The ISBN isn’t just used to identify textbooks; it’s also used to sell them. Many websites now allow you to check up ISBNs and get pricing quotes without buying them. This is referred to as an ISBN lookup or an ISBN search.

The book details (author, title, ISBN, etc.) will be posted on website owners’ ISBN search sites. Then, if other individuals are interested in buying the book, they can use the ISBN to locate it.

This guide will show you everything you need to know about ISBN lookup. 


A Brief History Of The ISBN Code

In 1966, a retired Irish statistics professor created the Standard Book Number, a 9-digit code for the British bookstore W.H. Smith and others. They used it to keep track of internal inventory. 

It also became a helpful stock number and a number that publishers, warehouses, booksellers, and other book business components could use to communicate as computers took on more and more back-office work.

The International Organization for Standardization accepted it as the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) in 1970 (with a 10-digit number included in the front).

In 2007, the number was increased to 13 digits for various reasons. International Standard Music Numbers (ISMN), International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSN), International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC), and other codes are also available.


What Is An ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. And it’s precisely what it sounds like: a one-of-a-kind identifier for your textbooks. Most retailers require it as a global standard. ISBNs were 10 digits until December 2006; currently, they have 13 digits.

Typically, an ISBN reads like this: 968-1-954092-04-5.

  • The “968” shows that it’s an ISBN. 
  • The “1” specifies the language or country.
  • The third element, “954092, indicate the publisher”.
  • The fourth element, “04,” indicates the format or title. 
  • A check digit is the fifth element, “5”. A check digit is a number that verifies the accuracy of the other digits.

The ISBN’s owner is listed as the publisher of record when someone looks up a book. However, keep in mind that the ISBN isn’t the same as copyright. Just because you have an ISBN doesn’t guarantee you have copyright.

The ISBN is usually found on a book’s back cover and listed in the front matter alongside the copyright, publisher, and other information and being part of the metadata.


What Is A Metadata? 

Metadata, in this situation, refers to the information or data that describes your book. The title, book description, subtitle, categories, and keywords are included. The table of contents, bio, summary, and other stuff may also be included.


How Is ISBN-10 Different From ISBN-13? 

ISBN-10 is not the same as ISBN-13, and the textbook’s pricing has nothing to do with it. However, you can quickly determine which ISBN is for what if you know what each number symbolizes. 

Many people believe that the number 10 is a misprint for the number 13 since they sound similar, but that’s not true.

A three-digit prefix identifies a 13-digit ISBN as an ISBN contrary to some other number type. In 2007, the United States ISBN Agency began using the 978 prefixes. But before that, ISBNs used to be ten digits long.

Every 10-digit ISBN has a 13-digit number. Therefore books having a 10-digit ISBN have a 13-digit ISBN as well.

In response to the decreasing inventory for the 978 prefixes, the US ISBN Agency added the 979 prefixes in 2020. There are no 10-digit equivalents for books with the prefix 979.


How Does The ISBN Lookup Work? 

ISBNs will be searched or looked up online.

If students want to buy textbooks, they can type the ISBN into a search engine, which will bring up ISBN lookup sites. You can also find ISBNs spread about on various bookselling websites.

But let’s say you aren’t specifically trying to buy college books but are interested in learning more. ISBNs, like any other piece of information, are all over the internet. So ISBN lookup tools like and can quickly help you locate ISBNs.

The ISBN lookup is an essential aspect of the bookselling process. It’s easy to use and available to students hoping to sell a textbook, whether through a bookselling site like or a bookstore

It’s also advantageous for those who wish to purchase the book. You don’t have to go to each ISBN lookup site and search for ISBNs separately; instead, they can find ISBNs all in one place. 

ISBN lookup is the simplest way to sell your books in today’s technological age, both to people who want to buy them and those who don’t.


ISBNs Distinguishes Different Editions 

Knowing the ISBN allows you to distinguish between multiple editions of the same book. Every few years, textbook publishers release new editions of college textbooks. If you want a used book, make sure it’s the same edition as the professor assigned. 

If you want to buy something online, you’ll need to know the exact ISBN and use it to search.

In the first place, how do you locate the ISBN? You can’t search if you don’t know what you’re looking for. For one thing, the ISBN will almost always be present in any listing for the book you’re looking for. You can just copy and paste it into any other search engine.

