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There are two types of ISBN formats, ISBN-13 and ISBN-13. The ISBN-10 format is outdated. After 2007, ISBN-13 is used. ISBN-13 and ISBN-10 are convertible as long as the ISBN prefix is 978. 979 is a new ISBN prefix introduced in 2020. The new ISBN prefix is not convertible to ISBN-10. Below are ISBN example for both prefix.

Example of ISBN with 978 Prefix

  • ISBN-13: 978-0-439-02348-1
  • ISBN-10: 0-439-02348-3

The above ISBN belongs to The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins ( The same ISBN is presented in two formats.

A unique ISBN example with Prefix 978

Learn here: How to Convert ISBN-13 to ISBN-10 and vice versa.

Example of ISBN without dash (-)

  • ISBN-13: 9780439023481
  • ISBN-10: 0439023483

Example of ISBN with 979 Prefix

  • ISBN-13: 979-8-886-45174-0
  • ISBN-10: Not convertible

979-8-886-45174-0 (9798886451740) ISBN is from the book How to Make a Few Billion Dollars By Brad Jacobs (

A unique ISBN example with Prefix 979

Understanding ISBN code

To see the ISBN in action, let’s consider a hypothetical ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1.

  • 978: Indicates the EAN prefix, signifying a product that’s a book or book-related.
  • 0: The registration group element, which in this case stands for German-speaking areas (‘3’ often represents Germany, Austria, and Switzerland).
  • 439: This is the registrant element, identifying a particular publisher within those German-speaking regions.
  • 02348: The publication element, which points to a specific title, edition, and format published by this publisher.
  • 1: The check digit. This is calculated using a modulo 10 system with weights, ensuring the validity of the entire ISBN.

Role of Dashes in an ISBN

There are four dashes in an ISBN code. Two of the dashes are fixed, and the other two are not. Here is what fixed:

  • 978-043902348-1

A dash after the prefix 978 or 979 is fixed. And, a dash before the last digit, which is a check digit. Check digit can be a number from 0 to 9, check digit exist to validate the whole ISBN number.

If you have an ISBN without dashes, then putting dashes at the random place will ruin the purpose of having dashes. You can learn here: How to put dashes into ISBN code correctly.



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