An ISBN in a publication record


International Standard Numbers are a publication's fingerprint, a world-wide identifier that helps publishers, suppliers, and libraries locate, order, and track published material.

The National Library of New Zealand is responsible for allocating International Standard Numbers for publications – books, serials and music – to publishers who are publishing in New Zealand.

A number is issued for each format of a publication, such as paperback, hardback, cd-rom, or online pdf.

Please allow 3 working days for us to supply your number.

ISBNs - International Standard Books Numbers

An ISBN is 13 digit unique identifier number assigned to books and other print, electronic, or multimedia publications.

It is used for printed books and pamphlets containing more than four pages of text, maps, e-books, pdfs, Braille publications and audio books.

Journals, serials, and newspapers use International Standard Serial numbers instead – see below.

Ineligible products include advertising matter, websites, emails, games, art prints and posters, personal documents, stationery and customisable print on demand products.

Please email or phone 04 474 3074 if you are unsure whether your product qualifies for an ISBN.

Publishers issuing large numbers of publications can be given a block of numbers, which they use as required.

Apply for an ISBN online

ISSNs - International Standard Serial Numbers

An ISSN is an 8 digit unique identifier number assigned to the title of a periodic publication issued in successive parts, identified by a number and/or a date, linked by a common title, and intended to continue indefinitely.

It is used for magazines, newspapers, journals, annual publications (for example yearbooks and directories), and monographs-in-series (publications that have an individual title and a common title that links them together in a series).

Serials can be published in physical or electronic formats.

Serials do not include loose-leaf publications intended to be updated, such as manuals where the instructions are frequently updated.

Apply for an ISSN online

ISMNs - International Standard Music Numbers

A unique identifier number applied to printed music, such as a score or a part.

Apply for an ISMN online