ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is a 10 digit number. ISBNs can be found on the copyright page, inside the front cover on the back of the book or dustjacket or on the book spine, depending on the type of book or the publisher.
ISBNs were introduced in 1970 and replaced nine digit SBNs -(often this means a 0 was added to the front of the SBN) and is a useful way to search for books published from the late 1960s under 1980 when EANs were introduced -books first published in the 1980s often have both an ISBN and EAN.
It should be noted that SBNs were used in the UK until 1974 and were introduced in the mid 1960s. Books published/printed before then are often referred to as pre-ISBN books and cannot be searched for by this method.
EAN is International Article Number (started out as European Article Number hence EAN) and is a thirteen digit number associated with the barcode on items for retail sale. On books they can be found on the back cover, copyright page, inside the front cover or on the back of the dustjacket depending on the type of book and the publisher. EANs have been in use since the 1980s . Books will be identified with an EAN code beginning with 978 but can occassionally start with 979.
Searching by ISBN or EAN can improve your chances of finding the exact edition or publisher you are looking for. On ebay make sure you always search both the title and description fields for the ISBN or EAN as you are more likely to find ISBN or EAN located in the description field.
Not all booksellers add ISBNs or EANs to their ebay listings so you should also search by title and author and remember publishers might use the same isbn but change the cover and even the format of the book!
Happy book hunting from McLeods Books Nunawading