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Topic: No ISBN....just curious :)

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Subject: No ISBN....just curious :)
Date Posted: 11/10/2010 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2009
Posts: 196
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When you post a book with no ISBN it assigns a short ISBN that is not suppose to be used again for any other copy of the book.   Why does it say for the book description not to put in any information about this copy of the book?   This gets me giggling like a school girl every time I think about it.  :)

Date Posted: 11/10/2010 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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I think what that means is to not put in any information about your particular copy of the book, such as "has a creased cover" or "from a smoking home", etc.  Sometimes people misinterpret that field and think it is where they can describe their copy of the book, not realizing that it goes into a database about the book title/isbn.

Date Posted: 11/10/2010 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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Exactly, you should absolutely put in a full description of the story.

Just don't comment on the condition of your specific copy.

Date Posted: 11/10/2010 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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Her question is not as simple as that, though. Normally, these cautions apply, because it goes into the database and will, in all likelihood, be re-used. But when you're posting a book without an ISBN, the situation is different. That ID number (not an ISBN at all) is not normally re-used, but applies only to your specific book. I can see why she would wonder why there is a caution against posting specific information.

I can actually imagine why they might say this, though. Those fake, short ISBNs do indeed show up later, when people do a search on the title, for example. Someone else could easily re-use your description, couldn't they? In that case, your description of your personal copy won't apply.

I admit that I have never fully understood the purpose of letting those short ISBNs stay in the system, since I suspect that it causes some confusion for less-experienced members. But as long as they do stay permanently - and as long as it's a possibility that someone else can use that description for their own book - I guess maybe I can see the logic behind sticking to the general description. I see your point, though, Sharon.

Date Posted: 11/10/2010 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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Personally, I don't see why the short ISBN should not be reused .... expecially when you find one that matches exactly all the particulars of your book.

I make a lot of effort when I have a short ISBN to put in an exact description (search the web to find one) and to get a picture if at all possible. It seems a waste to me that all that effort cannot be reused by someone who has another copy of the same book.

I can make a guess why they don't remove the short ISBNs, though ... it would mess up transaction archives, and TRB lists, etc, if they were to start removing book listings from the system.

Date Posted: 11/10/2010 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,354
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And reusing them would the mess up the footprint, too.  When I receive I non-ISBN book, I should be able to repost it from my bookshelf using the same listing, and the system will continue to trace the footprint of that copy.

And as to why we don't describe the condition of the book... since the site is based on FIFO, and on folks following the postability criteria, we don't shop for book based on various condition/price listings.  That's true of all books.  There isn't a separate system set up for non-ISBN listings.

Last Edited on: 11/10/10 11:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/11/2010 2:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What they said.  It means do not post information unique to your specific copy, genral information is good.

Date Posted: 11/11/2010 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
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I do see her point...if this unique ISBN is only for THAT copy, why NOT post specific information about that copy? If the ISBN is recycled, then I can see why not to, but if it isn't....

However, I can also see PBS' viewpoint, in that people seem confused enough about the rules already, so why make a bunch of exceptions that will only baffle them even more? :o)


Date Posted: 11/11/2010 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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Actually, having just posted 600+ books, I can tell you that I reused some of these.  If you go to the page showing all the information of a short ISBN book then there is a button which says "Place This Book".  If all of the information fits your book why should you not re-use this ISBN (it will save DB space).  I was very careful about using this; EVERYTHING should match (pages, publisher, date, etc).

To be honest I would rather there be a system for non-ISBN books as currently there is no FIFO control for them.

EDIT: I also would love to see the ability to choose when more than one book has the same ISBN, but I am assuming this would mean buying a completely new DB as they are probably using one of the cheap hierarchial databases that most places use.  They aren't the best for large amounts of data but in today's world where computer resources are ridiculously cheap there isn't as much negative until you want to do what I said above.

Last Edited on: 11/11/10 10:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/11/2010 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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I do not think resuing a short ISBN would mess up the footprint.

Posting a thousand copies of some book to a long ISBN does not mess up footprints.

I work in software .... my best guess is that they are tracking each instance or copy of a book an internal book ID which we never see (they would have to be doing this, they have to know when each copy is posted and by who in order to make a FIFO ine)  ... and the footprint is an intersection of the "book copy" ID and the transaction info. (So the footprint is derived from a specific copy of a book being 1. posted by member x, mailed, marked received by member y, and then posted by member y.)

Last Edited on: 11/11/10 12:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Daniel T. - ,
Date Posted: 11/12/2010 1:55 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2008
Posts: 272
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When there's ~60 folks wishing for a short ISBN post of the fairly new book, Ape House, they'll never see granted --  I think there could be some improvement.  If the listing cannot be deleted, perhaps blocking the ability to Wish after the Order button changes to Post or suppressing the Wish button on all short ISBN listings.

Last Edited on: 11/12/10 1:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/12/2010 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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Wow, I feel better, I wouldn't even add on to a wish list that was 622 people long. (the Hardback version)