Why Do All Publishers Need an ISBN? Nielsen launches a New ISBN Website.

Posted by Justine Solomons on 11 August 2016, in News

What’s in a number – everything, if you want to publish and sell books in the competitive global market of today!


What is an ISBN?

The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is the single most important item you will need to publish your book and ensure that it is available to book buyers worldwide, be that trade or consumer, high street or online – it is the only way to ensure coverage of your title in all types of book retailers, libraries and other book related outlets.

Why is it important?

  • Discovery
  • Persuasion
  • Transaction
  • Fulfilment
  • Measurement


It is a unique number that identifies your book amongst the millions of titles that exist in the world, many thousands with the same or similar title.

The ISBN is used by publishers, booksellers and libraries for ordering, listing and stock control purposes. It enables them to identify a particular publisher and allows the publisher to identify a specific edition of a specific title in a specific format within their output. Systems used by publishers, distributors, booksellers, wholesalers, libraries and library suppliers worldwide all rely on the ISBN to identify books ensuring they select, buy and stock the correct title and edition.

The ISBN is the only way to ensure your book is listed on databases by data aggregators such as Nielsen. Our data is then disseminated widely to thousands of trade book buyers worldwide, ensuring your book is discoverable and enables millions of book consumers worldwide to have the chance to purchase your book.


What can it do for you?

Key benefits:

  • Your title is identified by its unique ISBN.
  • It is listed on bibliographic databases.
  • Your book metadata is disseminated to booksellers and libraries worldwide
  • Booksellers, libraries, consumers and book lovers everywhere can search and discover your book online or in their high street.
  • Adding enriched metadata to your book record – book descriptions, reviews, author biographies, promotional information, jacket or cover images improves the discoverability of your book.
  • You can further improve discoverability of your books by using the Book2Look widget which is a digital marketing tool that enables you to share content of your book via social media and the web.
  • If you provide good timely metadata for your books, sales off-line can increase by up to 55% and by up to 178% online.

What’s in a number – all you need is an ISBN to start the process of publishing and selling your book worldwide.

You can buy your ISBNs direct from Nielsen here.


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