What you need to know about ISBN Canada


Length: 4:23

(The video is in a slideshow format.)

(Text appearing on screen: What you need to know about ISBN Canada)

(Text appearing on screen: What is an ISBN?)

Narrator: An International S​tandard Book Number, or ISBN, is a system of numerical identification required for the sale and distribution of a publication.

(This example of an ISBN number: “ISBN: 123-1-1234-1234-1” appears on screen.)

Narrator: It consists of a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies each specific edition or format of a book or book-like product.

(Text appearing on screen: What is it for?)

Narrator: It is an internationally recognized number used to identify publications and publishers, and to determine the publishing country.

Narrator: It is used by publishers, booksellers, libraries and others in the book industry.

(Text appearing on screen: Is it mandatory?)

Narrator: If publishers wish to distribute their work, they will require ISBNs for printed books, ebooks, audio books and educational or instructional DVDs.

Narrator: Items that do not require ISBNs include calendars, music CDs, greeting cards, individual pictures or photographs and games.

(Text appearing on screen: ISSN or ISMN)

Narrator: Other types of publications may require an international standard number other than an ISBN.

Narrator: You will need to obtain an International Standard Music Number, or ISMN, for printed music such as sheet music, music scores and digital annotated music.

Narrator: And an International Standard Serial Number, or ISSN, will be necessary for published items such as periodicals, magazines, journals and other types of serial publications.

(A screenshot of LAC’s Publishers’ Portal landing page appears on screen.)

Narrator: These international standard numbers can be acquired through Library and Archives Canada’s Publishers’ Portal.

(Text appearing on screen: Who can obtain an ISBN from Canada?)

Narrator: A “Canadian Publisher” means a person or entity who:

  • makes a publication available in Canada;
  • publishes from an official office of business that resides within Canada;
  • has at least 75% of its employees based in Canada;
  • has identified the material as being published within Canada, if the publication location is included.

(Text appearing on screen: How to obtain an ISBN from Canada. Step 1: Create an account)

Narrator: To apply for ISBNs, you must create an ISBN Canada account.

(Screenshots of LAC’s ISBN Canada and Create an ISBN Canada account webpages appear on screen.)

Narrator: To do so, you can either fill out the online form or contact us directly.

(Text appearing on screen: How to obtain an ISBN from Canada. Step 2: Log in to your ISBN account)

(A screenshot of LAC’s ISBN Canada Login webpage appears on screen.)

Narrator: Once your request is approved in the system, the login information will be sent to you, along with instructions on how to obtain your ISBNs online.

(Text appearing on screen: How to obtain ISBN from Canada)

(Images of a hardcover book, a softcover book and a tablet appear on screen.)

Narrator: Please note that unique ISBNs are assigned to different formats of the same book such as hardcover, softcover and ebook.

Narrator: Similarly, different editions of the same book will have different ISBNs.

(Text appearing on screen: French-only?


Narrator: Are you a French-language publisher located in Canada who publishes in French exclusively?

(The logo of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec appears on screen along with the following coordinates:

ISBN Agency
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
514-873-1101, ext. 3785
1-800-363-9028, ext. 3785

Narrator: If so, you are invited to contact Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec who will assign an ISBN that identifies you as a French-language publisher.

(Text appearing on screen:Barcodes?)

(An example of barcodes appears on screen.)

Narrator: The Canadian ISBN Agency does not provide commercial barcodes; these are separate from ISBNs and are issued by private companies.

Narrator: Speak with your printer or graphic designer as some of them offer the barcoding service.

(Text appearing on screen:I have my ISBN. What happens next?)

(A screenshot of LAC’s CIP application forms webpage appears on screen.)

Narrator: Once your ISBN is assigned, you may apply for Cataloguing in Publication.

Narrator: This program enables the cataloguing of books before they are published, and allows for the prompt distribution of cataloging information to booksellers and libraries.

(A screenshot of LAC’s Legal Deposit webpage appears on screen.)

Narrator: You may also be required to send copies to Legal Deposit.

Narrator: In the majority of cases, Canadian publishers are required to provide copies of all publications in all mediums and formats that they produce, so that these can be added to the nation's published heritage collection.

Narrator: The Cataloguing in Publication and Legal Deposit services can be accessed through Library and Archives Canada’s Publishers’ Portal.

(Text appearing on screen:Want more information?)

Narrator: For more information about ISBN, see the Frequently Asked Questions section of our Publishers’ Portal.

Narrator: And here’s how to reach us.

(The following coordinates of the Canadian ISNB Agency appear on screen:

Canadian ISBN Agency
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec  J8T 0A7
Telephone: 819-994-6872
Toll free Canada & US: 1-866-578-7777 (select 1+7+3)
Fax: 819-934-7535
Email: bac.isbn.lac@canada.ca
Website: www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/publishers-portal/)

Audio ends at: 4:07

Library and Archives Canada corporate identifier

Government of Canada corporate identifier

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