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ISBNs

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique identifier for a book, issued by an ISBN registration agency.

If you've provided the ISBN for a book, you can see it in the Book Catalog or on the Metadata tab for the book. Books indicated to be in a print format (paperback or hardcover) will display a "P" after the ISBN in the Book Catalog, while books in digital format will display an "E" -- these letters are not part of the identifier.

Requirements

An ISBN isn't required to submit a book to Google Books or to sell a book on Google Play. Google will assign a unique identifier (with the prefix GGKEY) to any book that doesn't already have one. GGKEYs are only used internally within Google.

10-digit and 13-digit ISBNs

Google accepts both 10-digit and 13-digit ISBNs. If you enter a 10-digit ISBN, the Partner Center will display the 13-digit ISBN for consistency.

Partners using ONIX

Google only accepts eBook prices provided via ONIX when corresponding ISBNs are for a digital format.

Multiple ISBNs for a book

Different editions of a book may have different ISBNs. Although you can add each ISBN as a separate entry in your Book Catalog, we suggest you minimize the number of entries by indicating multiple ISBNs using one of the following methods.

1. A single entry with a primary ISBN and related ISBNs

Generally, we recommend that you only add the book to your Book Catalog once, choosing a primary ISBN and adding any related ISBNs on the Metadata tab. For example, if you have a book with different ISBNs for paperback and hardcover editions, you could use the paperback ISBN as the primary ISBN, then use the hardcover ISBN as a related ISBN.

Our system uses the primary ISBN in the following ways:

  • The primary ISBN will be displayed in your reports. (If you sell books on Google Play, sales reports will display the primary ISBN as well as one related ISBN.)
  • Google Books preview pages include links for purchasing your book. These links will lead to pages specific to your primary ISBN.
A single primary ISBN works best for any of the following scenarios:
  • a book you don't plan to sell on Google Play
  • a print-only book with different ISBNs for paperback and hardcover editions
  • an eBook (no print edition) with different ISBNs for different electronic formats, such as EPUB and PDF

2. Two entries for the print and electronic editions

If you wish to sell a book on Google Play and it has different ISBNs for print and ebook editions, you may prefer to add two entries to your Book Catalog, one using the print edition ISBN ("pISBN") and one using the electronic edition ISBN ("eISBN"). Although this setup is more complex, it offers the following benefits:

  • Google Play sales reports will display the eISBN.
  • The Google Books preview page for the pISBN entry will include links for purchasing the print edition of your book, as well as a "View eBook" button that will lead to the page for the eISBN entry.

Because of the additional complexity of this setup, we recommend it when all of the following circumstances are true:

  • You wish to sell the book on Google Play.
  • The book has different ISBNs for print and eBook editions.
  • Google Play sales reports should use the eISBN.
  • You want the "Buy this book" links on the Google Books preview page to point to the print edition.

To use this method, please follow these steps (also see the summary below):

  1. If you have multiple pISBNs or multiple eISBNs, select a single primary pISBN and a single primary eISBN. You can enter additional pISBNs or eISBNs as related ISBNs.

  2. Activate the pISBN entry to go live on Google Books only. This prevents confusion about which edition to buy on Google Play (as only the eISBN entry will be available for sale). Because the primary ISBN for this entry is for the print edition, "Buy this book" links on the Google Books preview page will lead to pages specific to the print edition.

  3. On the pISBN entry, list the eISBN as a related ISBN of the type "Electronic version available as." This will generate a "View eBook" button on the Google Books preview page that will lead to the book's page on Google Play.

    Instructions for partners using ONIX (click to expand/collapse)

    Use the relatedproduct module to list the eISBN with RelationCode 27.

    Example:

    <RelatedProduct>
      <RelationCode>27</RelationCode> <!-- label indicates digital (eBook) ISBN (eISBN)-->
      <ProductIdentifier>
        <ProductIDType>15</ProductIDType>
        <IDValue>9780312945077</IDValue> <!-- 13-digit digital (eBook) ISBN (eISBN) -->
      </ProductIdentifier>
    </RelatedProduct>
  4. Enable the eISBN entry for sale on Google Play. Be sure to provide prices and sales settings for this entry.

  5. On the eISBN entry, list the pISBN as a related ISBN of the type "Epublication based on." This allows someone searching for the pISBN on the Google Play store to find the book.

    Instructions for partners using ONIX (click to expand/collapse)

    Use the relatedproduct module to list the pISBN with RelationCode 13.

    Example:

    <RelatedProduct>
      <RelationCode>13</RelationCode> <!-- label indicates print ISBN -->
      <ProductIdentifier>
        <ProductIDType>15</ProductIDType>
        <IDValue>9780312945077</IDValue> <!-- 13-digit print ISBN -->
      </ProductIdentifier>
    </RelatedProduct>
  6. If you have both a PDF file and an EPUB file for the book, submit the PDF file under the pISBN entry and the EPUB file under the eISBN entry. If the two entries are linked with reciprocal related ISBNs, both formats will be available to people who buy the book on Google Play. Google Play will also display the original printed page number to the user even in flowing text mode.

Summary of recommendations for submitting two entries for the print and electronic editions

pISBN entry eISBN entry
activated to go live on Google Books enabled for sale on Google Play
eISBN listed as a related ISBN of type "Electronic version available as" pISBN listed as a related ISBN of type "Epublication based on"
book content provided in PDF format book content provided in EPUB format
file named pISBN.pdf* file named eISBN.epub and cover file named eISBN.jpg*

* replace pISBN and eISBN with the actual ISBN

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