The 13-Digit ISBN and 2005 Sunrise and GTIN Initiatives

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It may not be as sexy as Y2K, but it has the same potential to cause chaos for booksellers, publishers, and vendors if their inventory management and POS systems are not ready for the major evolution that will take place in the unique identifiers for books as well as other products sold in the North American market in the next few years. Most notable among the changes, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) will expand to 13 digits from 10 digits, effective January 1, 2007.

To help booksellers and vendors understand and deal with the forthcoming changes to unique identifiers, ABA's representative to the Book Industry Study Group's Book and Serial Industry Communications Committee, Fred Hoffman of WordsWorth Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has put together answers to "Frequently Asked Questions About the 13-Digit ISBN and the 2005 Sunrise and GTIN Initiatives." To access the FAQ, go to