6 Steps On How To Get An ISBN or ISSN in Nigeria, 2020

2021 Update

An updated version can be found on my new website here with downloadable document for submission.

2020 update

I still used this process, from top to bottom to request an ISBN and it works!

You are yet to type thank you. So unfair.


While working on my #publishabook2019 project, I had to get an ISBN and getting information on how to obtain it was stressful. I didn’t want to leave my first print work like that…you know, ISBN-less because who knows what might happen tomorrow? Hence, after successfully applying for it and waiting at most fourteen days for it, I decided to share since no one’s post really prepared me for the process.

Getting an ISBN is not compulsory but if you want your work in national libraries, bookstores, international libraries, stores, and giving it an identity of its own, you need to get an ISBN number assigned by the Bowker’s or National Library in your country. There are two I know of in Nigeria, one in Yaba Lagos, and another in Abuja.

If you are working with e-books, no need to worry, the platforms you are posting on should provide you with one.

To get more information on what an ISBN/ISSN is, click on this link to learn more.

I am of the mind that the process would be easier if everything is done online but we know some people would not be happy when that happens. Now let’s dig in!


This tutorial is for self-publishing authors who like to get everything done at once. You can read this or go on to watch my video on this. However, by the time you are reading this, things might have changed when you decide to get yours but hey! This is 2019…


The cost of getting ISBN/ISSN

1-2 = N2,500

3-10 = N5,000

I love the mathematics of this but you need to have the manuscripts of all available to buy so much. Stick to your one or two and don’t give yourself a headache, the Lord would provide when it’s time for more.

Bank Charges

N100 (I did for N2,500)

REMITA Charges

N157.50 (Something around this price)

Thank you something

Hahaha, I didn’t type anything here o. Applicants discretin is advised, although they call it a processing fee. This is Nigeria.

Total Budget (excluding transportation)

Not more than N3,500.



You have to ensure you are done writing your manuscript and it is ready for submission as print. The back cover doesn’t have to be ready and if it’s an audiobook, you need to insert it in a disc. The reason for this is that they don’t want to waste the ISBN/ISSN as it is being cataloged worldwide.

What happens when they check that number you never used to write that book in a catalog and it’s not there? An utter disappointment and proof that writers are lazy. Lol. I am an example.



You have to ensure you have a confirmed title. Don’t be like me who later had to start making calls and spending extra money. Don’t waste your money don’t waste their time, don’t waste our numbers. Once it’s done, it’s done.



Here we pay to the bank! Thank me for this later.

However, you need a code from REMITA to do this. Here is a step by step process;

  1. Log on to the remita.net website
  2. Scroll until you see/can select pay FGN & State TSA/ Select Government/MDA
  • Select Federal Government of Nigeria
  1. Name of MDA – NATIONAL LIBRARY NIGERIA – 051700800100
  2. Name of Service/Purpose – ISBN & ISSN Administrative Fees
  3. Description – Payment of ISBN (or ISSN as the case may be).
  • Amount to Pay – 2500, or 5,000
  • GIFMIS Code – 100097203 (Thank me later, that’s how many thank yous now?)
  1. Fill out your name, email and phone number
  2. Click on Proceed to payment
  3. You will find a RRR (Remita Retrieval Reference) Copy/write out the code

2020 update

Now you can pay online!


It automatically re-directed me to pay online which I did and it was seamless.

  • Head over to the bank and fill a slip with that number on it. You would be doing a local transfer ‘cos I used my bank and it’s easier. You would be paying to the National Library Nigeria.
  • Collect your transaction receipt and make two extra copies.

That’s that about payment.



Now you move on to writing a letter to the National Library of Nigeria. It should go like this and should be printed on a letterhead. if you don’t have a letterhead and are an individual, use your name, address, email and phone number as your letterhead.

Note: you are to use the same email you used while registering on REMITA









National Library of Nigeria

227, Herbert Macaulay Way,

Yaba, Lagos State.

(I did mine at YABA)


The above-named individual do hereby apply for ISBN for books to be published.

The title of the book(s) is(are);

  1. Ade is a Boy by Linda Matthews
  2. N is for Nice by Linda Matthews and Apostle Luke
  • Come here by Apostle Luke

Yours faithfully,


For: Name



If you want to add a story of your book, that’s not necessary, all you need is on that sample document. Please note that the name on the letterhead is the company/individual they are assigning the number to but with the authors as the owners. I hope you understood that.



Make a photocopy of any means of identification you have.

Staple all documents in this order.

1 copy of Letter

2 copies of Payment Receipt

1 copy of Identification

Then take along one copy of your manuscript.




From Sabo, Yaba, take a tricycle (keke), drop at Casino Bus Stop and ask around for the National Library. Don’t be like me who went to the State Library which has been fabulously redesigned by GTB.


You are to get your number within 10 days by mail and text. After you have successfully printed your work, you are to return back to the library with four copies for record purposes.

This marks the end of our topic.

I hope this has been helpful and would help you reduce stress when you are ready and sure your work is to hit the market. I would love to hear from you before and after your process. If you think I left anything out, be sure to let me know.

Thanks for reading!


Check out an updated version with document download links here.

39 thoughts on “6 Steps On How To Get An ISBN or ISSN in Nigeria, 2020

Add yours

    1. My pleasure. I hope this was helpful as it just helped me. Lol.
      I completely forgot the whole process and reading it right now got me like, waoooohhhh


  1. Thank you so much for detailing this process. I have a few questions. Must the name of the individual tally with the name of the author (assuming the book was published under a pseudonym)? Must the name of the individual tally with the name of the person submitting the letter?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Mara,
      The name of the individual/Publishing company doesn’t have to tally with the name of the author/author’s pen name.
      I hope this answered your question.


  2. Thank you.
    I love your write up dear. What do you mean by 1-2 stroke for N2500.
    I am a novice and want to write literature storybooks. Your writeup is a good help, thank you, dear. Awaiting your reply.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello,
    This info is still valid till Today 28-05-21 . I am just leaving the National Library in Lagos. I followed you guidelines and that was it all.
    You made it simple! Thanks


  4. A big well-done to you for this. The update I once get was that additional #1000 is to be paid per book for bar code which would thence forth be assigned together or alongside the ISBN.

    However, I have not applied since then to ascertain that information. Enquiry may be made to update this all important writeup of yours.
    Thank you.


  5. Really! Thank you so much. You just saved me a lot of stress. One question though, do i get to them first before logging on to remita? How do i know how much i am to pay? Thank you so much once again!


    1. The amount you’re to pay is on Remita. From my experience, you don’t need to go to their office first, you can have all these together, before visiting their office.


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