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  • Mica Bale

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    Have you ever heard your fellow writers, publishers or editors use so much jargon that you feel like creeping back into your library and curling up with your favourite book, wishing you’d never asked? Among one of the most common terms used in the publishing world is the phrase ISBN. Although some may be familiar with the term, many wondered what exactly is an ISBN?

    Well, VIP members, allow Mighty Pens to explain. Put down your pen and take a look at your hands, although practically invisible to the human eye, every single person has got ten of these. What are they? Fingerprints of course! Unique coding that identifies you as you, based entirely on prints that develop even before you are born!

    Think of an ISBN as your book’s own unique fingerprint, it identifies your story and separates it from every other book title from all the billions of books in all the millions of libraries across the world. Without an ISBN your book would essentially not exist in a professional and published capacity and sadly wouldn’t be stocked in any good bookstores near you!

    Despite their importance, it was only in the 20th century that books began to have ISBN. As with so many things, the Sixties were responsible for many explosions in the entertainment and leisure industries and with that boom came the need for identifying each book with its own unique coding so in 1965, Gordon Foster who was part of the Bletchley Park decoding team, devised the ISBN.

    Did you know that included in the ISBN coding includes details about your book such as the year it was published, the type of book it is, whether hardback or paperback for instance, the publisher identification, where the book was published and even the price code?!

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