Re: [Videolib] ISBN #s

Jessica Rosner (
Thu, 23 Mar 2006 15:51:57 -0500

Alas unless there was some kind of "proof" that having an ISBN number would
result in say 50 to 75 ADDDITIONAL sales per title I think our video dept
would be very cynical about spending anything on this. Apparently no
wholesaler has ever brought it up to them and that is about the only thing
they would notice

On 3/23/06 3:07 PM, "Stephanie Andrew" <> wrote:

> In fact, New Yorker, Wellspring, Koch Lorber, and Wellspring are among the
> imprints who do have ISBNs. Kino, Milestone, WMM, and CA Newsreel are
> among those that don't. Very occasionally, I've run into a big distributor
> title which doesn't have one.
> Someone undoubtedly knows the statistics, but I think most library workers
> looking for recent materials routinely first search OCLC, etc. by
> ISBN. It's much more likely to bring up a single, matching record than a
> title search does. And ordering by ISBN instead of title makes it easier
> to specify and get a particular edition of a title which has different
> editions. Collectively, the ISBN system has saved lots of library time and
> money. It was, and is, a good idea.
> Stephanie Andrew
> Film Study Center
> Yale University
> At 12:48 PM 3/23/2006, you wrote:
>> 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
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Videolib mailing list
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Videolib mailing list
>> Proud Resident of a BLUE STATE
>> Jessica Rosner
>> Kino International
>> 333 W 39th St. 503
>> NY NY 10018
>> 212-629-6880
>> _______________________________________________
>> Videolib mailing list
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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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