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About the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory

What is an ISBN?

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies each specific edition of a book or book-like product. This 10-digit number is divided into four parts of variable length; each part is separated by a hyphen or space.

The four parts of an ISBN, in order, are:

  • the group identifier: the first digit which specifies the country or language in which the book is published;
  • the publisher prefix: a number which identifies a particular publisher within the preceding group;
  • the title identifier: a number which identifies a particular title or edition of a title issued by the preceding publisher;
  • the check digit: a single digit at the end of the ISBN which validates the accuracy of that ISBN.

The National Library of Canada established the Canadian ISBN Agency in 1975. As part of its commitment to serving the Canadian book trade, Library and Archives Canada produces the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory using data that is collected as part of the process of assigning ISBN to publishers in Canada.

What's Included in the Directory

The Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory contains name and contact information for most Canadian publishers, past and present, who use the ISBN system. It currently lists over 33,000 publishers who use ISBNs for their Canadian publications.

The Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory lists those Canadian publishers whose ISBN assignments begin with "0" or "1", the group identifiers for ISBNs assigned by the Canadian ISBN Agency at Library and Archives Canada.

What's Not in the Directory

ISBN assignments for many francophone publishers can be found in the Répertoire des numéros ISBN des éditeurs francophones canadiens, located on the Web at

Such ISBNs are assigned by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and begin with the digit "2".

For more information please contact:

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
2275, rue Holt
Montréal QC H2G 3H1
Telephone (in Montreal): 514-873-1101, ext 3785
or 1 800 363-9028, ext. 3785 (Toll free in Quebec)
Fax: 514-873-4310
E-mail: isbn@banq.qc.ca

Currency of the Information

The information in the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory is collected or updated each time a publisher applies to the Canadian ISBN Agency for an ISBN assignment. However, if a publisher has not contacted the Canadian ISBN Agency recently, the information in that publisher's listing may not be up to date.

Publishers who wish to change their address information in this directory should contact the Canadian ISBN Agency at the address given below.

Publishers Who Have Ceased Operations

The Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory is a complete record of all publishers who have registered with the Canadian ISBN Agency, including publishers who have ceased operations. As the information becomes available, however, records in the Directory are updated to indicate the fact that a publisher has ceased operations.

In cases where the Canadian ISBN Agency is aware that publisher may have moved or gone out of business, a note will appear in the publisher's record stating "This publisher has ceased operations and/or the above address may no longer be valid." In these cases, the publisher's phone and fax numbers are normally removed from the Directory. Minimal address information is retained, however, to indicate that publisher's former place of business.

Information in the Directory Listings

Each listing in this Directory gives the publisher's name and postal address, plus telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address where applicable. If the publisher is known to have a Web site, a link to that site is also included.

The publisher information is displayed in the following order:

  • Name of the publisher (shown in boldface)

  • Street address and/or post office box

  • City, followed by the postal abbreviation for the province

  • Postal code

  • Telephone number

  • Fax number

  • E-mail address (with a link for sending e-mail messages to that publisher)

  • Web site address (with a link to that publisher's Web site)

  • ISBN prefix(es) (with a link to Library and Archives Canada's catalogue system; see explanation below)

  • Former name(s) under which that publisher operated

  • Other name(s) used by that publisher (including acronyms, variant names, and other language versions)

  • Date that the publisher first registered with the Canadian ISBN Agency

  • Date of the latest update to their listing in the Directory

If any of the above information is absent from the record, it will not appear in the display.

ISBN Prefix(es)

The ISBN prefix assigned to the publisher is shown in every publisher's listing. If several ISBN prefixes have been assigned to a publisher, all prefixes are displayed, separated from each other by a semicolon.

Each ISBN prefix contains a hypertext link to the ISBN file in AMICUS Web, the Web version of Library and Archives Canada's online catalogue. If Library and Archives Canada has catalogue records for any of that publisher's publications, their ISBNs will be included in the list of ISBNs shown in AMICUS Web. Select any ISBN that begins with that publisher's prefix to view Library and Archives Canada's catalogue records associated with that publisher.

To return to the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory, use your Web browser's "Back" button.

Further Information

Further information concerning ISBN can be obtained by contacting:

Canadian ISBN Agency
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON   K1A 0N4
Telephone: 819-994-6872
or 1-866-578-7777 (Select 1+7+3) (Toll free in Canada)
Fax: 819-997-7517
E-mail: isbn@lac-bac.gc.ca