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Publisher is responsible for the producing and/or printing costs and the content of the publication. ISBN is assigned according to the publisher. The name of the publisher should be printed in the publication.

It is the duty of the publisher to obtain an ISBN or ISMN for its publications. The publisher is responsible for the identifiers of the publications it produces. The same identifier cannot be assigned to another publication, even if the earlier publication has sold out.

In the ISBN and ISMN system, any person or organisation publishing books or notated music publications intended for public use is considered a publisher. This means that publishers include:

  • Publishing houses 
  • Associations
  • Societies
  • Municipalities
  • Government agencies
  • Research institutes
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Private individuals


A publisher code does not provide a company with the protection of a name, and an identifier assigned to a publication does not validate its copyright.

The length of a publisher code varies according to the scope of the publisher’s production.

The publisher code must always correspond to the publisher’s name, as indicated in the publication. If more than one publisher is involved, each publisher’s code may be indicated in the publication. It is recommended, however, that the publisher with the primary responsibility obtain the code. The publication must also have only one EAN code.

If the publisher has ISBN or ISMN code lists, the publisher is responsible for the distribution of the identifiers according to the Agency’s instructions.

It is important that the same identifier not be assigned to two separate publications. Once the identifier has been assigned to a publication, it can no longer be changed or reused.

Publisher Register


If your contact details change, please complete the Change contact information form to change your contact details immediately so that the publisher registers of the Finnish ISBN Agency and the International ISBN Agency are up to date.

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