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ISSN & Barcode Serials

Get Your ISSN and barcode here

What is an ISSN and do I need one?

ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number and is a unique numeric identifier for serial publications. Serial publications are issued in succession but share the same title from one issue to the next. Examples of serials include journals, magazines, electronic journals, ongoing directories, newspapers, and monographic series.

An ISSN consist of 8 digits (7 primary digits plus a check digit), as well as a sequence variant (used to indicate price changes) and a 2-digit add-on which is used to identify the issue number.

If your serial publication is intended for general circulation you will be required to obtain an ISSN. Once the publication is ready in printed or electronic form, you are then required to submit one copy of the publication to the international body that issues ISSN numbers, as well as one copy to each of the five Legal Depositories (national libraries).

ISSN are not applicable to one-off publications, magazine specials, newspaper specials, finite publications, serials not intended for general circulation, calendars, diaries or posters.

Are you in the wrong section of the site and looking for an ISBN for your book? Click here.

Where can I obtain an ISSN?

You can order your ISSN through us. We will complete and submit the necessary information on your behalf, and do whatever follow up is necessary with the international organisation that issues the ISSN.

To order an ISSN, simply complete and submit the downloadable application form below and your ISSN number will be emailed to you.

Please note:

  • The ISSN application service is for South African publishers and self-publishing authors only.
  • We do NOT supply EAN numbers (EAN numbers are used on products that are NOT books or serials, e.g. music CDs, games, etc.) but we DO generate 13-digit barcodes for EAN numbers

How soon should I apply for an ISSN?

Apply at least a month before the ISSN is needed. Ideally the request should be made as soon as the title and launch date of a new title have been decided upon. In certain cases, the international ISSN Centre may need additional information or may need to consult other ISSN national centres before the number is issued. This may take some time.

How much does it cost?

We charge R850 incl. VAT for making application on your behalf. This is a once-off cost provided the title of the serial publication remains the same. We accept EFT and direct deposit payments. Details are included on the application form.

Download ISSN/Barcode Application (Word doc)


What is an ISSN barcode and do I need one?

A barcode is an optical representation of data in the form of lines that can be read by a scanner and which shows certain data on certain products. Almost every product that is retailed these days has a barcode on it, including books and serial publications. Scanning of barcodes at point of sale allows for quick retrieval of the product's important information such as name, product code, price and isssue, and helps the distribution chain with effective management of that product.

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

If you intend bypassing the distribution chain by selling or distributing your publication privately, or if you sell it through online stores that do not hold physical stock of your publication, then a barcode is not necessary.

Are you in the wrong section of the site and looking for a barcode for your book? Click here.

Ordering a barcode

Once you have an ISSN, you can order your barcode here. If you don't already have an ISSN, you can order both items together.

Your barcode will be emailed to you within 1 to 2 working days from the date of application and proof of payment, except when ordering the ISSN and barcode together, in which case you should allow at least a full month.

We can supply a barcode to anyone with an ISSN number, regardless of country of operation or origin.

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

How much does it cost?

Barcode costs are calculated on a sliding scale, details of which are included on the application form along with our banking details. We accept EFT and direct deposit payments.

Download ISSN/Barcode Application (Word doc)






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