I want my 4 bytes back damn it.
Some quick googling revealed that it is always 10 characters in length, so while a varchar would take 11 bytes to store this, a char will only take 10 bytes (the extra byte in the varchar is required to maintain the length). But an ISBN is not a string, it's a number. To store a 10 digit number, I need a BIGINT(10) ZEROFILL; that brings it down to 8 bytes.
A bit more googling, and I find out that the tenth digit in the ISBN is actually a checksum. I think to myself for a second that if I can recreate that checksum, I can move down to an INT(9) ZEROFILL, which means 4 bytes. 4 bytes for storing what was previously 11 bytes!
Of course, I had to share my excitement with one of my colleagues, who then told me that as of Jan 07, ISBNs are moving to a 13 digit representation. Damn it, I'll have to stick to my BIGINT(13) ZEROFILL.
For those that are curious, 978 will prefix existing ISBNs