How to get an ISBN in Kenya.

Assigning an ISBN number to your book in Kenya

  1. Get an account with the Kenya National Library Service(KNLS)  ISBN service here: ISBN website
  2. Create a Profile, adding important personal details.  Please note we did this as a Publishing Co., (request information if you want to do this as an individual.)
  3. Once  you are set up, click on the ISBN Products.  They offer options of buying 1 ISBN, 10 ISBNs,  100 ISBNs to 1,000 ISBNs.  Choose the number that fits your needs, and make the purchase.  This process is easy, and flexible, you may do it in cash, mobile payment, through the bank, whatever works for you.isbn
  4. Once payment is approved, wait to hear back from KNLS.  They are very fast about this, and you will get a message from them giving you your ISBN numbers, as well as the barcode that goes along with it.
  5. Here is a short guideline of how and when to use your ISBN when you get it and what to do with it once you get it. The ISBN site, sends these guidelines to you once your ISBN is approved.

You may allocate ISBN to the following publications:
– Printed books material
– Microfilms
– Educational video or movies
– Atlases and maps
– Publications in braille
– Electronic publications

ISBN should NOT be allocated to the following publications:
– Off print from periodicals
– Advertising materials (sales catalogs, price lists, prospectus, instructions publishing flyers, etc.)
– Wall posters, newspapers, leaflets
– Programs of theatrical, music and other performances
– List of exhibits without additional text
– Curricula of schools and colleges of all kinds
– Lecture and teaching materials of manuscripts character
– Calendars and diaries
– Form and coloring books

PLEASE ALSO NOTE that ISBN should always appear on the verso of the title page, or if this is not possible at the foot of the title page. It must also appear at the foot of the outside back cover at a prominent outside position.

FINALLY, remember that the BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS ACT CAP. 111, Laws of Kenya, stipulate that every publisher MUST deposit 2 clean copies of their (new, future and back issues) with the Director, Kenya National Library Service, (National Reference and Bibliographic Dept.). This process begins by filling in details under the “My Publications” section when you log into the ISBN service, and later depositing the copies physically at the National Library for approval. You shall not be allowed to purchase further ISBNs until you complete this process for all issued ISBNs.

Now that you have your ISBN, consider Copyrighting your book with the Kenya Copyright Board

This procedure is for a first time buy, for a second time buy, make sure you have met all their requirements on submitting books to the National Library.

2 thoughts on “How to get an ISBN in Kenya.

  1. Humphrey Osoro says:

    Hi Elly, I found this really helpful , especially as a writer because I’m approaching the stage where I need to get an ISBN code for my book , “The Unaffected Resolve”. The book will be out soon, all 114 pages this time. Your guide makes the whole process that much easier. Thank you for all the support and keep helping out all the other aspiring writers and artists out there!

    • elly in nairobi says:

      Hey Humphrey, that’s good news! I’m excited your book is coming out. Yes, get an ISBN for it, and copyright your work, definitely. We need more stuff like yours in the market. I’m excited for you. Cheers.

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