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Topic: How do you place a book not listed in system on your wishlist?

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Subject: How do you place a book not listed in system on your wishlist?
Date Posted: 4/10/2010 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 759
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Up to this point, if a book wasn't listed in the system after thoroughly checking, I just gave up trying to find it or put it on my wishlist. I got motivated today to check it out. Does anyone know how to put a book on your wishlist that's not listed in the system?

One idea I had would be to post it into the system under "No ISBN" and then take it off my shelf. I haven't tried it because, I didn't know if that was against the rules.

Any ideas?

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
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Generating a non-ISBN listing wouldn't necessarily work all that well, as technically we aren't supposed to re-use them.  Plus, if the book has an ISBN, the poster would be unlikely to use a non-isbn listing. 


From what I understand, the act of searching for a title, if said title is absenst from the database, triggers the process by which books are added, so you might just want to try again later on. 

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
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Do not create a short (5 digit) ISBN number to wishlist a book, where you don't have a valid ISBN number for it.

If you know the ISBN, but the PBS system has no record of the book, you could put your bookshelf on "hold", post the ISBN to your shelf as though you actually owned a copy (filling in the data fields yourself), IMMEDIATELY delete if from your shelf, take your shelf off "hold" status, and then wishlist that ISBN. I do this with British books on occasion.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
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I guess the question is: Do books listed without ISBNs trigger alternate version wishlist, notifications? I know spelling variations, and the inclusion of initials and middle names can exclude titles from the main author's listings page and create a separate author page.

I know of situations when I have placed books on my bookshelf without ISBNs that were wishlisted otherwise did not show up as wishlist holds on my account. I also know many wishlisted books get lost in the system. The good thing is, if you're a diligent detective you can get lucky!

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
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I don't think so; the use of non-ISBN listings is pretty limited.  Does the title you'd like to add to your WL have an ISBN, or are you asking about non-ISBN listings just because this particular book's ISBN doesn't yet have a listing? 

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
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Do books listed without ISBNs trigger alternate version wishlist notifications?

No, the system-generated (short) ISBN's are not "synchronized" with the database.



Last Edited on: 4/10/10 7:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/10/2010 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 759
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"Do not create a short (5 digit) ISBN number to wishlist a book, where you don't have a valid ISBN number for it."

That brings up a question, how are those 5 digit numbers generated anyway? I thought they were automated only, then still didn't know what they were. What function do they serve?

I HAVE posted books without an ISBN onto an existing listing that matched perfectly. I don't like seeing the big mess of old listings. It clutters up the page with useless entries. They should be deleted if they can never be used again.

It is actually to your advantage to create your own listing. You can make it more enticing than other listings by scanning in an image, posting a review and a book blurb and by paying special attention to the book details.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 759
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Do books listed without ISBNs trigger alternate version wishlist notifications?

No, the system-generated (short) ISBN's are not "synchronized" with the database.

That partially answers my question above.  Which might be a clue to the other question. The system generated 5 digits could be designed to make that listing unique and an island unto itself, so as not to be re-used?

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
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Those 5 digit numbers are automatically generated. They take the place of real ones for purposes of "tracking" trades (best way I can put it).

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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The 5-6 digit ISBNs are indeed computer generated by the system, and they serve only the purpose of giving the book a reference number. They are not connected to the actual ISBN'd copies in anyway other than, when doing a title search only, they will show up. But, they do not always show up when doing just an author search.

As for why the old non-reusable short ISBNs are not removed, one primary factor is that it makes the database numbers look more enticing for the owners when they are looking for financial or promotional support.

Making your own listing may seem like a good idea at first, but, when you come to realize that it's very easily over looked, it really isn't as enticing as it seems. Requestor's aren't going to see your listing, unless there a no listings under the regular ISBNs or unless they are already on your shelf looking for something else. Then you fancied up listing  may be to your advantage, but still not as good as getting it listed in the FIFO for the ISBN listed on the book.

One of the keys to searching for your book, is to seach first by title & author, then by both along WITH the ISBN. I don't know how many times I've done that and not found it the first time, but found it the second time with wishers already listed. I've searched for it by ISBN only too, and not found it. Seems to me, in my experiences, that all three seem to make up the pull. I don't know.

People sometimes ask why a certain ISBN isn't 'connected' to the rest of the copies listed in the database, and I have to wonder if those aren't ones where people did as suggested above, to put your account on hold and post the book as if you had it in hand, and enter all the information. I wonder if those aren't the ones that are connected with the rest of the ISBNs that came from the publisher of the database. Interesting question.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 759
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"Making your own listing may seem like a good idea at first, but, when you come to realize that it's very easily over looked, it really isn't as enticing as it seems. Requestor's aren't going to see your listing, unless there a no listings under the regular ISBNs or unless they are already on your shelf looking for something else. Then you fancied up listing  may be to your advantage, but still not as good as getting it listed in the FIFO for the ISBN listed on the book."

Hi Sherry,  I was definitely only talking about no ISBN situations when making my own listing. To clarify, if an item was inadvertantly listed under an existing 5 digit listing that was previously used, is it essentially invisible? Another question is: if re-using a 5-digit is not allowed why wouldn't the system reject the listing? which would actually benefit the member by preventing them from potentially posting an invisible listing.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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Do books listed without ISBNs trigger alternate version wishlist, notifications?

I just wanted to point out that those notifications only go out on available in the system books, so no matter what ISBN you have on your Wish List, that e-mail will not go out on a posting of another ISBN until it is no longer Wish Listed.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
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I meant to say thanks, Sherry for even further encouraging persistent detective work. That entering ISBNs might not even reveal a books existence in the system, but not necessarily in stock,  (when I know I've entered it correctly) makes me want to double check more. I do constant cross-checking on Amazon for reviews, etc...9 times out of 10 an ISBN in their system will be in PBS, mainly because that's where we get our database, from what I hear, correct?

I don't think I have ever done all three, especially as a policy :). Just today I was looking up old books from the 1920's-1950's and trying every angle to find them with a few pleasant surprises.

This thread is fun. It makes me feel like a PBS scientist, technician/detective.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 759
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"I just wanted to point out that those notifications only go out on available in the system books, so no matter what ISBN you have on your Wish List, that e-mail will not go out on a posting of another ISBN until it is no longer Wish Listed."

Melanie, that's a good point. I was aware of that. People are only in FIFO under the ISBNs they originally specify. The trick is finding alternate versions only the dust bunnies know about. Which is getting harder to find hidden gems and easier  to find what you're looking for in the first place with the new alternate version wishlist feature.

I'm right at 200 pretty much all the time, I have to resist the temptation to wishlist multiple versions of a title, which causes me to run out of space for other books. I don't mind the 200 limit. In fact I was one of the ones who pushed to keep it limited unlike SwapaCD. Unlimited book wishlists would just get out of control!