ISBN for books

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is an international identifier – a numerical code used in the book market, libraries, and ultimately in the global scholarly community to uniquely identify a particular edition of a book.

When a book is published in different types of cover and/or electronic formats (html, pdf, ePub, etc. for e-books and mp3, mp4, etc. for audiobooks), in separate language versions, etc., each of these versions is identified by a unique ISBN. Each subsequent edition is also identified by a unique ISBN.

Example of an ISBN in a book: ISBN 978-80-7050-748-3

The International ISBN Agency in London is the apex global body of the ISBN system and makes available on its website an international directory of publishers (Global Register of Publishers), which also contains data on publishers in the Czech Republic.

The Czech top authority of the ISBN system is the National Library of the Czech Republic – Czech National Agency for ISBN and ISMN. It alone is authorised to assign ISBNs to publishers based in the Czech Republic and supplies its services free of charge.

The ISBN does not provide any form of legal or copyright protection.

The presence or absence of an ISBN in a book does not affect the obligation to submit so-called compulsory copies to libraries (see

Use of the ISBN in the global barcode system

Thanks to an agreement between GS1 (formerly EAN International and the Uniform Code Council) and the International ISBN Agency and the International ISMN Agency, it is possible to convert ISBNs into EAN-13 barcodes, making the ISBN identifier compatible with the global barcode scheme.

Example of printing an ISBN in EAN-13 barcode symbology:

Barcodes for books published on physical media can be requested by emailing the Czech National Agency for ISBN and ISMN (

Consultations on barcode issues are provided by GS1 Czech Republic, which is the only licensed GS1 registration office in the Czech Republic.

Related regulations and manuals

Source: National Library of the Czech republic