ISBN Lookup: The Secret Weapon For Researching Books Online

ISBN Lookup: The Secret Weapon For Researching Books Online

Oftentimes, we become faced with school tasks and assignments that only textbooks can help with. These tasks could be term projects, essays, research works, or even a literature review. However, one thing remains the same – the need for books.

Now, it’s quite easy to go to the library and pick up the necessary textbook from the shelf. Or better yet, you could easily search online and help yourself out. But, just how are you going to do any of that? The answer? A simple ISBN lookup.

Okay, so now we’re getting somewhere. What’s the ISBN number lookup, and how will it help you in your next book research? We have the answers to all these and more. Just read on as we learn the secret weapon for researching books online.

A Quick Recap Of The ISBN

International Standard Book Number, known as ISBN for short, is the 10- or 13-digit number found on every book. It’s engraved on the back cover, and with it, individuals can identify the various intricacies of any book.

In other words, the ISBN is the numerical identity card every book gets published with. In the same way, you need an ID card for proper identification, all published books need the ISBN for easy and concise identification.

What Information Can You Get From The ISBN?

After the adoption of a new ISBN system, we now have 13-digit numbers published and unique to every book. But these digits aren’t randomly picked. Every single digit has its meaning and purpose, and we’re going to find them out.

ISBN Lookup: The Secret Weapon For Researching Books Online

Firstly, the 13-digit ISBN is divided into 5 parts:

  • The first 3 digits (usually 978 or 979) indicate that the product you’re holding is a book.
  • Next comes the single digit (0 or 1 for books written in English), which indicates the country, region, and language of publication.
  • After this comes a 3-digit code indicating the publisher of the book.
  • Then you have the 5-digit code representing the title, edition, and format of the text you’re holding.
  • And lastly, the check digit, which is simply an indication that the ISBN has been verified.

ISBN System: The Old Vs New

The ISBN wasn’t always a 13-digit number. At the onset, the ISBN was just a 10-digit number used by libraries, bookstores, and publishers to keep track of their book inventories. That was until 2007, when a new system was introduced.

This new system brought about the use of 13 digits instead of 10. That’s why you have the ISBN beginning with 978 or 979.

ISBN Lookup: The Secret Weapon For Researching Books Online

However, this doesn’t mean that the old ISBNs are useless. ISBNs never expire and so you never have to worry about any ISBN getting obsolete. Moreover, every 10-digit ISBN can be converted into a 13-digit ISBN.

But this doesn’t mean that you can change the ISBN format simply by adding three digits in front, oh no. There exists an algorithm that takes care of that. This algorithm also ensures the switching of the last digit of the ISBN periodically.

Why Are ISBNs So Useful?

Background knowledge aside, what exactly makes the ISBN a useful tool? Here are the best examples of how important ISBNs are when it comes to researching books online.

1. ISBNs Are Useful For Searching For Specific Book Editions

This is the most basic, and yet, most important function of the ISBN. Because, with the ISBN, you can search online for any book edition you want. That makes it easier for students, lecturers, and researchers to immediately discover the text they need.

Since every book comes with its ISBN, you only need to enter the number in the search box of a book website, and in no time, you get all the details you need. What’s more, you get different deals and offers from book vendors when you search using the ISBN, making it easier to buy books online.

2. ISBNs Are Useful For Selling Books Online

Perhaps the school session is over and it’s time to part ways with your textbooks, how do you make the most out of it? One option is to sell them off.

But to sell them off, you need to know how valuable they are. That way, you don’t make a loss on your books. To do this, you’ll need to key in the ISBN and look out for other books like yours for their prices. This will give you a good place to start in your book valuation.

Also, if you’re a publisher, you’ll need to purchase ISBNs for your books before selling them.

3. ISBNs Are Used As Tools For Organising Books

ISBN Lookup: The Secret Weapon For Researching Books Online

For bookshops and libraries with tons of books in their inventory, organization is key. That’s why every one of these stores has a database where they keep track of these books. But what’s the key element to organizing these books? You guessed it, it’s the ISBN.

The same way your school can keep track of its students with their identity card information, books can be tracked and monitored using their ISBNs. In the end, it’s easier to search for books readers are looking for.

How To Search For Books Online Using The ISBN

When you head over to, you can quickly identify or research a book using its ISBN. Just enter the 10- or 13-digit ISBN, and after clicking Enter, you should have all the results relevant to your search.

It’s that simple, and with the ISBN, you can find the best offers on books, discover the different editions and formats, or even sell your books online.


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