Do I need ISSN or ISBN?


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I run a company that sells online language-learning applications. I thought that I could also sell e-books. My question is - do I in the UK have to register for ISBN or ISSN? Is this obligatory, or I might as well publish my e-books without those numbers?

As far as I know, one can get ISSN number for free. Do you think it would be a good idea to apply for ISSN, and then publish my e-books under one name (it would be a series of e-books)?

Ebook UK Publishing

asked Mar 12 '12 at 02:16
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Lukeshek
452 points

1 Answer


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If your e-books are one-off publications, text based and available to the public then they would qualify for ISBN. By "one-off publication" I mean that your publication is fully finished and complete (not coming out in successive issues in the way that a journal or magazine does) and that it is not going to be regularly updated. You might bring out a new or revised edition in a year or two for example, but not produce one every few weeks. If your publication is a one-off, then you can choose to assign an ISBN to it (you would apply to the national ISBN agency in the country where you live to get ISBNs - see www.isbn-international.org for contact details of national agencies). If your publication is more like a serial (it is being regularly updated) then it might qualify for ISSN but please contact your national ISSN centre for advice on that.

answered Mar 13 '12 at 00:48
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Stella Griffiths
16 points
  • Stella, the website you provide in your answer appears to be your website. It is considered good form to disclose your affiliation with a website when recommending it. Otherwise, it is considered spam. Please edit your post to disclose your affiliation. – Zuly Gonzalez 8 years ago
  • Thank you for your answer, Stella. I think that ISSN would be more suitable in my case, because I'm going to publish a series of e-books under one main title, and each e-book would follow pretty much the same pattern, yet each one would talk about or be in a different language. I've sent an email to the British Library regarding the ISSN number, and am still waiting for them to reply. – Lukeshek 8 years ago

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