National ISBN Agency

Introduction of International Standard Book Numbering System (ISBN) in Bhutan

The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH is designated by the Royal Government of Bhutan as the ISBN Agency for Bhutan. ISBN Agency is responsible for promoting International Standard Book Numbering. Allocating of ISBNs to Bhutan’s Publishers is a free service undertaken by the Centre to promote bibliographic standardization of Bhutan’s Publishing output.

Allocation of Publisher Prefixes to each Publisher – Commercial, Governmental and Non-Governmental, and Private, validation of ISBNs, Maintenance of Master Files and Registers, and Provision of individual ISBNs upon request are the main functions of the ISBN Agency.

There are instances when large Publishing houses have introduced a book numbering system for their convenience of keeping a record of their own publishing.

A standard book numbering system with computer facility introduced into the book trade was expected to simplify procedures as well as promote accurate bibliographic citation, Specific information in book trade and library activities.

In the late 1960s, computers were beginning to be used in the book trade for order processing and inventory control. At this stage, a common agreement was sought to ensure that all sectors of the industry (Publishers, Booksellers, Distributors and Librarians) could benefit from a standardized numbering system. The system which fulfilled this requirement was developed out of the book numbering system introduced in the United Kingdom in 1967.

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is based on International Standard ISO 2108, 1972. Its purpose is to coordinate and standardize internationally the use of book number identifies one title, or edition of a title, from one specific publisher, and is unique to that title or edition.