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How to get an ISBN

What is ISBN?

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is an internationally recognized system whereby code numbers are assigned to books for easy identification and speedy exchange of information among publishers and all segments of the book industry and allied sectors. Specifically, it is a unique and unchangeable code number assigned to one title, one binding or edition of a published work.

An ISBN is not mandatory, and does not convey any form of legal or provide copyright protection on a work. It is essentially a product identifier used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and other supply chain participants for ordering, listing, sales records and stock control purposes. The ISBN identifies the registrant as well as the specific title, edition and format.

What is a publisher?

The publisher is the group, organization, 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 normally the printer, but it can be the author of the book if the author has chosen to publish their book themselves.

How much does it cost?

Per Public Advisory No. JET-01 dated May 22, 2020, in view of the state of national emergency that the country is facing, the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) waives the collection of application fee for ISBN.

Do I need a different ISBN for each format?

Each format must have different ISBN, which means that if you have one book but will be published in different format, e.g. paperback, hardbound, pdf, epub, etc. each of these will have its ISBN.

How do I get an ISBN?

Applying as an individual.

  • If this is your first time to apply for ISBN, submit the following requirements :
    • National Book Development Board Certificate of Registration/Accreditation or Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Certificate of Registration / Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Registration or Business permit / license  / Mayor’s permit
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Title Page of the Book
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Copyright Page indicating the name of the Publisher and contact details
    • Fill-out forms ISBN Fact Sheet and ISBN Information Sheet 
  • If you are already registered as Publisher.
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Title Page of the Book
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Copyright Page indicating the name of the Publisher and contact details
    • Fill-out form ISBN Information Sheet

Applying on behalf of a company / private organization.

  • If this is your first time to apply for ISBN, submit the following requirements :
    • National Book Development Board Certificate of Registration/Accreditation  or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Registration or Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Registration or Business permit / license  / Mayor’s permit
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Title Page of the Book
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Copyright Page indicating the name of the Publisher and contact details
    • Fill-out forms ISBN Fact Sheet and ISBN Information Sheet 
  • If you are already registered as Publisher.
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Title Page of the Book
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Copyright Page indicating the name of the Publisher and contact details
    • Fill-out form ISBN Information Sheet 

Applying on behalf of a National Government Agency, Bureau, Commission, Office, State Universities and Colleges, Local Government Unit / Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation

  • If this is your first time to apply for ISBN, submit the following requirements :
    • Organization Chart
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Title Page of the Book
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Copyright Page indicating the name of the Publisher and contact details
    • Fill-out forms ISBN Fact Sheet and ISBN Information Sheet 
  • If you are already registered as Publisher.
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Title Page of the Book
    • Scanned / Photocopy of the Copyright Page indicating the name of the Publisher and contact details
    • Fill-out form ISBN Information Sheet 

Email everything to the NLP

            Once you have everything ready, email them to isbn@nlp.gov.ph. Should you wish to mail or walk / drive over and hand deliver your forms and requirements address them to:

National Library of the Philippines
c/o Ms. Jennifer B. Dimasaca
Officer-in-Charge
Bibliographic Services Division
T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila
Tel. No.: 5336-7200 loc. 406-407
 

Other things to Note

  • Apply for an ISBN when you’re almost ready to publish your book.
  • Processing usually takes about 1-2 working day/s.
  • Once you have an ISBN, you may apply for Cataloging-in-Publication through the Catalog Division or email at catalog@nlp.gov.ph, to know more about it visit http://web.nlp.gov.ph/nlp/?q=node/683
  • You may now use your ISBN for Barcode and you can proceed to upload or print your books.
  • Should you wish to have legal or copyright protection. You may visit http://web.nlp.gov.ph/nlp/?q=node/646 to know more about it.
  • Remember to submit two (2) copies of your printed books or CD/DVD or email / link of downloadable file of your ebooks to NLP within 30 days of publication. Per section 2 of the Decree on Legal and Cultural Deposit (PD 812) (a) Within one month from the date of any printed book, as this term is defined herein, is first delivered out of the press, the publisher of such book shall furnish, free of charge and in the same finish as the best copies of produced, two copies thereof to the National Library.”
  • Please be aware that details of publisher are registered by the NLP to the International Centre https://www.isbn-international.org/content/global-register-publishers-0

Let us know if you have more questions on applying for an ISBN with NLP!

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