Why are your ISBNs starting with 979 instead of 978?

When you buy an ISBN through us, we provide one starting with 979. Until 2019, Bowker (the official ISBN agency) mainly issued ISBNs starting with 978, but this changed in 2020.

The reason for this change is that there's simply no more ISBNs starting with 978 available. As more and more books are published and the demand for ISBNs increases, the pool of available numbers has been depleted. The International ISBN Agency, which oversees the allocation of ISBNs, recognized this issue and introduced the 979 prefix to expand the range of available numbers.

But what does this change mean for you as an author or publisher? Well, the good news is that it doesn't really mean anything. The switch to the 979 prefix is simply a matter of available resources and doesn't affect the functionality or usage of the ISBN. It's just a different number at the start, but it serves the same purpose.

It's important to note that with the introduction of the 979 prefix, the conversion between ISBN-13 and ISBN-10 is no longer possible. ISBN-10 was the old format with 10 digits, while ISBN-13 is the current format with 13 digits. The addition of the 979 prefix means that ISBNs issued after this change cannot be converted to the older ISBN-10 format, and vice versa. However, this change shouldn't be a concern for most authors and publishers, as the ISBN-13 format is widely accepted and used globally.Discover the reason behind ISBNdirect's shift from 978 to 979 prefixes for ISBNs and its implications for authors and publishers.

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