The most famous publishing standard is the ISBN: a unique 10 or (more recently) 13 digit machine-readable number that identifies, generally speaking, a specific edition of a printed, audio or electronic book. The global use of this numbering system has created enormous commercial efficiencies for publishers, and a reliable way of identifying books for readers in search of a particular book. 166 countries and territories are officially ISBN members.

IPA is an observer to the International ISBN Agency Board and has the right to attend all board meetings to represent the publishing industry's interests. For more, see the web site of the International ISBN Agency.

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