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International Standard Book Number

Canadian ISBN Service System

The International Standard Book Number or ISBN is a unique 13-digit number used to identify published material. Publishers, booksellers, libraries and others in the book industry use the ISBN to order, process and market publications.

The ISBN usually appears on the cover and copyright page of a publication. It is also found in publisher's catalogues and ads, book-trade listings, book reviews, national and international bibliographies and library catalogues.

English-language publishers in Canada obtain ISBN numbers by registering with the Canadian ISBN Service System or CISS on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website:

French-language publishers in Canada obtain ISBN numbers from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec; see services_aux_editeurs/attribution_isbn/attribution_isbn.jsp?bnq_resolution=mode_800.

As part of its commitment to serving the Canadian book trade, LAC produces the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory using data that are compiled from the CISS:

To learn more about the ISBN and CISS, visit

For more information, contact the Canadian ISBN Agency at or call 819-994-6872 or 1-866-578-7777 (toll free in Canada and the United States).