Can I get an ISBN for my periodical publication (magazine, etc.)?

No. If you are publishing a recurring product (for example, a monthly literary journal), consider getting an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number). **ISSNs are free!** An ISSN is an eight-digit number that uniquely identifies your periodical. Unlike ISBNs, which contain country and publisher prefixes, the ISSN simply identifies the periodical (not the publisher from whom it is available). An ISSN distinguishes a particular periodical from others with which it might be confused. The ISSN also helps library patrons, libraries, and others who handle large numbers of periodicals to find and identify titles in automated systems more quickly and easily. In the US, ISSNs are administered by the National Serials Data Program (NSDP) of the Library of Congress. According to their site (, periodicals, or serials, are: "...print or non-print publications issued in parts, usually bearing issue numbers and/or dates. A serial is expected to continue indefinitely. Serials include magazines, newspapers, annuals (such as reports, yearbooks, and directories), journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions of societies, and monographic series."


If this description sounds like what you are publishing, apply for an ISSN. ISSNs are assigned by a network of over 60 centers worldwide coordinated by the ISSN International Centre located in Paris.


For more information, see:


  • US publications: United States ISSN Center
  • Serials published outside of the US: the ISSN International Centre can refer you to the national center in your country of publication.

A separate ISSN is required for each medium; that is, if your periodical is available in both Download and Print formats, you will need a separate ISSN for each distribution format. After you get your ISSN, you should add it to your periodical. Unlike ISBNs, where Lulu adds the barcode to your back cover, ISSNs are your responsibility. Insert the ISSN in your source file before uploading and publishing.


Suggested locations:


  • Printed publication: the preferred location is the upper right-hand corner of the cover. You can also add it to the masthead area, copyright page, or in the publishing statement (where you identify publisher, frequency, etc.).
  • Non-print publication: on an internal location, such as the title screen or home page.
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