At times, I share with you information that is not exactly related with computer technology. Such articles are based on my research whenever I find myself in need. For example, my articles on registration of ngo (trust, society) are very popular and have helped thousands of people.
Raghav, A tech-savvy friend of mine wrote a programming related book (a pretty thick one!). He knows that his book is good quality and he will be able to sell it without support from a big publisher. To maximize his profits, Raghav wanted to publish it on his own. Self-publishing is in upswing nowadays in India.
“I have written this book and I can self publish it, but I don’t know how to get ISBN number. Big publishers have ISBN but where do they it from?”, asked Raghav.
“See, although you don’t really need ISBN for publishing your book but it is good if you have it. Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency for ISBN is the authority who issues ISBN numbers in India.”, I replied.
I researched a bit more and gave all the available information to Raghav about how to apply for ISBN.
Today, I am bringing you the same information that I gave Raghav. With the advent of self-publishing and it’s growing popularity among writers, questions about ISBN numbers are being often asked. Here is a compilation of all the information you need to know about getting and using ISBN numbers in India.
What is ISBN Number?
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a unique International Publisher’s Identifier number, which is meant for monographic publications. It identifies publisher and the title of publication. This 13 digit number is machine readable when converted into a EAN-13 barcode. You see this barcode, usually, on the back cover of books.
For what type of material can you get ISBN?
Following types of material is eligible for having an ISBN:
- Printed materials
- Educational Videos or Movies
- Mixed media publications
- Microcomputer software (only educational)
- Atlases and maps
- Publications in Braille
- Electronic publications
For what type of material ISBN will not be issued?
- Advertising material (sales catalogues, price lists, prospectuses, publicity flyers, etc)
- Wall posters, Newspapers, leaflets
- Lists of exhibits without additional text
- Programs of theatrical, musical, and other performances
- Curricula of schools and colleges of all kinds
- Lecture and teaching material of manuscript character
- Calendars and diaries
- Forms & colouring books
- Journals and periodicals
Is it mandatory to have ISBN number?
No, it is not mandatory to print an ISBN number on your book. You can publish your book without ISBN. But it is recommended to have ISBN because it makes your book uniquely identifiable. Also its sale becomes easier at stores where they make bill using a barcode reader. If your book will not have an ISBN bar code –it will be difficult for selling store to make bill for the purchaser of your book.
How much does ISBN cost?
Getting ISBN number in India is totally free. You don’t have to pay a single paisa for this.
Will a separate ISBN be required for hard cover book?
Yes, hardcover (hard-bound, cloth-bound, hard-back) and paperback versions of the same book require separate ISBN numbers.
Will a separate ISBN be needed for different language?
Yes. If you’re publishing the same book in a different language –you cannot use the same ISBN. You will need to assign a separate ISBN number to each of various language versions of the same book.
Who can apply for ISBN?
Any person or entity wanting to publish a book can now apply for ISBN.
- Self-publisher (an individual who wants to publish book on his/her own)
- Government Department
Which authority issues ISBN numbers in India?
Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency for ISBN is authorized to issue ISBN number in India. It is an agency under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
How to get ISBN in India?
In order to get ISBN numbers you would need to send an application to Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency for ISBN. In your application you have to provide the following information:
- Title of book
- Publisher (if you are publishing book on your own, just write “Self-Published”)
- Year of publication
- Place of publication
- Paperback or Hardback
- Your address for communication
In addition, you will also need to enclose the following along with the application form:
- Photocopy of the cover page
- Identification proof
- A self addressed envelop for return communication
NOTE: (as per the experience of a reader) If you want to get ISBN as an individual, you need to include a photocopy of cover of your book. Before applying for the ISBN number, you should get your front cover and back cover finalized and send the photocopy of the same.
Application form for ISBN Number
You can download the application form from authority’s website. Click here to get the ISBN application form
(Latest application form download link was informed to me by my reader AP Pradeepkumar through comments section. Thank you!)
Where to send application form?
You need to send the completely filled form to the following address:
Raja Ram Mohun Roy ISBN Agency
Department of Higher Education
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Room No. 13, Jeevan Deep Building,
4th Floor, Parliament Street,
PIN Code: 110001
Email: [email protected]
(These new contact details were informed to me by my readers S. Bhattacharjee and Mayank Sharma through comments section. Earlier the Agency was located in R.K. Puram)
NOTE: (as per the experience of readers) Many of my readers have commented that when they called the above given numbers, no one picked up the phone. Well, guys, it’s a government office and it is not surprising if they don’t pick up. The numbers are correct as per the best of my knowledge. Try calling them and PLEASE do let me know if you have any other number that works. It will benefit other readers.
NOTE: (as per the experience of readers and my friends) It has also been reported that they take a lot of time in sending acknowledgement of receiving application. Most of the time you don’t get any acknowledgement. It is highly recommended that you personally visit the above mentioned office and take acknowledgement receipt after submitting application. I know it is very difficult especially if you live outside of Delhi. But that is practically how it works.
How many ISBN numbers are issued?
Earlier ISBN number used to be issued in blocks of ten (i.e. you would have to apply for at least ten ISBN numbers). But as self-publishing is becoming popular, the authority has begun to issue even a single ISBN. So, if you don’t need more, you can apply for just one ISBN number.
How much time will it take to get ISBN?
Usually, if you have provided all the details in application form, you get ISBN within 8 weeks (two months)