There are also numerous websites where you may track ISBNs and obtain as many as you need. Also, don’t worry about the shift from 10 to 13 digits. Other sites make it simple to switch from one to the other. 

You can search for your title using either number on some websites, such as a library catalog.


How Important Is an ISBN Lookup? 

There are several reasons for looking up an ISBN. ISBN lookups can help you: 

  • Find the exact book you require and compare prices.
  • Find out how much a book is worth, whether you’re a book collector, individual seller, an appraiser, or a book reseller that flips bookshop and garage sale finds. Alternatively, you can use ISBN scanners to find book values quickly. 
  • Find out more about a book by looking up its title, publication date, publisher, edition, imprint, and author.
  • Retail bookshops, libraries, wholesalers, and distributors can order or keep inventory.
  • Find a book’s ISBN by searching for it by edition, title, and other criteria.
  • You can look up homework answers from the textbook through an ISBN lookup.
  • Create accurate book citations like MLA and APA citations for research papers, essays, and other publications.
  • Locate course resources related to a textbook.
  • ISBNs can be converted to and from other identifying forms like ASINs and ISSNs.
  • Search for free PDFs by ISBN.


Different Types Of Books With ISBNS 

Apart from physical books, other types of books have ISBNS: 

  • eBooks 
  • Coloring books
  • Graphic novels
  • Audiobooks
  • Brochures
  • Maps

Periodicals, serialized publications such as newspapers, magazines, comic books, music CDs, sheet music, movie DVDs, and email newsletters are not granted ISBNs. Some CDs and DVDs with educational content are ISBN-eligible, but you can’t use an ISBN to look up a song or movie.


ISBN Lookup: How To Sell Textbooks By ISBN Online 

The first step is to figure out what type of ISBN you’ll need. There are various eBooks, physical books, and audiobooks, so make sure you know which category your book belongs to before continuing.

You can also include other identifying information, such as the publisher’s and author’s names, but it’s entirely up to you. 

Make sure you’re listed on all ISBN search services once you’ve received your ISBN so people can find your book. There are various methods for doing this; the most typical are publishing links with the ISBN to the appropriate web location or creating a barcode with your ISBN and scanning it when selling old textbooks.

You should also publicize the ISBN lookup sites you utilized so that others can quickly locate them and use them for free. This can be accomplished through social media, word-of-mouth, and anywhere else where people might be interested in your book.


Final Thoughts 

As you’ve seen from this guide, ISBN lookup makes it easy for you to compare different textbook prices. Most of the time, it won’t take much of your time, and you’ll be able to find the ISBN code. If you want to sell books via ISBN, you don’t have to worry.

One of the simplest and quickest ways to earn compensation for your textbooks is to search for them by ISBN. We propose if you want to sell your textbooks. We’ll sell your books for you and make sure you receive the best deal possible. 

We provide a seamless selling process and have an extensive network of reputable book-buying organizations.


ISBN Lookup FAQs 

1. How do I sell a book with ISBN? 

Even if you plan to sell outdated or old textbooks, ISBN is usually the most straightforward approach to sell them. All you have to do is use a barcode scanner to scan the barcode on the back of your textbook. However, the ISBN is not always included in the barcode. Instead, look for the Universal Product Code (UPC).

Alternatively, if you want to sell your textbooks, go to, type in your book’s ISBN, and choose your preferred quote. Again, the process is simple and easy. 

2. Can I sell a book without ISBN? 

ISBNs aren’t required to sell textbooks; no major online merchants do. However, printed books can’t be sold without an ISBN. Remember that each edition of your book will require its ISBN, so buying a ten-block is more cost-effective.

3. Is ISBN different from paperback and hardcover? 

Each edition and variant (excluding reprintings) of a publication is given its ISBN. For example, a distinct ISBN will be assigned to an e-book, a paperback, and a hardcover edition of the same book.

4. What is the purpose of an ISBN? 

An ISBN is a product identifier used for ordering, listing, sales records, and stock control by publishers, libraries, booksellers, online merchants, and other supply chain actors. In addition, the ISBN is used to identify the registrant and the title, edition, and format of the book.