Difference Between ISBN 10 and ISBN 13

ISBN 10 vs ISBN 13

Key Difference – ISBN 10 vs ISBN 13


ISBN 10 and ISBN 13 are two different systems used in systematic numbering of books between which some differences can be identified. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. ISBN 10 was the system that was used earlier whereas ISBN 13 is the new system. This is the main difference between the two systems. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two systems, and also gain a clearer idea of ISBN.

What is ISBN 10?

You must have seen all those strange looking dark and light vertical lines interspersed having a ten digit numbers on the top of whatever books you purchased from bookstores. If you do not know, this number is known as ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, which is a code developed by Gordon Foster to assign a distinct identification number to each new printed and published book. ISBN 10 consisted of 10 digits. All ISBN 10 began with 978.

In any ISBN number, the last number is called check digit and allows one to check whether the number is genuine or not. For example in ISBN 10, multiply the first nine digits by a number ranging from 10 to 2 and then add all the results. Divide this result by 11. If you do not get any remainder, then only the ISBN number is valid.

Difference Between ISBN 10 and ISBN 13

What is ISBN 13?

While ISBN consisted of 10 digits earlier, publishers realized that they would soon run out of numbers, and so a new ISBN 13 was created. Since 1st January 2007, all books have ISBN 13 printed on their backs. Thus, it is clear that ISBN 10 is an old system of identification of books that has been superseded by ISBN 13. ISBN numbers begin with 979. ISBN number is divided into parts that identify different things such as Group, Publisher, Item number, and a check digit. All new books have a separate ISBN number for the paperback edition and another ISBN number for the hardcover edition.

It is possible to generate a new ISBN 13 number for any ISBN 10 number. Just go to a website called http://www.barcoderobot.com/isbn-13.html and enter 978+the old ISBN 10. The site will generate the new ISBN 13 number and also give the new barcode image.

If you are a publisher wishing to sell your books on Amazon or eBay, you need to apply for ISBN number. You need to pay a registration and processing fee. The process of application is simple and fast, and you can do so by applying online at ISBN.org

ISBN 10 vs ISBN 13

What is the Difference Between ISBN 10 and ISBN 13?

Definitions of ISBN 10 and ISBN 13:

ISBN 10: ISBN refers to International Standard Book Number and is a distinct number given to every new book published.

ISBN 13: ISBN 13 was developed and is being used since 1st January 2007.

Characteristics of ISBN 10 and ISBN 13:


ISBN 10: ISBN 10 is the older system.

ISBN 13: As publishers were running out of numbers they introduced the new system ISBN 13.

Beginning numbers:

ISBN 10: All ISBN 10 began with 978.

ISBN 13: ISBN 13 numbers begin with 979.




Image Courtesy:

1. “ISBN“. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

2. “EAN-13-ISBN-13” by ISBN whioch in the conutry we do niot usenlol nbfa academy rules hello – self-made using bookland 1.3. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

  • http://LifeUnsettled.com Thomas O’Grady, PhD

    Just got my ISBN and the 13 digit ISBN starts with 978 not 979….