How to apply for ISBN in Nigeria 2024 and national library  logo on nice HD background with

Before a book can be certified published, it needs an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This unique 13-digit code is your book’s official identification, allowing it to be tracked and distributed globally. So, how do you apply for ISBN in 2024 from Nigeria? Here’s a comprehensive guide to navigating the process.

The Nigerian ISBN Agency 

The National Library of Nigeria (NLN) is the designated ISBN agency for the country. They are responsible for assigning ISBNs to publications originating in Nigeria. This means you don’t have to deal with international organisations – applying for ISBN 2024 can be done entirely in Nigeria.

Eligibility for Applying for ISBN 2024

The good news is that most types of publications are eligible for an ISBN, including self-published works. However, some exceptions exist, like brochures or pamphlets with limited content. The NLN website provides a detailed list of eligible publications.

Pricing for Applying for ISBN 2024 (as of April 2024):

  • 1 ISBN: ₦5,000
  • 2 ISBNs: ₦7,000
  • 3 ISBNs: ₦10,000
  • 4 ISBNs: ₦10,000
  • 5 ISBNs: ₦10,000
  • 10 ISBNs: ₦10,000

Please note that you will not be able to apply for 6,7,8 or 9 ISBNs. It is a system put in place by the NLN. So you either apply for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10 at once. The numbers simply mean the amount of ISBNs, Also, you can’t get more than 10 in one application. Bear in mind that you have to wait for an application for ISBN to be approved before you apply for another. These prices may change at the discretion of the National Library of Nigeria.

Steps to apply for ISBN in Nigeria 2024

There are two main ways to apply for ISBN 2024 in Nigeria:

1. Online Application

Like services such as the NIN and Passport application in Nigeria, the National Library has also made significant efforts in digitising its ISBN generation system. The NLN website offers a convenient online application system. Here, you’ll create an account and fill out a form with details like your book’s title, author information, and publication format (e.g., paperback, ebook). You’ll also need to upload a few documents, typically including a completed application form and your book’s cover page, and make payment. This method may sometimes be inaccessible due to network issues or website upgrades. Also, there’s a limit to the number of ISBNs you can get issued virtually. As such, you may want to consider the next option.

2. Offline application

This is the physical approach that requires you to visit an NLN agency closest to you. 

Required documents for applying for ISBN 2024

Please take note of the following documents especially if you’ll need to get multiple ISBNs physically:

1. Book Copies

If you are an independent author needing an ISBN, you will need to go with at least preliminary pages of your proposed book as evidence. For established publishing outfits, you may not come with the exact book(s) you need ISBN(s) for, but you will need to present at least three copies each of two titles your publishing outfit has published. If you are a new publishing outfit, then you need to bring preliminary pages of the proposed book, and if you have the book cover mock-up representation, you may also bring it along. 

2. CAC documents

For an established publishing outfit, you’ll need to present your publishing company’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) certificate. It doesn’t have to be the original copy. Three photocopies of this document will be required of you. 

3. Proof of Payment

A Remita receipt showing payment of the ISBN application fee. (Find the Remita payment steps in another section below. Please ensure you follow it carefully so you don’t make a wrong payment.) You will need three photocopies of this ISBN payment receipt.

4. Letter of Application

This letter typically contains your address, your company letterhead (for publishing outfits), the address of the NLN office you are applying for ISBN at, the heading of your letter, and a concise request for the ISBN for your book(s). Please ensure you clearly state your book(s) titles and author(s) name(s) in the letter. 

Also, as a company, ensure that your company name as written on the CAC certificate is the way it’s written on your application letter. For example, if the name of your company is written as TechCabal on the CAC document, you should also ensure it reads “TechCabal” on the letter of application. If you possibly created a subsidiary for your publishing outfit named “Tech Publishing”. You can’t use that on the application. You need to add the “Cabal” so it has to be TechCabal Publishing”. 

5. Completed application form

Ensure all information is accurate and complete. (This form will usually be provided for you at the NLN office you visit)

Remita payment steps to apply for ISBN 2024

To make the ISBN application fee payment through Remita, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Remita website.
  2. In the “Who do you want to pay?” section, enter “NATIONAL LIBRARY NIGERIA – 051700800100.”
  3. For “Name of Service/Purpose,” select “ISBN & ISSN Administrative Fees.”
  4. Enter “Payment of ISBN (as applicable)” in the “Description” field.
  5. Each NLN office in every state has its specific GIFMIS code. For example, the GIFMIS code for Ibadan is 1000097245. However, if you are unsure of the GIFMIS code of the NLN office you are applying for ISBN at, please use the general code “100097203” in the GIFMIS Code space. However, you can ask officers at the NLN office for the GIFMIS, provided you won’t be making the payment before visiting their office for submission of documents.
  6. Enter the price of the ISBNs you’re applying for (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10) in the “Amount to Pay” section. Refer to the price table above for the corresponding fees.
  7. Choose “Naira” as the currency.
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the payment process. You’ll receive a Remita Retrieval Reference (RRR) number upon successful payment.

Final thoughts 

After you apply for the ISBN, in about 5-7 working days, you should get a message or call with details of ISBNs for all the titles you applied for. 

Before you apply for ISBN in 2024 or beyond, ensure your book’s title, author name, and publication data are finalised. Changes after receiving an ISBN might require a new application. Also, familiarise yourself with the NLN’s guidelines for ISBN assignments. Their website has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that can clarify any doubts. Applying for ISBN 2024 early in the publishing process allows enough time for processing and avoids delays in your book’s release.

By following these steps and gathering the necessary documents, you can successfully apply for ISBN in Nigeria in 2024.

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox