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Preparing for ISBN-13

As of January 1, 2007 the ISBN changes from a 10-digit to a 13-digit number. All Canadian publishers, libraries, booksellers and related organizations will be affected by this change. Please note: ISSNs will NOT change.

Key points about publishers' transition to ISBN-13:

  • Publishers should continue printing 10-digit ISBN on publications until December 31, 2006.
  • Publishers should not use any 10-digit ISBN on publications as of January 1, 2007. All unassigned 10-digit ISBNs must be converted to 13 digit ISBNs as of that date.
  • The 13 digit version of the ISBN matches the numbers given under the bar code on publications.
  • During the two year transition to the 13-digit ISBN (January 2005 to January 2007), publishers may choose to print the 13-digit version of the ISBN on the publications along with the required 10-digit ISBN
  • Make sure that all of your automated systems and those of your trading partners are ready to handle the 13-digit ISBN as of January 1, 2007
  • Publishers with large blocks of 10-digit ISBNs (i.e. over 100) are responsible for doing the conversion of unassigned ISBNs to the new 13-digit ISBN format. Converters are available on a number of Internet sites including on The International ISBN Agency site at www.isbn-international.org.
  • Publishers with a small block of 10-digit ISBNs (i.e. 10 numbers only), will receive 13-digit ISBNs beginning in January 1, 2007.

Additional resources:

The following sites provide more information about implementation of the 13-digit ISBN: