identifies a given title and its edition and binding for all time. Even if out of print, it will still exist in some shops, and will certainly still exist in libraries.

Q 23.Can I reassign ISBNs to some other books when the books to which they were originally allocated were never published at all?

Ans. No.

Q 24.Does a price change require a new ISBN?

Ans. No.

Q 25.Does a change of format require a new ISBN?

Ans. Yes, different formats need different ISBNs in order, for example, that a customer who wants to buy a book in hardback rather than paperback can be confident that they will receive the correct format.

Q 26.Does a change of author’s name require a new ISBN?

Ans. Yes - for example when an author decides to use their own name rather than a pseudonym.

Q 27.I am revising a book. Does it require a new ISBN?

Ans. A (substantial) change of text requires a new ISBN, and if revisions have been made then the reverse of the title page should state that the book is a revised edition, and the new ISBN should be printed there.

Q 28.Does a reprint without change of text or binding require a new ISBN?

Ans. No, the original number must be retained, provided the publisher remains the same.

Q 29. I would like to issue a new ISBN for marketing reasons. Is this permissible?

Ans. No, if there is no change of text, format or binding which would justify a new ISBN. However, a separate ISBN may be assigned if required by the supply chain.

Q 30.I am reprinting a book with a price change. Is a new ISBN required?

Ans. No, a price change does not require a new ISBN.

Q 31.Do I need a new ISBN when I am reprinting a book with a new title?

Ans. Yes, a new title requires a new ISBN.

Q 32.I am publishing a book with another publisher. Whose ISBN should appear on the book?

Ans. In the case of a joint publication, both publishers are entitled to have an ISBN on the book. It should be made clear which number identifies which publisher. However, if only one publisher is to hold stock and distribute the publication, then it is recommended that the ISBN of the publisher who is responsible for distribution appears in bar-coded form on the back cover of the book.

Q 33.I am taking over another firm which already has an ISBN registrant element. All future books will be published under my name. Can I renumber all the other firm’s titles?

Ans. Not until they are reprinted under your own publisher name or imprint and carry your publisher name.

Q 34.Where should I display an ISBN?

Ans. On a printed book an ISBN should be included on the copyright page (also called the title verso page) or at the foot of the title page if there is no room on the copyright page. If there is no bar code, then the ISBN should also be on the back cover or jacket preferably at the lower right. In the case of electronic publications (such as compact discs, online publications), the ISBN must appear on the title display, that is the first display page or on the screen that displays the title or its equivalent (e.g., the initial screen displayed when the content is first accessed and/or on the screen that carries the copyright notice). For eligible educational/instructional films, videos, and transparencies, the ISBN must appear on the credit titles. If the publication is issued in a container that is an integral part of the publication (e.g., a compact disc, cassette, or diskette), the ISBN should be displayed on any labels included with that container. If it is not possible to display the ISBN on the container or its label, then the ISBN should be displayed at the bottom of the back of any permanent packaging for that container (e.g., the box, sleeve, or frame).

Q 35.I have the ISBN of a book and I want to contact the publisher. How can I retrieve information about the publisher from the ISBN?

Ans. The information about the publishers is available with the RRRNA and can be obtained from the agency. This will only work in the case of books that have ISBNs issued from the India ISBN Agency. If, on the other hand, the ISBN is for a book that is not from an Indian publisher, then you can try searching in the Global Register of Publishers atwww.grp.isbn-international.org.

Q 36.Will people in other countries be able to search for my books in search engines in those countries?

Ans. Yes, by clicking ISBN Search at the home page of the ISBN portal.

Q 37.My company’s postal address, telephone number, email address or website address has changed. Do I have to notify my ISBN Agency?

Ans. Yes, you can update the desired information after logging into your ISBN account

Q 38.How does RRRNA decide the size of ISBN block to be allotted?

Ans. ISBNs are allotted in blocks for publishers and the smallest block is of 10 numbers, generally allotted to the first application. For an author, a single ISBN is allotted against a single title. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN to be allotted is the prerogative of the Raja Rammohun National Agency, which takes in account the publishing activity already done and proposed to be done in the future by the applicant.

Q 39.Can I pass on unused ISBNs to other users?

Ans. No. The ISBN is broken down into group identifier, publisher identifier and title identifier. This means that all ISBNs in the batch allocated shows publisher identifier, and all products identified by ISBNs from that batch will be considered as being published by that publisher

Q 40.What is a Title Verso page?

Ans. Title Verso is the page displaying –Title, Name of the Author, Publisher , Printer and copyright details .

Q 41.What is the registered ID proof of the Publishing Agency?

Ans. A document in support of the fact that the publishing entity publishes from an office of business that is based in India. Ex- CIN Certificate, VAT Certificat , MSME Udyog Aadhaar or any document issued by State/Central Government body to the Publisher.

Q 42.What is an imprint?

Ans. An imprint of a publisher is a trade name under which a work is published.

Q 43.What is an ISBN request letter?

Ans. A request on the Institute’s/Organization’s letter head issued by the competent authority (stamped and sealed) for the ISBN. (Alongwith details of the seminar/conference if applying in that category)
Note- Please refer user manual for more information on ISBN.