June 14 – June 21, 2006 Edition

979 Book Prefixes

To Take Effect In Early

’08, BISG Announces

NEW YORK, NY/6/6/07–The first ISBNs to be prefixed by 979 are likely to be assigned in the second quarter of 2008, according to a recent announcement from the International ISBN Agency. This is the first public announcement by the Agency to include a date for the appearance of 979-prefixed ISBNs.

Although the Agency announcement does not specify the country to which the 979 prefixes will be allocated, the news is important for everyone in the book trade. Until now, all 13-digit ISBNs have been prefixed by 978, allowing systems to contain both 10- and 13-digit ISBNs for all books. Once the 979 prefixes are introduced, there can be no 10-digit equivalents for 13-digit ISBNs as this might lead to duplication of numbers and confusion in the supply chain. It is therefore essential that book trade and library systems now become entirely prepared to process the full 13-digit identifier.

"This is a very important announcement that directly affects the U.S. book industry," said Michael Healy, Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group. "It marks a decisive point in the transition to ISBN-13, which was to be completed on January 1 of this year, and makes it critical that all systems are now configured to handle the full 13-digit ISBN."

While making the announcement, Brian Green, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency, commented, "The arrival of 979-prefixed ISBNs means that everyone in the book supply chain, including publishers, distributors, booksellers and libraries, will have to make certain that their systems can deal with the full 13-digit ISBN."

Additionally, the International ISBN Agency also announced that country prefixes and publisher prefixes will change in the 979-prefixed range of numbers as the system is modified to reduce wasted numbers. National prefixes will be introduced rather than the language-based group prefixes on which the system was initially based.

Further information on the ISBN-13 transition can be obtained from the U.S. ISBN Agency by emailing or by visiting the Book Industry Study Group’s comprehensive ISBN-13 website at

About Book Industry Study Group, Inc.

The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the U.S. publishing industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards and research. The mission of BISG is to create a more informed, empowered, and efficient book industry supply chain. Membership consists of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. For 30 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and efficiently address issues and concerns to advance the book community.