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ISBN & Barcode for Books

What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is a unique 13-digit numeric identifier for books, much like an ID number. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation of a book. This means that a printed copy of your book will have a different ISBN to an ebook version of your book. And a revised edition of your book will have a different ISBN to the original edition of your book. This helps consumers, retailers, distributors and libraries to identify the correct edition and format of the book when ordering it.


Must all books have an ISBN?

No. Only books that are being sold to the general public through bookstores, retailers, libraries and distribution warehouses require one. Books published for private distribution or personal interest (e.g. family, business clients, club, or church members, etc.) Do not need an ISBN.

NOTE: If you apply for an ISBN you will be required, by law, to submit one copy of your book free of charge to each of the five Legal Depositories (national libraries) once it has been printed or made available in ebook format.


Do magazines and newspapers use an ISBN too?

No. Any publication that is serial in nature (has different issues) will have an ISSN. An ISSN, the issuing of which is controlled by an international ISSN body, is different to an ISBN. 


Where can I obtain an ISBN for my book?

As a Quickfox Publishing client, you will automatically receive an ISBN for each book format. We make application on your behalf, generate the relevant barcodes, and submit copies of your book to the legal depositories. We also provide free ISBN advice.

If you are an author looking to publish yourself, you can contact the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) to obtain your ISBN. Once you have your ISBN, we will gladly generate a barcode for you.


What is a barcode and do I need one?

Barcodes are used at point-of-sale for quick retrieval of the product's important information such as name, product code and price. It also helps the distribution chain effectively manage the products in their care.

If you intend selling your book through the usual channels of distribution such as bookstores, online stores, libraries and distribution warehouses, your book will need a barcode. A barcode can only be generated once you have an ISBN number.

If you intend selling your book privately, or if you sell it through online stores that do not hold physical stock of your book, or you are publishing an ebook, then a barcode is not necessary.


Ordering a barcode

Once you have an ISBN number, you can order your barcode here. Your barcode will be emailed to you within 24–48 hours from date of application and proof of payment.

We can supply a barcode to anyone with an ISBN number, regardless of which country the book is being published in.

Note: We also supply barcodes for 13-digit EAN. An EAN is used on products that are NOT books (e.g. music CDs, games, etc.)


How much does a barcode cost?

The cost for a single barcode (ISBN or EAN) is R250. Discounted pricing is offered on bulk barcode orders.



FOR THE STATUS ON YOUR BARCODE ORDER, CALL 0861 234 256 / 021 531 1913 OR This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




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