What is an ISBN?
Do I need an ISBN?
Where do I get an ISBN?
Why can't I re-use an ISBN?
What information is associated with an ISBN?
When do I need a new ISBN?


What is an ISBN?
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a controlled 10- or 13-digit identification number. The purpose of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is to uniquely identify one publication (or edition) published by one publisher in one format. Originally introduced in 1970, this system is now recognized and used in over 160 countries.

For more information on the history and purpose of ISBNs, see

<Back to top>


Do I need an ISBN?
An ISBN is not needed to publish on Glasstree; however, an ISBN is required if you wish to have a book distributed to retail bookstores and entered into the book industry commerce chain. An ISBN is also required if you want a Digital Object Identifier (DOI).

<Back to top>


Where do I get an ISBN?
You have options when it comes to getting an ISBN.

Glasstree offers a free ISBN in the book creation process. If you received an ISBN from Glasstree, the ISBN includes Glasstree's prefix and Glasstree will be listed as the imprint name, or publisher of record. Royalties generated from books with Glasstree-owned ISBNs are subject to withholding.

ISBN tab screenshot

U.S. residents can purchase and register ISBNs from Residents of other countries may also purchase directly from their respective ISBN agencies. If you assign an ISBN that you own to your project, your publisher information will be listed as the imprint name, or publisher of record, in bibliographic databases and your online product pages. In using your own ISBN, your earnings are Other Revenue, not Royalties, and are not subject to US income tax withholding.

For detailed information about taxes, revenue, and royalties, see: Royalties and Tax Withholding

<Back to top>


Why can't I re-use my ISBN?
Each version of your book must be assigned a new ISBN to distinguish the title's edition and format (hardcover, paperback, ebook in EPUB format). This ensures your book is listed properly by bibliographic services and allows customers to purchase the correct version of your book in their preferred format.
Once an ISBN has been associated with a publication, it can never be reused to identify a different publication.

<Back to top


What information about my book is associated with the ISBN?
Your book’s Format (ebook, hardcover, paperback, dimensions, etc.), Title, Author, Contributor(s), Edition, Language, Publisher or Imprint, Country of Publication, and Publication Date are associated with the assigned ISBN.

<Back to top>


If I edit a previously published book, do I need a new ISBN?

A new ISBN is required when:

You make changes to any part or parts of a published work, such as adding, moving, or removing blocks of text and/or chapters.

  • You change the title or subtitle of a previously published work.

  • You change the cover design (to the extent that customers would view your book as a new product).

  • You create and publish your work in a new product format (hardcover, paperback, ebook, etc.).

  • You create and publish your work in a new trim size (change the book’s dimensions).

  • You create and publish an ebook in a different file format such as EPUB or MOBI.

  • You publish with another publisher or under a new imprint.

  • You issue a translated version of your published work.

You do NOT need a new ISBN when:

  • You change the price.

  • You make changes to an editable field on your View & Edit page.

<Back to top>

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request