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Seychelles ISBN agency: Services to local publishers | 30 November 2020

The International Standard Book Numbering services (ISBN) is provided by the Seychelles ISBN Agency which falls under the Seychelles National Library. The Agency is operational in Room 301, 3rd Floor of the Kanna Mall building in Victoria. This service is for all local publishers and is free of charge.

The Seychelles ISBN Agency is the sole provider of this service in the country. The Agency is responsible for the implementation and administration of the service. The International ISBN Agency based in London, UK determines the size of the ISBN assignments to publishers by their estimation of the number of publications to be published in the future.  


What is ISBN?

ISBN is the international system for numbering books, designed to provide unique identification for all books published and to improve the exchange of information about books for all segments of the book sector.


The benefits of numbering books?

For nearly a century, publishers, libraries and other members of the book trade have numbered books to maintain records of publications.

  • The ISBN is a unique international identifier for monographic publications; assigning a number replaces the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records, thereby saving time and staff costs and reducing copying errors.
  • Correct use of the ISBN allows different product forms and editions of a book, whether printed or digital, to be clearly differentiated, ensuring that customers receive the version that they require.
  • The ISBN facilitates compilation and updating of book-trade directories and bibliographic databases, such as catalogues of books-in-print. Information on available books can be found easily.
  • Ordering and distribution of books is mainly executed by ISBN; this is a fast and efficient method.
  • The ISBN is machine-readable in the form of a 13-digit EAN-13 bar code. This is fast and avoids mistakes.
  • The ISBN is required for the running of electronic point-of-sale systems in bookshops.
  • Many publishing and supply chain systems are based on ISBN.
  • The accumulation of sales data is done by the ISBN. This enables the varying successes of different product forms and editions of publications to be monitored, as well as enabling comparisons between different subject areas and even different publishing houses. (source :


How is the ISBN composed?

The ISBN structure contains thirteen digits divided into five groups as follows:-


  1. Prefix element— the first part of the ISBN is a three-digit number that is made available by EAN International. Prefixes that have already been made available by EAN International are 978 and 979, but there may be a further prefix allocation made in the future as required to ensure the continued capacity of the ISBN system.

2. Group identifier specifies the country or language in which the book is published.

     For example: books published in Seychelles under the Agency carries 99931 for Registrant Group.

 3.  Publisher/Registrant prefix identifies the publisher of the book.

4. Title/Publication number identifies one specific title, binding, or one edition title.

5. Check digit permits a mathematical check of the accuracy of the ISBN. (Source:

     The ISBN appears in several prominent locations on a publication.

Procedures to apply for ISBN

Publishers must comply with the implementation guidelines including the scope and assignment rules for ISBN. Publishers must supply the Seychelles ISBN Agency  with a specified amount of metadata about the publication (such as title, author, format) to which the ISBN is assigned. The Seychelles ISBN Agency will advise you about the metadata required for your publication.

All publishers must also supply full contact details (name of publisher, mailing address, telephone, fax, email and URL if available).


Can publishers choose where to get an ISBN? 

All publishers should apply to the appropriate national ISBN agency that is responsible for the country in which they are based. If you have genuine reasons that may prevent you from applying to your national ISBN agency, then you should contact the International ISBN Agency for advice but you should not contact another ISBN agency.

ISBN request may be made by phone, email or in person. New clients will have to fill the ISBN Application form and return to the Agency. Forms can be downloaded from the National Library website. If information is correctly entered and all criteria are met, it would not take more than 3 days to receive an ISBN prefix.

Clients are advised to make their ISBN request early.


New service of Seychelles ISBN Agency

The Agency is to introduce barcoding system to its clients soon.


Seychelles ISBN Agency

Seychelles National Library
Kanna Mall Building 3rd Floor

Room 301
P. O. Box 45


Mahe Seychelles

Tel: 2 724953, 2 824361. 4387 689/688



Contributed by the Seychelles National Library


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