The U.S. ISBN Agency has been assigning the 978 prefix to 13-digit ISBNs since 2007. In the previous article, we’ve explained the difference between 10- and 13-digit ISBNs and how both systems could be contained with the help of the 978 prefix. However, blocks of ISBN-13s built on existing ISBN-10s are exhausted. Therefore, the U.S. ISBN Agency has begun assigning ISBNs starting with the prefix element 979.

The introduction of ISBNs from the 979 ranges is necessary to increase the available inventory of some ISBN block sizes.
International ISBN Agency

As of 2020, the U.S. ISBN Agency has begun assigning ISBNs starting with the 979 prefix.

Blocks starting with the 978 prefix will continue to be assigned by the U.S. ISBN Agency until they run out of their inventory of specific block sizes. So in the nearest future, the 978-0 and 978-1 (assignments in an English-speaking region) or 979-8 ( unique to the U.S. and its associated territories) blocks will be assigned.

You can also read more about  changes to U. S. ISBN prefixes on the official website of the Agency.

Buy and Sell Books with the 979 Prefix

The news may not be that essential for the general public, but at BookScouter, we would like to educate our users on everything book-related. We are sure that this information will be useful to our users.

So far, it hasn’t been common to see the 979 prefix: there are some newly released ISBN-13 books with 979 prefix on Amazon if you know what you are looking for. However, as these books are relatively new, not all online bookstores and book resellers can identify, buy, and sell them.

At BookScouter, we’ve checked how many vendors are working with such books, and we can conclude that there are just a few. Here are some examples:

For instance, Evidence Materials–Fall 2021 by David Schlueter (ISBN-13: 9798531132178). This book was published in 2021; it is available on Amazon, and you can see this offer via the BookScouter Buy panel:

However, we haven’t found any buyback offers for this book from any vendors on our list:

Another example: Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-5 by American Psychiatric Association (published on December 6, 2020; ISBN-13: 9798577456832); it can be sold to 2 vendors on our list:

Or you can buy it from three vendors:

Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook – Version 8: Volume I by Barton Beebe (published on July 15, 2021; ISBN-13: 9798537544319)—no one is currently buying this book at the moment:

TRINITY: The Best-Kept Secret by Jacques F. Vallée and Paola Leopizzi Harris (published on May 14, 2021; ISBN-13: 9798745902567) has only one buyback offer from Ziffit:

Warpath: One Vietnam Veteran’s Journey through War, Disillusionment, Guilt and Recovery by  AJ Moore (published on January 23, 2022; ISBN-13: 9798985543407) has only one buyback offer from Ziffit as well:

And since it was published very recently (January 2022), there are only two offers where you can buy it:

Final Thoughts

At BookScouter, we help you find the best price offers for the books you want to buy or sell. All you have to do is type in the book’s ISBN in the search field and check the offers from our vendors. However, we also want to be the resource that keeps up with all the updates and is sensitive to all changes in the industry. We do our best to help you find the best price offers for the books with the new 979 prefix. At the moment, however, we can see that very few vendors have implemented the functionality to identify such books. Therefore, we can see that buyback (and even sell) offers are scarce. 

At BookScouter, we are doing our best to share the information about the new ISBN 979 prefix among our buyback vendors. Being a price comparison platform, we care for our users and strive to provide them with the best price offers we can find. Therefore, we are currently communicating with all our partners regarding this issue specifically.

It’s simple to predict that more ISBN-13 books with the 979 prefix will be published in the nearest future. With time, they will get their share of the book publishing market, and more people will be looking for ways to buy and sell such books second-hand. Therefore, it is essential for the vendors to start accepting them as soon as possible so that users can access them too.

We do hope that more and more vendors will be able to work with the new ISBNs soon. In our turn, we’ll do our best to keep our database up-to-date so that you can buy or sell these books at the best prices. Tune in for the updates!