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Transition to the 13-Digit ISBN for U.S. Publishers (2/4)
Consider the example of a U.S. publisher acquiring U.S., English Language publishing rights for a mystery novel that was a huge bestseller in a non-English speaking country where the original publisher has started using 13-digit ISBNs with the "979" prefix. It is likely that there are places in a publisher's systems and processes that this "Original ISBN" for the work will need to be stored and be available for both online reference and off-line reporting. Publishers need to review all the places an ISBN from another publisher might be stored in their Internal Systems and assess readiness to handle ISBNs longer than 10 digits by January 1, 2007. Appendix 2 provides a fairly comprehensive, though not necessarily complete, set of examples of where ISBNs get used by the various industry participants in the book publishing and distribution value chain. This should help publishers identify those points where use of 13-digit ISBNs with the "979" prefix by non-US publishers might impact their own business processes and systems. R.R. Bowker will be a resource to U.S. Publishers in their transition to the 13-digit ISBN R.R. Bowker, in cooperation with the International ISBN Agency, will assist publishers in making the transition to full use of the 13-digit ISBN in several ways:

1. For ISBNs with the "978" prefix, Books In Print records will contain both the 13-digit ISBN and the legacy 10-digit ISBN. This will allow books published prior to the switch to the 13-digit ISBN to be located by their legacy 10-digit ISBN identifiers. (ISBN's with the "979" prefix will only have the 13-digit ISBN identifier.)

2. A bi-directional 10-digit ISBN to 13-digit ISBN conversion utility for ISBNs with the β€œ978” prefix will be available on the US ISBN Agency web site, which is managed by R.R. Bowker. This conversion utility will generate an 13-digit ISBN from a 10-digit ISBN, and will generate the legacy 10-digit ISBN for 13-digit ISBNs with the "978" prefix. See Appendix 1 for details of how this conversion works.

3. The source code for the ISBN conversion utility will also be available on This code can be used as a guide for implementing the conversions between the 10-digit ISBNs stored internally in a publisher's systems and the 13-digit ISBNs with the "978" prefix required for supply-chain transactions with business distributors and retailers. It is Bowker's goal to provide the necessary information and counsel to U.S. publishers to help them make the transition to the 13-digit ISBN in an incremental, well-planned manner that will enable them to fully reap the benefits of conforming to the global product identifier EAN-13. In cooperation with the International ISBN Agency, Bowker is already exploring the issues related to the implementation of 13-digit ISBNs, and we will be developing a set of recommendations to support a smooth transition. If you have any questions about this white paper, or any other questions regarding the transition to the 13-digit ISBN, please contact Andrew Grabois, Bowker's Senior Director, Publisher Relations & Content Development, at 908-219-0238, or by email at Appendix 1. Conversion between a 10-digit ISBN and Bookland EAN-13 (Adapted from ISO/CD 2108, version 1.0) Converting from a 10-digit ISBN to Bookland EAN-13 For the purposes of this example, the complete 10-digit ISBN is 0-393-04002-X (Note that the last digit of a 10-digit ISBN is the modulo 11 check-digit used to guard against errors resulting from improper transcription of an ISBN. It can have a value of 0-10, with an X being used to represent the value 10). 1. Strip the check-digit from the 10-digit ISBN, as a new check-digit will be generated for the Bookland EAN-13. That gives us 0-393-04002-