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International Standard Book Number Registration

***Advisory (May 22, 2020) : In view of the state of national emergency that the country is facing, please see Public Advisory No. Jet-01 for the guidelines on application for ISBN, ISSN and ISMN.

It 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.

As of 2010, a total of One Hundred Seven Thousand and Sixty Eight (107,068) ISBN was issued to various publishers in the Philippines.

Prefix is the blocks issued to old and new publishers with 10, 100, 1000 and 10000 unique numbers.
Benefits of the ISBN
  • The ISBN is a unique international identifier for monographic publications; assigning a number replaces the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records, thereby saving time and staff costs and reducing copying errors.
  • Correct use of the ISBN allows different product forms and editions of a book, whether printed or digital, to be clearly differentiated, ensuring that customers receive the version that they require.
  • The ISBN facilitates compilation and updating of book-trade directories and bibliographic databases, such as catalogues of books-in-print. Information on available books can be found easily.
  • Ordering and distribution of books is mainly executed by ISBN; this is a fast and efficient method.
  • The ISBN is machine-readable in the form of a 13-digit EAN-13 bar code. This is fast and avoids mistakes.
  • The ISBN is required for the running of electronic point-of-sale systems in bookshops.
  • Many publishing and supply chain systems are based on ISBN
  • The accumulation of sales data is done by the ISBN. This enables the varying successes of different product forms and editions of publications to be monitored, as well as enabling comparisons between different subject areas and even different publishing houses.
  • The national lending right in some countries is based on the ISBN. Such schemes enable authors and illustrators to receive payments proportionate to the number of times that their books are lent out by public libraries.

Examples of types of monographic publications to which an ISBN shall be assigned are:

  • Printed books and pamphlets
  • Braille publications
  • Publications that are not intended by the publisher to be updated regularly or continued indefinitely
  • Individual articles or issues of a particular continuing resource (but not the continuing resource in its entirety)
  • Maps
  • Educational/instructional films, videos and transparencies
  • Audiobooks on cassette, or CD, or DVD (talking books)
  • Electronic publications either on physical carriers (such as machine-readable tapes, diskettes, or CD-ROMs) or on the Internet (for download or streaming)
  • Digitised copies of printed monographic publications
  • Microform publications
  • Educational or instructional software
  • Mixed media publications (where the principal constituent is text-based)

Some examples of the types of material to which an ISBN shall NOT be assigned are:

  • Continuing resources treated in their entirety as bibliographic entities (individual issues may qualify for ISBNs)
  • Abstract entities such as textual works and other abstract creations of intellectual or artistic content
  • Ephemeral printed materials such as advertising matter and the like
  • Printed music
  • Art prints and art folders without title page and text
  • Personal documents (such as an electronic curriculum vitae or personal profile)
  • Greetings cards
  • Music sound recordings
  • Software that is intended for any purpose other than educational or instructional
  • Electronic bulletin boards
  • Emails and other electronic correspondence
  • Games

ISBN for eligible electronic publications

Where a publication is available electronically (e.g., an e-book, e-book app, CD-ROM, or publication available on the Internet), it will qualify for an ISBN provided that it contains text and is made available to the public, and that there is no intention for the publication to be a continuing resource. Such publications may also include pictures and sounds.

Application Requirements:
 A. For first time applicants:
  1. Photocopy of ANY of the following documents (Nature of Business should be PUBLISHING):
  • Business permit/License with BIR Certificate
  • DTI registration as Publisher with BIR Certificate
  • SEC registration as Publisher with By-Laws and Articles
  • Organizational Chart (For Government Institution)
  • Mayor's permit
  • National Book Development Board (NBDB)

    2. Photocopy of the Official title page (final title of the publication)

    3. Copyright page (indicate the phrase "Published by" with the company name and address)

    4.  Duly filled out ISBN Factsheet and Information Sheet
    5.  Registration fee of P120.00/title  Waived per Public Advisory No. JET-01
B. For Succeeding Applications:
  1. Photocopy of the Official title page (final title of the publication)
  2. Copyright page (indicate the phrase "Published by" with the company name and address)
  3. Duly filled out ISBN Information Sheet
  4. Registration fee of P120.00/title  Waived per Public Advisory No. JET-01
Applications can be sent through any of the following:
  1. Hand-deliver
  2. Courier Service
  3. Postal Mail
Payment may be in form of:
  1. Postal Money Order (payable to: National Library of the Philippines)
  2. Cash
Publishers may claim the ISBN within the day for the hand-delivered documents while E-mail will be sent a day after the receipt of the complete requirements from the Courier Service or Postal Mail.
Address to:  
National Library of the Philippines
c/o Ms. Jennifer B. Dimasaca
OIC, Bibliographic Services Division
T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila
Tel. No.: 5336-7200 loc. 406-407
ISBN Fact Sheet (A4 size paper)
ISBN Information Sheet (A4 size paper)
ISBN Brochure (A4 size paper)

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