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ISBN Hyphenator Tool and How to Hyphenate ISBN-13

ISBN-13 Hyphenator

Written by Rajeev Joshi

Rajeev Joshi is a part-time blogger who writes about book publishing and marketing. In addition to creating online content, he is a health and nutrition expert who assists individuals in losing weight and living an active lifestyle.

Categories: ISBN Tools

Published on: 16 Aug, 2023

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique identifier for books, intended to be used commercially. Introduced in 1967, the ISBN system has undergone several changes, with the most recent being the transition from a 10-digit format (ISBN-10) to a 13-digit format (ISBN-13) in 2007. One of the challenges publishers and authors face is correctly hyphenating these numbers. Hyphenating ISBN-10 is similar, only last digit of number will be different as last digit are check digit which is calculated from first 12 digit of ISBN.

Understanding ISBN-13

Before we dive into hyphenation, it’s essential to understand the structure of ISBN-13. It consists of five parts:

  1. Prefix: The first three digits (978 or 979) are followed by a hyphen. Example: 978-
  2. Registration group element: Identifies the country, geographical region, or language area of the publisher. This can be 1-5 digits long, depending on the country or region. For instance, English-speaking countries like the US, UK, and Canada have the numbers 0 or 1. So, if the next digit is 0 or 1, that’s your registration group. Example: 978-1
  3. Registrant element: Identifies the particular publisher within the registration group. This varies in length, depending on the registration group. You’ll need the ISBN Range database to determine where this element ends. Example: 978-1-56619
  4. Publication element: Identifies the specific edition of a publication. This is the part of the ISBN that remains after the prefix, registration group, and registrant elements have been identified. Its length can vary. Example: 978-1-56619-909
  5. Check digit: A single digit at the end, ensuring the number’s validity. Example: 978-1-56619-909-4

Why Hyphenate ISBN-13?

Hyphenation serves two primary purposes:

  1. Readability: It’s easier to read and transcribe an ISBN when it’s broken down into its constituent parts.
  2. Identification: The hyphens help identify the different elements of the ISBN, providing information about the book’s origin, publisher, and specific edition.

Some barcode generator tools and book publishing platforms require you to provide hyphenated ISBN. In this case you you can take few steps to get your ISBN number hyphenated correctly.

Steps to Hyphenate ISBN-13

There are few ways to get your ISBN hyphenated, I will cover all the methods.

Contact Your ISBN Provider or Agency: Check your email that you received from ISBN provider after your order or any email that you received. Must ISBN providers send ISBN in hyphenated format. You might have to contact their support if you haven’t received your ISBN in hyphenated formats.

Do it yourself: First and last hyphens in the ISBN are easy. You have to put one hyphen after 3 digit and second hyphen just before the last digit. Example: 978-156619909-4. Next hyphen will be after first hyphen this depend on the origin of the ISBN. You can read more about ISBN registration grouping here. You need to identify the registration group and put hyphen after that.

Third hyphen will determine book publisher. Each year ISBN International Organization update a database of global book publishers which you download the dataset here. This dataset will help you find the next digit. This will be the difficult part if you want to do manually. Once you identify the publishers code then next code “Publication” will be highlighted automatically.

Tools to Assist with Hyphenation: Several online tools can automatically hyphenate ISBNs for you. These tools reference the official ISBN Range database to ensure accurate hyphenation. Some popular tools include:

  1. ISBN-Hyphenator By

Otzberg ISBN hyphenator can hyphenate not just US based ISBN but also ISBN from other countries too. It works perfectly based on my experience. Only problem is it can’t hyphenate ISBN prefix 979.

ISBN-13 Hyphenator Tool and How to Hyphenate ISBNs
  1. Converter converter work great when its comes to converting ISBN-10 to ISBN-13 and vice versa. When converting ISBN through converter output include hyphenated ISBN. This tool is not designed for ISBN hyphenation but it does great job at hyphenating with only one twist. You need to change the last check digit to match the version of ISBN.

For example if you want to hyphenate ISBN 9781566199094 then output will be 1-56619-909-3. Please change 1-56619-909-3 to 1-56619-909-4 and add prefix. Final Hyphenated ISBN 978-1-56619-909-4

Also converter doesn’t work with ISBN prefix 979 because 979 is latest ISBN prefix and its not convertible to ISBN-10. You can purchase ISBN Prefix 979 here US based and hyphenated ISBN.

ISBN-13 Hyphenator Tool and How to Hyphenate ISBNs

Hyphenating ISBN-13 might seem daunting initially, but with a clear understanding of its structure and the right tools, it becomes a straightforward task. Proper hyphenation ensures that ISBNs are easily readable and provides valuable information about the book’s origin, publisher, and edition.

Read more:

  1. ISBN Converter ISBN-10 to ISBN-13 and Vice Versa (Complete Guide)
  2. Anatomy of a 13-Digit ISBN: A Comprehensive Guide
  3. Anatomy of a 10-Digit ISBN: A Comprehensive Guide
  4. ISBN Barcode Generator Tool


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