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How to register for ISBN & ISSN Numbers


The publishing industry is thriving in South Africa as well as overseas. More and more people are publishing books on their own or through a publisher.  The fashion and entertainment industry is also booming and this has lead to a dramatic increase of magazines. In order to sell these books and magazines, it is necessary to apply for ISBN & ISSN numbers respectively.  This is something that SA Barcodes is more than capable of assisting you with. We provide a top notch service where we assist you in the process of applying for ISBN & ISSN numbers for your book or magazine and the process to buy barcodes.  

How To Register For ISBN ISSN Numbers

There are thousands of different barcodes available and each barcode has a specific purpose.  For example, items such as cosmetics, cutlery, and edible goods all fall under the UPC & EAN barcode SA system.  QR codes are used in marketing and payment processing.  ITF-14 Barcodes (also called Box or Case Barcodes) are used to assist with bulk supplying of goods.  If you want to publish a book or a magazine, the barcodes you will need are called an ISBN or ISSN barcodes respectively. 

ISBN is short for International Standard Book Number.  This can be defined as a specific number that is given to each published book in South Africa and overseas.  The National Library of South Africa is responsible for issuing both the ISBN number as well as the ISSN number.  They control what books and magazines are published and regulates the process of selling books and magazines. To publish your book you need to apply for an ISBN number. On application, you will need to provide the National Library of SA with 5 copies of your book.  After you have received your ISBN number, this unique number must be converted into an ISBN Barcode. SA Barcodes can assist you with both the process of registering for an ISBN number as well as converting this number into your very own unique ISBN Barcode. 

When registering for an ISBN number it is crucial to remember you will need to apply for individual ISBN numbers for every variation, language or edition.   If you want to publish both a printed version as well as electronically, you will need two ISBN numbers. After you have published your book, should you decide to revise it and publish a new version, you will require a new barcode.   This enables Libraries to be able to choose which version, edition and format they would like to purchase. 

The truth is that you won’t need barcodes for every book you publish.  There are some that do not require barcodes. For example, if you are publishing a book on a private level or only for church or family members, then it will not be necessary to register for an ISBN number.   On the other hand, if you want to sell your book publically or if you would like to circulate your book through the National Library of SA, then an ISBN number and barcode is essential. Exclusive Books are not going to sell your book without an ISBN barcode. 

On the other hand, should you wish to publish a magazine, you will need to apply for an ISSN Number.  This stands for International Standard Serial Number. A definition of an ISSN number is a unique, specialised number that is provided for every edition of a magazine.  Once you apply to the National Library of South Africa, they will supply a unique ISSN number for your magazine. In the same way as with the ISBN number, the ISSN number will need to be transferred into an ISSN Barcode. 

If you want to publish your magazine on a public level then an ISSN barcode is essential.  However, if you are publishing your magazine privately or online, an ISSN barcode is not necessary. 

It is crucial to remember that you will need a separate, individual ISSN number for print versions verses electronic versions of your magazine. Newspapers, journals, magazines all fall under the category of serial publications. 

The last step in the process to buy barcodes for your books and magazines is that the barcode needs to be attached to the book or magazine.  Only after this has been completed, will your book be ready for publication and distribution. You will now be able to sell your book or magazine throughout South Africa and abroad. 

We, at SA Barcodes are ready and waiting to help you throughout the application process for ISBN & ISSN numbers by facilitating the whole process with the National Library of SA.  Our top quality design department will design your unique barcode for your book or magazine. In this way, we will help you publish your book or magazine with the least amount of expense and effort. 


Ram Kumar blogs at DeviceBowl. He is a graduate in Computer Science and Engineering. Addicted to Blogging and Coding.

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