The detailed information below is designed to enable you to understand what ISBN and CiP data is, and how it can benefit you. If you wish to go ahead and organise your own ISBN and CiP entry, all the information you will require is detailed below. If you want us to obtain these for you, we are only too happy to do so.
The material on this page is drawn from the Thorpe-Bowker web site with the permission of Thorpe-Bowker. See the bottom of this section for more information on Thorpe-Bowker.
All books will potentially benefit from having an ISBN number. The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally. Each number identifies a unique edition of a publication, from one specific publisher, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.
What is the ISBN?
The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally. Each number identifies a unique edition of a publication, from one specific publisher, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.
ISBNs are assigned by ISBN group agencies in 166 countries, coordinated by the International ISBN Agency in London. The Australian ISBN Agency (managed by Thorpe-Bowker) assigns ISBNs in Australia exclusively.
Advantages of the ISBN
- The ISBN is a unique international identifier for monographic publications; assigning a number replaces the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records. Time and staff are saved, and copying mistakes are avoided.
- The ISBN allows compilation and updating of book-trade directories and bibliographic databases, such as catalogues of books-in-print. Information on available books can be found easily.
- Ordering and distribution of books is mainly executed by ISBN; this is a fast and efficient method.
- The ISBN is machine-readable in the form of a 13-digit EAN.UCC bar code. This is fast and avoids mistakes.
- The ISBN is needed for the running of electronic point-of-sale systems in bookshops.
- Rights management is mainly done on the basis of the ISBN.
- The accumulation of sales data is done by the ISBN. This enables the varying successes of different product forms and editions of publications to be monitored, as well as enabling comparisons between different subject areas and even different publishing houses.
- The national lending right in some countries is based on the ISBN. Such schemes enable authors and illustrators to receive payments proportionate to the number of times that their books are lent out by public libraries.
Downloadable guides and forms
Thorpe-Bowker has produced a Practical Guide to Self Publishing. Read about it and download the latest version at http://www.thorpe.com.au/isbn/isbn_self.htm
Click here to download the Complete Manual for ISBN Users from
To obtain an ISBN number, you need to fill out the appropriate form online.
Thorpe-Bowker have completely changed the process for obtaining an ISBN. Click here to go to the starting point in the process for applying for an ISBN.
Filling in the application form
Publisher: The person or organisation that is responsible for producing the publication — it is normally NOT the printer.
Address: Please supply a postal address, and a street address if separate.
Contact name: This is the person who will be responsible for receiving notification of the ISBN/s. If you are applying for a block, it is the person who will be responsible for the allocation of ISBNs to publications and for notifying the ISBN Agency of these allocations.
Title details: To be completed by those publishers who require a single ISBN. As some details may change between issuing the ISBN and publication, amendments can be made at any time after the ISBN is issued.
Subtitle (if any): a secondary title that appears after the title and usually is of an explanatory nature. In the following example, the subtitle is after the colon.
Olympic Fever: A Study of the Australian Mood in the Year 2000.
Contributors: We can only list up to two of each type (e.g., authors, illustrators); if there are more than two of each type (e.g., 3 authors), one will be listed along with the term ‘Others’. Editors should only be listed if they are mentioned on the imprint page; for example, in an anthology.
Multi-volume works/editions: see Frequently Asked Questions
Number of pages: The number of actually numbered pages; eg, a book has 83 bound pages, with an introduction paginated in roman numerals, and only 60 numbered pages from 1 to 60. The number of pages in this case is 60.
Illustrations: does not include the cover.
Price: recommended retail price, including GST
Envisaged date of publication: an estimated time (month & year) for when the publication will be made available.
Thorpe-Bowker, a division of R R Bowker LLC, is Australia ’s leading bibliographic information provider for book professionals. Founded in Australia as D W Thorpe in 1921 and becoming part of the international Bowker business in 2001. Thorpe-Bowker collects, aggregates and publishes information about the Australian and international book industries in a range of formats, including online and in print.
Thorpe-Bowker’s core product range includes the Global Books In Print bibliographic database, Australian Books In Print, Bookseller+Publisher magazine and its supplements, the Weekly Book Newsletter, Syndetic Solutions and the recently acquired Australian Library News.
Thorpe-Bowker has been successfully operating the ISBN Agency in Australia since 1997.
Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) data
In addtion to obtaining an ISBN Number, self publishers should consider taking up the free service offered to publishers by the National Library of Australia to provide a bibliographic record for a book before it is published.
Material on this page is provided as a service to self publishers, and is drawn from the National Library of Australia web site.
Self publishers should consider taking up the free service offered to publishers by the National Library of Australia to provide a bibliographic record for a book before it is published. When the book is published the CiP data is printed on the reverse side of the title page. The CiP data is also included in the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) available on Libraries Australia, Australia’s Library Network.
The purpose of Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) is to provide cataloguing information to publishers and to libraries in advance of publication. CiP records are included in the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) available on Libraries Australia, Australia’s Library Network. The CIP data printed in the book is an abbreviated form of the on-line record.
Why have a CiP?
CiP entries are included in the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) available on Libraries Australia, Australia’s Library Network, thereby providing advance notice of new publications to libraries and the general public.
CiP information is routinely used by libraries and the publishing sector for selection and to place advance orders for new publications.
CiP data is printed in the book and may be used by libraries for cataloguing new acquisitions. Publishers can use CiP data in their internal files, trade catalogues and promotional material.
Downloads to help you understand and apply for CiP
The National Library of Australia web site at http://www.nla.gov.au/services/scopecip.html contains useful information on the scope — what publications are eligible and what publications are not eligible — for inclusion in the CiP database.
Learn about applying for a CiP at http://www.nla.gov.au/services/CIP2.html
You can apply online at http://www.nla.gov.au/services/cip_form.html