It is important to remember that while an ISBN is not required to publish a book, but it will always be recommended, as it helps to comply with the book publishing and distribution process across the modernised book-distribution system, nationally & internationally. Allotment of ISBN to all new books became necessary when data showed that India is the sixth largest book producing country and ranks third in the production of the books in English after the USA and UK.
How do publishers obtain that all-important ISBN? The method is easy and not chargeable. A Central Government agency in India takes care to allot ISBNs to publishers. It is one ISBN for each book. Best of all, it can be applied for & obtained free of cost at any time.
Now, about how to go about getting that ISBN. As of now, there is just one single window in India. The all-important ISBN allottee of ISBN is the Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency for ISBN, in New Delhi, under Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India. The ISBN application form is available online from this link, form the Ministry of HRD website.
If you are not exactly a computer whiz kid and have started wondering if you could use some help, assistance is at hand. A hard copy of the form can also be collected from the following address:
You could go there or write a letter to them. When you write back, attach a copy of ID proof of yourself if you are the applicant or a copy of the bank statement of the organization. Remember to submit the application with all recommended attachments, along with a self addressed envelope stamped for the right value so that the agency can post their acceptance back to you.
If all papers are okay, the response from the ISBN Office New Delhi comes usually within two to three months. Successful allotees receive 10 ISBN Numbers with the first application. Fill the log sent by the agency, register the allotted number in the book when it is printed and post it back to the agency. If you are planning to come out with ebook versions of your paper-printed books, it would be a good idea to choose and assign a different ISBN for the ebook version in order to avoid anomaly.
When a book is published, the agency includes the allotted ISBN in its progress report to the Publishers International ISBN Directory. Viola! Your book ISBN is there for anyone to view, identify and select.