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Uganda - Apply for International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

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Apply In-Person

  1. To apply for ISBN, the applicant has to contact the National Library of Uganda offices.
  2. Here you will be given an application to fill.
  3. The applicant will be required to pay the required fee at the Bank.Pick the bank details from National library of Uganda Offices
  4. The applicant has to make sure he or she has all the required documents that are required for this process to be successful and it can be found under the "Required Documents" section of this page.
  5. submit your application together with bank slip and all the required document to National Library of Uganda offices.
  6. On Completion of this process, the applicant after meeting all the requirements will be issued an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).


  • The National Library Act 2003, section 5 part C gives NLU the mandate to allocate ISBN/IISSN to publications in Uganda.
  • The acquisition of ISBNs does not serve as a guarantee for copyright. Publishers are advised to visit copyright offices at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.

Required Documents[edit]

  • Copy of certificate of business administration
  • Title page & copyright pages of the new publication
  • Duly completed application form
  • Profile of the publisher
  • I D card
  • Authors name,
  • Address,
  • Previous prefix,
  • Cover page,
  • Editorial page
  • Evidence of payment.

Office Locations & Contacts[edit]

National Library of Uganda - Head Office,
Plot 50,Buganda Road
Kampala, Uganda
Postal Address: P.O.Box 4262
Kampala Uganda.
Tel: 0414-254661/233633
Email: [email protected]
Website: Link


Must be Ugandan publishers. (Including self-publishing authors) They avail publications to the public in form of text and these may include: monographs, maps, education software, audio books, digital publication, individual articles or chapters, mixed media publications that are principally text based.


Fee per Title - Ugshs. 40,000.


Valid for a very long time.

Documents to Use[edit]

Please attach documents that can be used by people. e.g. links

Sample Documents[edit]

Please attach sample completed documents that would help other people.

Processing Time[edit]

  • 1 -2 working days after meeting all the requirements.
  • ISSN takes 10 working days.

Related Videos[edit]

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type='website'>video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites. 	
Please remove the '&' inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url '' Video ID is 'Y0US7oR_t3M'.


  • The National library of Uganda is the sole agency in Uganda with the mandate to issue the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) to Ugandan Publishers.
  • ISBN is a unique identification number assigned to each title of publications.
  • Publishers who require issuance of ISBN can contact the National library of Uganda division at the National Library of Uganda offices at Buganda Road.
  • If you are a new publisher, you should apply for your own ISBN publisher prefix and plan to identify and circulate your books properly in the industry supply chain.
  • Some examples of types of monographic publications to which an ISBN can be assigned are:
    • Printed books and pamphlets
    • Braille publications
    • Publications that are not intended by the publisher to be updated regularly or continued indefinitely
    • Individual articles2 or issues of a particular continuing resource (but not the continuing resource in its entirely)
    • Maps
    • Educational/instructional films, videos and transparencies
    • Audio books on cassette, or CD, or DVD (talking books)
    • Electronic publications either on physical carries (such as machine readable tapes, diskettes, or CD-ROMs) or on the Internet
    • Digitized copies of print monographic publications
    • Microform publications
    • Educational or instructional software.
    • Mixed media publications (where the principal constituent is text-based)

Required Information[edit]

  • Profile of the publisher.
  • Title page & copyright pages of the new publication
  • Information about the publication to which ISBN is assigned

Need for the Document[edit]

Please provide the need for the procedure. e.g. Birth Certificate - why do we need to have a birth certificate? 

Information which might help[edit]

  • Enter other in-formations which might help.
  • The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally.
  • In the book trade industries, there is easy compilation of directories which are referred to from time to time.
  • The ISBN has been helpful in the ordering and distribution of books making it efficient for those who make orders with publishing houses.
  • Writers and publishing houses who request for ISBNs end up depositing their works with NLU. As a result, this contributes to compilation of a national bibliography which is later printed and made available to the public.
  • Libraries have also benefited from the use of ISBNs since they use it for cataloguing of information materials.
  • Advantages of ISSN/ISBN Enabling comprehensive national bibliographies Retrieval of book titles and expenses/sales records in publisher, bookseller and library computer systems, e.g. production, royalty, sales, distribution Electronic ordering Many publishers and authors have realized that they can uniquely identify their publications in the market both locally and internationally. From its production, a publication is accompanied by an ISBN, which in modern distribution of information materials is essential in book trade.
  • The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.
  • The National Library of Uganda is mandated to assign the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) to Ugandan Publishers.
  • The National Library of Uganda is a national agency for the International Standard Book Numbering system.
  • Recognized in more than 160 countries throughout the world, the International Standard Book Number is short and clear identifier that is potentially machine-readable.
  • The ISBN denotes a particular monographic publication uniquely and should, therefore, be associated with it from early production stages. An essential instrument in production, distribution, sales analysis, and bibliographic data storage systems in the book trade, ISBN is also of vital importance to library information management.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate[edit]

Please explain what are other uses of obtaining this document/certificate.
e.g. Birth Certificate can be used as proof of identity.

External Links[edit]


  • There are over 160 ISBN Agencies worldwide, and each ISBN Agency is appointed as the exclusive agent responsible for assigning ISBNs to publishers residing in their country or geographic territory. National Library of Uganda assigns ISBNs to Ugandan publishers.
  • Once an ISBN publisher prefix and associated block of numbers has been assigned to a publisher by the ISBN Agency, the publisher can assign ISBNs to publications it holds publishing rights to. However, after the ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs to a publisher, that publisher cannot resell, re-assign, transfer, or split its list of ISBNs among other publishers.
  • These guidelines have long been established to ensure the veracity, accuracy and continued utility of the international ISBN standard.
  • As defined by the ISO Standard, the ISBN publisher prefix (or "root" of the ISBN) identifies a single publisher. If a second publisher subsequently obtains an ISBN from the assigned publisher's block of ISBNs, there will be no change in the publisher of record for any ISBN in the block as originally assigned. Therefore, searches of industry databases for that re-assigned ISBN will identify the original owner of that assigned prefix as the publisher rather than the second publisher.
  • Discovering this consequence too late can lead to extensive costs in applying for a new prefix, re-assigning a new ISBN, and potentially leading to the application of stickers to books already printed and in circulation.