How do I acquire ISBN and ISSN numbers?


So, you want to get your book published? Or your magazine? You may wonder how must you go about this? SA Barcodes is here to help you through the process to buy a barcode.

General products like groceries, electronic goods and beauty products all fall under the UPC & EAN barcode system. However, books and magazines operate under a different system called the ISBN & ISSN barcode system respectively.

If you would like to publish your book, you will require an ISBN number. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a unique number that is assigned to each individual book that is published in South Africa as well as throughout the world. In order to acquire this number, it is necessary to apply to the National Library of South Africa.   When you apply for this number, remember that you will also need to supply them with five copies of your book – after printing it or after it is converted into electronic format. Your ISBN number must then be converted into an ISBN Barcode. This is something we at SA Barcodes are fully capable of assisting you with.

An important thing to remember is that if you have different variations or editions or even languages of your book, you will need more than one barcode. For example, if you plan to bring out a printed version and an electronic version, you will require two barcodes. Similarly, if you publish a revised edition of your book, this will require a new barcode. The reason for this is that it will help readers and libraries as well as retailers to be able to choose the right version and format that they would like to read.

Not all books require barcodes. If you are publishing your book privately – only for family, church members or clubs – then you won’t need to apply for an ISBN number. However, if you want to sell your book to the public through retailers (such as Exclusive books) or if you would like your book distributed by the National Library of South Africa, then you will definitely need an ISBN number and will need to buy barcodes.

In the same manner, if you would like to publish a magazine, an ISSN number will be required. This is the International Standard Serial Number. This can be defined as the individual number that is given to each serial magazine publication. The National Library of South Africa also provides these code numbers. Once you apply for it, the National Library will assign an ISSN number to your specific publication. This will then be converted into an ISSN Barcode.

If you want to use the normal channels to publish your magazine or journal, such as retailers, libraries or book stores, then you will need a barcode, which will be created after you have received your ISSN number from the National Library of South Africa. However, you will not need a barcode if you plan on distributing your serial publication on a private level or if you distribute it through online stores that will not have your book or magazine in stock.

An important thing to remember is that a different ISSN number is required for electronic versions and for print versions as well as for each serial publication. Examples of serial publications include journals, newspapers, electronic journals and magazines.

Once you have your ISBN or ISSN number and barcode, it needs to be imprinted on the book or magazine. Another option is to transform the barcode image onto stickers, which can be placed on the book or magazine.

Once you have completed this process, your book or magazine will be visible on the International Database and you will be able to sell your book in South Africa as well as throughout the world.

SA Barcodes is fully capable and happy to assist you throughout this process by designing both ISBN and ISSN barcodes for your business needs. We will help you to register for your codes and will facilitate the process with the National Library of South Africa.