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Difference Between ISBN 10 and 13

ISBN 10 vs 13

As civilization, science, and the world as a whole progressed, many new things are developed, invented, or discovered. Some are very closely related to each other that codes are needed to identify one from the other.

These codes are called identifiers which distinguish one item, topic, or substance from another and make it unique. Identifiers are used in chemistry, government agencies, business, taxation, computer science, and also in book publishing.

In 1966, Gordon Foster created a book identifier which is based on the Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code that is called the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). Books have different ISBNs for paperback and hardcover editions.

The ISBN has five parts, namely; the prefix 978 or 979 denoting the industry of book publishing, the group identifier for the language and country, the publisher code, the item number for the book title, and the check digit.

There are two systems of ISBN, the ISBN 10 and the ISBN 13. The first is the ISBN 10 which was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1970. ISBN 10 has ten digits with the last digit being the check digit.

The ISBN 10 check digit must be from 0 to 10 and has to be the sum of the first 9 digits multiplied by a number in a 10 to 2 sequence. It uses modulus 11 requiring the remainder of the sum when added to the last digit to be equal to 11.
ISBN 13, on the other hand, has 13 digits and was developed to make room for additional books that are being published. It was used starting January, 2007, and the ISBN 10 can be converted to the ISBN 13 using online converters.

The change from ISBN 10 to ISBN 13 was made to generate additional numbering codes for more books and increase the ISBN numbering capacity because it was experiencing a shortage. It was also used to comply with the global EAN.UCC identification system for consumer goods.

Like ISBN 10, the last digit of the ISBN 13 is the check digit. It is calculated beginning with the first 12 digits which are alternately multiplied by 1 or 3 starting from the left. Modulus 10 is used to get a 0 to 9 value which when subtracted from 10 will produce a sum of 0 to 10.
Today, publishers are required to print both ISBN 10 and ISBN 13 on the copyright page of books.


1.International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 10 is the first version of the system while International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 13 is the latest version.
2.ISBN 10 was developed by the ISO in 1970 while ISBN 13 was used starting January, 2007.
3.ISBN 10 has 10 digits while ISBN 13 has 13 digits.
4.ISBN 13 was developed to make room for additional books since ISBN 10 was not enough.
5.While both their last digits are the check digits, they are computed differently. ISBN 10 uses modulus 11 while ISBN 13 uses modulus 10.

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