Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Bowker’s ISBN agency websites hacked in Australia and US; credit card numbers compromised

Bowker, which trades in Australia as Thorpe-Bowker, is investigating ‘patterns of unauthorised charges’ to credit cards that have been used on Bowker’s MyIdentifiers websites, which are used to purchase ISBNs in Australia and North America. Publishers and self-publishers who purchased ISBNs from Bowker this year may have had their credit card information compromised.

Bowker has disabled purchasing and title data management functionalities on both sites ( and while it conducts an investigation.

‘Our investigation has identified unauthorised code that was added to the checkout page on our website. Based on currently available evidence, our investigation is focused on determining if the code was active from May 1, 2018 through October 23, 2018,’ wrote Bowker in a statement.

As the investigation is continuing, Bowker said that ‘complete findings are not available and it is too early to provide further details on the investigation’, but says it will notify any affected customers as soon as it has clarity about ‘the specific timeframes and orders that may have been affected’.

Bowker is advising customers to monitor their account statements for payment cards, and to immediately notify the bank that issued the card if any unauthorised charges appear. While purchasing is disabled from the website, Bowker is asking customers to fax order forms for ISBN purchases.

The MyIdentifiers platform was launched in Australia by Thorpe-Bowker in 2012, when it replaced the Australian ISBN Agency.

To read Bowker’s full statement, see the website.

Thorpe-Bowker is a former owner of Books+Publishing. Subscribers to Books+Publishing should note that Books+Publishing is not affected by the breach as its website has been hosted on an independent platform outside Thorpe-Bowker for many years.



Category: Local news