RE: [Videolib] ISBN #s

Carol Dunn (dunn@findlaylibrary.org)
Thu, 23 Mar 2006 08:55:16 -0500

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Hi Jocelyn,
Here is an example of why we need ISBN. We are in the middle of a big
conversion project. We are joining a consortium and our card catalog will be
combined with other public libraries around the state. They are using two
numbers to combine the database--the OCLC number (Marc number 001) and/or
the ISBN number (Marc 20). So, if you drop the ISBN because of cost,
consider at least an 001.
Our biggest problems are with the genealogy books, many of these do not have
either number. They are ending up on an "exception" report and must be
re-cataloged.
Just my 2 cents! Carol


-----Original Message-----
From: Herownword@aol.com [mailto:Herownword@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:42 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] ISBN #s

Thanks to all who have responded (and to future responders as well!). I'm a
big fan of ISBNs and have put them on all the work we have
published/released since 1989 (and retroactively to the ones we produced
1986-1988). I have every intention of continuing to assign ISBNs to all new
releases, but have run into a roadblock, as I mentioned. Here is what I
have learned so far:

1. Bowker is indeed the only agency that can assign ISBNs in the US and
since it is a monopoly it can and does charge big bucks. (As an aside,
ISBNs in Canada appear to be free.)

2. ISBNs have traditionally been 10 digits (as are the ones I currently
use). As of January of 2007, a new 13-digit ISBN system will go into
effect. I haven't called Bowker back yet, but my hunch is that it's because
the entire numbering system is being modified that I can't keep my old
prefix.

3. Because each prefix is a technical number that denotes first of all the
country of origin and second of all the particular publisher, it's much more
convenient and less error-prone for a publisher to have the same prefix for
all titles. (To put this in perspective, the current 10-digit system
consists of 7 digits of prefix and only 3 of suffix that changes with each
title.)The issue for smaller publishers is that Bowker sells ISBNs in blocks
of numbers and you can only get a consistent prefix when you purchase that
particular block; you can't go back and get more numbers for that prefix.
The smaller, more affordable blocks are much more expensive per number than
the larger blocks and also involve changing prefixes as time goes by.
Larger publishers of course just purchase an initial block of 100 or 1,000
or 10,000 ISBNs and then they have the right to use those numbers, all with
the same prefix, far into the foreseeable future. (As another aside, I came
across a website that suggested that in the future book and media reviewers
will be able to discern the size of a publishing/media house by its ISBN; as
far as I know, that's not possible now.)

4. The tooth fairy doesn't put ISBNs under your pillow, Jessica. Somebody
somewhere is in charge of assigning them to your titles. The ones you
distribute that are produced by others would, of course, come with ISBNs
already assigned (and with a variety of prefixes, one for each publisher).
But for any that Kino actually publishes, someone on your staff (or possibly
an outside contractor like a copyright/permissions professional or lawyer)
assigns the ISBN.

So, there you have it. I'll probably bite the bullet and purchase a pricey
block of ISBNs, but then, I've been in business for 20 years. It does seem
to me unfortunate that a system is evolving that greatly disadvantages
startup and micro publishers. The ISBN system is fabulous; it's just too
bad that the US ISBN price system is structured the way it is.

Many thanks again for this listserv.

Jocelyn Riley
HerOwnWords.com
NontraditionalCareers.com


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Hi Jocelyn,
Here is an example of why we need ISBN. We are in the middle of a big conversion project. We are joining a consortium and our card catalog will be combined with other public libraries around the state.  They are using two numbers to combine the database--the OCLC number (Marc number 001) and/or  the ISBN number (Marc 20). So, if you drop the ISBN because of cost, consider at least an 001.
Our biggest problems are with the genealogy books, many of these do not have either number.  They are ending up on an "exception" report and must be re-cataloged.
Just my 2 cents!   Carol
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Herownword@aol.com [mailto:Herownword@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:42 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] ISBN #s

Thanks to all who have responded (and to future responders as well!).  I'm a big fan of ISBNs and have put them on all the work we have published/released since 1989 (and retroactively to the ones we produced 1986-1988).  I have every intention of continuing to assign ISBNs to all new releases, but have run into a roadblock, as I mentioned.  Here is what I have learned so far:
 
1.  Bowker is indeed the only agency that can assign ISBNs in the US and since it is a monopoly it can and does charge big bucks.  (As an aside, ISBNs in Canada appear to be free.)
 
2.  ISBNs have traditionally been 10 digits (as are the ones I currently use).  As of January of 2007, a new 13-digit ISBN system will go into effect.  I haven't called Bowker back yet, but my hunch is that it's because the entire numbering system is being modified that I can't keep my old prefix.
 
3.  Because each prefix is a technical number that denotes first of all the country of origin and second of all the particular publisher, it's much more convenient and less error-prone for a publisher to have the same prefix for all titles.  (To put this in perspective, the current 10-digit system consists of 7 digits of prefix and only 3 of suffix that changes with each title.)The issue for smaller publishers is that Bowker sells ISBNs in blocks of numbers and you can only get a consistent prefix when you purchase that particular block; you can't go back and get more numbers for that prefix.  The smaller, more affordable blocks are much more expensive per number than the larger blocks and also involve changing prefixes as time goes by.   Larger publishers of course just purchase an initial block of 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 ISBNs and then they have the right to use those numbers, all with the same prefix, far into the foreseeable future.  (As another aside, I came across a website that suggested that in the future book and media reviewers will be able to discern the size of a publishing/media house by its ISBN; as far as I know, that's not possible now.)
 
4.  The tooth fairy doesn't put ISBNs under your pillow, Jessica.  Somebody somewhere is in charge of assigning them to your titles.  The ones you distribute that are produced by others would, of course, come with ISBNs already assigned (and with a variety of prefixes, one for each publisher).  But for any that Kino actually publishes, someone on your staff (or possibly an outside contractor like a copyright/permissions professional or lawyer) assigns the ISBN.
 
So, there you have it.  I'll probably bite the bullet and purchase a pricey block of ISBNs, but then, I've been in business for 20 years.  It does seem to me unfortunate that a system is evolving that greatly disadvantages startup and micro publishers.  The ISBN system is fabulous; it's just too bad that the US ISBN price system is structured the way it is.
 
Many thanks again for this listserv.
 
Jocelyn Riley
HerOwnWords.com
NontraditionalCareers.com
 
 
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