This section lists questions frequently asked about ISBN and ISMN identifiers. For instructions on how to use the service, please refer to the section entitled Instructions.


 My book/dissertation will be published as a PDF in addition to a printed book. How many ISBN identifiers will I need?

You will need two identifiers. If the publication appears simultaneously in print and online, both identifiers must appear in both versions. All different file formats of the publication are assigned separate ISBN identifiers, and a note of the format will be added to each ISBN.

For example:

ISBN xxx-xxx-xx-xxxx-x (paperback)
ISBN xxx-xxx-xx-xxxx-x (PDF)

 When a publication is assigned an ISBN identifier, is it then considered a book?
No. An ISBN is only assigned to book-like permanent publications to facilitate processing them in distribution channels and to distinguish them from, e.g., other file formats with identical content. Periodicals and series are assigned an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) and publications of notated music an ISMN (International Standard Music Number).
 Are the different elements of the ISBN identifier separated by hyphens?
Yes. The five segments of the ISBN (prefix, country code, publisher code, publication code, check digit) are separated by hyphens or spaces.
 Can I reuse an ISBN assigned to a book once it is out of print?
An ISBN assigned to a publication can never be reused, unless the publication is an unaltered facsimile of the original.
 I would like an ISBN for my publication, but I do not want to make my contact details public.
The publisher’s contact details are always public. The International ISBN Agency requires that national agencies periodically submit information on their country’s publishers to be published in the Global Register of Publishers Database.
 I have lost the list of ISBN identifiers. What can I do?
Please contact the Finnish ISBN Agency to receive a copy of your list. When using the new list, make sure to note which identifiers in the previous list were used, as the same ISBN cannot be assigned to two different publications. The publisher is responsible for the ISBN list provided to them as well as to the correct distribution of identifiers to the publications.
 If the publisher moves abroad permanently, can they continue to use the same ISBN identifiers?
No. The publisher codes are country specific, and the publisher must have a permanent address in the country in which the publications are being produced.
 Can a book have several publishers?
Yes. If a publication has two publishers, the publisher code for both can be indicated in the publication, one under the other. The publisher’s name must be indicated in parenthesis after each ISBN. However, the recommendation is that each book only have one primary publisher and that only this publisher’s ISBN be recorded in the publication. One identifier is sufficient to identify the publication.
 If the publisher changes its name, can it continue to use the same publisher code?
Yes. Please inform the Finnish ISBN Agency of the new name so that we can update the contact details in our publisher registry: Change contact information.












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