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Difference between ISBN-10 and ISBN-13

Question by Little Tree | 2017-09-30 at 17:20

Recently, I saw a book on which there were two different ISBN numbers noted. One of them had the addition ISBN-10, the other was titled with ISBN-13.

What is the point with these numbers? Why does this book have two ISBN numbers? I always thought that the ISBN number (like it is indicated by its full name "International Standard Book Number") is uniquely associated and assigned to one book. So, it doesn't make any sense to assign two numbers to one and the same book.

1Best Answer1 Vote

Until the end of 2016, each ISBN number consists of ten digits. Especially in the English-speaking countries and in Eastern Europe, at sometime, these 10 places (from which one is a check digit) were no longer sufficient to give each new publication of each publisher an unique number.

This was the reason why the ISBN number was expanded by 3 additional digits. As a result, instead of 1 billion combinations, from this time on, 1.9 billion unique ISBN numbers were possible and there were enough free numbers for everyone again.

In the transition period, it was common to print both, the new thirteen digit ISBN number (ISBN-13) as well as the old ten digit ISBN number (ISBN-10) on the books and publications. The book, you have mentioned, is probably such a book printed during the transition period. By the way, since January 1, 2007 the old ISBN-10 numbers are history. Since this day, only the new ISBN-13 numbers are allocated.
2017-10-01 at 08:57

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