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Topic: Books on other peoples wish list with incomplete or different isbn #

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Subject: Books on other peoples wish list with incomplete or different isbn #
Date Posted: 5/28/2010 3:00 AM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2009
Posts: 23
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I am very disappointed at this point with using paperback swap. I was able to pick up a few copies of some books I had noticed while browsing that other members had on their wish lists. All are in wonderful condition. The trouble is the ISBN numbers are different then the ones on my books. As far as I can tell they are the same book. I asked what to do about it and was told to post it in the book bazaar of the forum. Unfortunately not every member goes and looks there for any information etc.... I would really like to be able to share these books with the members looking for them. Is there any other way to get the books to these other people?

Most of the ones I have seen the ISBN # are incomplete, and a few are completely different from what are on my books, yet all the other information matches. Please let me know there is another way to swap these books for those who wish to read them.


Date Posted: 5/28/2010 4:11 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Carol, the 'incomplete' ISBN's you are seeing are probably what we call 'Short ISBN'.  AKA identifying numbers assigned by PBS only for use here on the website. 

These are used for books without ISBN, or if the original ISBN applies to several editions (hardcover & paperback).  One would be listed in the regular manner (whichever binding matches the listing), and the other would be posted with a short/incomplete ISBN because the binding didn't match the PBS listing.  There are a couple other situations that require use of the Short ISBN's but the mind is fading tonight!

Also, you can 'tag' the other copies of your book with the ISBN for their edition.  That way other members know where to look!

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Carol - Why don't you just post the books in the system and wait for them to be requested? If members are wishing for the books with other ISBNs, they will get an email saying that a copy of the book they are wishing has been posted (if they have that enabled, that is.)

Also, particular copies of the book - Large Print or in Spanish - stay wishlisted a lot longer than the usual versions, that's why you must be careful not to assume that just because a copy of a book is wishlisted, that the members could use any other version.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Post them like normal and let them be requested.

There's a setting on people accounts where people can chose to be informed by email when a book they've WL'd , but different format than they've asked for, has been posted.  While it may be that they don't realize there are other versions out there, many people have one specific book they're looking for, and have the email option turned off because they really aren't interested in any of the other editions.

If you're got internet access while out and about, you can go to the PBS mobile site, (down below, under "Search for a Book", at the bottom) and check the book's ISBN number against the WL listing. So you won't pick up an edition that's not what people are looking for.

Otherwise, you just have to be careful on what you pick up while you're out, and that you don't want to bring home a book you can't have on your shelf for a while and wait for it to be ordered. Even when books are WL, and they're the correct ISBN, there's no guarentee that it will get ordered. Sometimes people change their minds on a book when the order comes in. So the ordering process gets dragged out as it goes through wishers.

Since the WL is reall specific on what books people want, you have to be careful to be specific too, if you need that book to go out fast.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2009
Posts: 23
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Denise thank you for telling me about tags. I did not know about them. Its not that I am in any hurry to send the books out, it is that I have a bunch of other books I would like to put up also, but I am limited to how much I can send in any given time frame. So I try to find books people would like to have.


D.G. The books I have are not special in any way as in spanish language, large print etc... They are normal everyday run of the mill paperbacks.


Cindy, I wish I had internet access while I was out and about.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If you are talking about the Dan Brown books-his books are usually very heavily posted.  I just looked and there's about 80 of his titles WL but most are Lost Symbol (his newest) and the non-reusable IBNS.  Put your editions on the reminder list and most likely there are a lot of copies posted already. So you need to get them posted and working up FIFO.  The ones on WL are pretty much audio or large print. I suspect those non-reusable ISBNs that are still WL are inactive accounts that are left over from when the book was a new issue and every version was WL. 

Same goes for the Tom Clancy's. The WL is mostly for audio version, large print and those darn PBS issued 5 digit ISBNs. Those are only supposed to be used for one edition but people WL them when WL ing a book because they WL every version. Then they abandon their PBS account and the WL is just left there.

ETA:all the books on your shelf are very heavily posted-so if they are the ones you are talking about-the people who have them on WL just don't want those versions or are inactive.  Doesn't mean they won't get ordered but it might take some time.

Last Edited on: 5/28/10 5:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/28/2010 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,350
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The other advice here is right on.  I wanted to add that when a newer member is adding a title to his wish list, he'll often go through and wish list every title he sees, including the "short ISBNs".  (The site doesn't recommend adding these to our wish lists: See  About non-ISBN items at PBS.  But I know I did it when I first joined.)

When they do receive their regular ISBN wish listed book, they forget to go back and delete the non-ISBNs from their wish list.  So if most of the copies of the title that you see wishlisted are the short ISBN listings, you can be pretty sure that those members have already received a regular-ISBN copy of the book, and just forgot to clean up their wishlists.

The bottom part of this help doc explains it better than I can smiley

My book's on the Club Wish List, with a different/no ISBN

Last Edited on: 5/28/10 6:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/28/2010 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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D.G. The books I have are not special in any way as in spanish language, large print etc...

Oh I figured that was the case. That's why if you are going to buy books to post, it's better to know which exact ISBN is being wished for.