First 979-prefixed ISBNs will come from France

The International ISBN Agency today announced that the first 979-prefixed registration group element, 979-10, has been assigned to the Paris-based French National ISBN Agency, AFNIL (Agence Francophone pour la Numérotation Internationale du Livre).

Joëlle Aernoudt,  Manager of AFNIL, said “We are looking forward to being the first ISBN agency to implement 979 and are ensuring that all our systems are able to cope“.

Brian Green, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency, said “We are delighted that AFNIL will be introducing the 979 prefix to the book world.  French books are available in virtually every country so any systems that continue to process only the last ten digits will now need to change in order to avoid possible duplicates of 978 and 979-prefixed ISBNs.”

The ISBN migrated from 10 to 13 digits in order to increase the capacity of the system and become compatible with the EAN-13 used for all other products.  The revised ISBN standard (ISO 2108) was published in 2005 and the implementation date for 13-digit ISBNs was January 2007.

Larger agencies that currently have 1 or 2-digit group elements will start assigning 979-prefixed ISBNs when they exhaust their current supply of ISBNs. Smaller countries, whose ISBN group elements are 3, 4 or 5 digits, will continue to be assigned 978-prefixed numbers as there is still plenty of capacity in these ranges.

N.B. An XML message providing information on all group elements and their associated prefixes is available at the message will be continually updated as new prefixes and ranges are assigned.  A human readable PDF version of ISBN ranges is available from


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