ISBN Symbology

The ISBN-10 barcode coding scheme is EAN-13/UCC-13, with the first three digits being 978 OR 979, and 9 digits the ISBN number of the book (without the ISBN check digit). The final digit is the EAN/UCC calculated check digit. Since the introduction of the ISBN-13 system the first three digits have been assigned as part of the ISBN-13 number.

Note that the final digit of a 10 digit ISBN number is an ISBN check digit and this is NOT included in the barcode image. The barcode image will contain the EAN check digit.

ISSN barcodes are similar and used for identifying serial publications, while ISMN barcodes are used for identifying sheet music.

In January 2007 the ISBN Agencies will begin assigning 13-digit identifiers to books and book-related products. These identifiers, "ISBN-13s", will incorporate the existing Bookland EAN into a new book identifier where the prefix can be either '978' (current value) or '979'.

From December 2004, Barcode SDK will automatically recognize ISBN-13 barcode data starting with 978 or 979 and generate the appropriate ISBN-13 barcode.