Re: [Videolib] ISBN #s

Jessica Rosner (
Thu, 23 Mar 2006 12:48:38 -0500

It seems that some of our older films ( DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, COME AND SEE)
have them but most newer ones don't. I am afraid this is not anything we
would pursue or pay for on our own so I assume most of our films will not
have them. I would be surprised if companies like New Yorker, Wellspring,
Koch Lorber etc have them either but I don't really know.

On 3/23/06 9:44 AM, "Marlene Graham" <> wrote:

> Jessica
> FYI, I noted that a Kino title listed in the New York Public Library
> database does not have an ISBN number. What it has is a Dynix number that
> was assigned by the library.
> At Cinema Guild and Third World Newsreel where I was the distribution
> director they purchase and assign ISBN numbers.
> Cheers,
> Marlene
> Marlene Graham (aka Afua Kafi-Akua)
> Media Resources Manager
> York College
> The City University of New York
> Center for Academic Computing and Education Technology
> Academic Core Building, 4G02A
> 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
> Jamaica, NY 11451
> Phone: 718-262-2753
> Fax: 718-262-2114
> Quoting
>> Sorry I realize I am so out of the loop on this I was confusing them
>> with OCLC numbers or records. We definately don't pay for ISBN
>> numbers in fact
>> our video dept has never heard of them. I suppose that means our
>> titles do not
>> have them but I really don't know. It has honestly never come up at all.
>> I know that various wholesalers buy our stuff and resell it pre-catalogued
>> but am totally clueless as to if that means that they get them ISBN
>> numbers or they don't have them.
>> Quoting
>>> 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
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Proud Resident of a BLUE STATE

Jessica Rosner
Kino International
333 W 39th St. 503
NY NY 10018

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