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What is an ISBN

On your travels around the WeBuyBooks website, there's no doubt that you will have come across the term "ISBN" numerous times, and you might be wondering what exactly it means…


ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is a numbering system used to identify books. Pretty much all books that are available publicly have an ISBN, and each number is unique. Before 2007 they were 10 digits in length, but from January 2007, they have been 13 digits long.

Where can I find my book's ISBN?

A book's ISBN can be found in a number of locations, here are the most common:

  • On the back cover, in the lower right-hand corner
  • Inside flaps of the dust jacket, usually on the lower edge of the rear flap
  • On the reverse of the title page, where the copyright information is
  • On the very back page of the book
  • Amongst the small print on the lower edge of the copyright page, this is the case for many books published by Hodder and Stoughton
  • With some older paperbacks, it is on the top of the spine edge, or printed vertically along the upper spine of the cover
  • And on some older annuals, it is printed along the lower edge of the very first page in the book, or amongst the copyright small print on the lower edge of the title page


The formula behind ISBNs is intricate, but you don’t have to worry about that… as long as you can find the ISBN of the book you would like to sell, you can enter it into our online selling basket or scan it using our app… and then receive an instant valuation for your book.

What about books without ISBNs?

However, don’t worry if you can’t find an ISBN - it doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t buy your book. Editions from before 1967 do not have ISBNs at all - so if you have a book of this age that you would like to exchange for cash, email the title, author, publisher and publishing date to, and our Antiquarian team will provide you with a price where possible. And if you have a newer book but still can’t seem to locate the number, just email us the same details and will we get back to you as soon as we can!

I can't find an answer to my question above?

Visit our contact us page and use our web form to submit your enquiry, one of our experts will be in contact to help you with your questions.

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