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Topic: I keep getting the wrong edition. Could there be a problem with ISBNs?

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Subject: I keep getting the wrong edition. Could there be a problem with ISBNs?
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2005
Posts: 27
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I've been trying to order a book -- Hannibal by Thomas Harris -- but a specific edition, the trade paperback (published by Delta, with ISBN 0385339488 or 978-0385339483, not that that really matters). I keep getting the mass market paperback (published by Dell, with ISBN 0-440-22467-5 -- again, not that it matters, but they claim to be two separate printings).

If it were just once or twice, I'd think it was a mistake -- like maybe someone entered the ISBN but mistakenly clicked "This is the book I have." But I've placed four orders and gotten four wrong books.

Now I'm wondering if there could be some confusion with the ISBNs.  I've looked at the MMPB and there's definitely only one ISBN on it (4675), on both the back cover and also inside the book.  Could the 488/483 ISBN accidentally be pointing to both editions?  I know PBS gets its data from Amazon; could something be wrong on their end?  Is there's another potential cause that I'm just not thinking of?



Last Edited on: 1/6/09 5:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,139
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No, it really can't be a problem in the database. You can prove this to yourself by reposting one of the four incorrect books you got. If this book shows up on your own bookshelf with the ISBN you entered, then there's nothing wrong in the database. Unfortunately, there really are that many members who are unable to read and understand the word "EXACTLY", as in "Does your book match EXACTLY the ISBN, author, title and book type on the listing."

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2005
Posts: 27
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Fastest response ever!  Thanks, Cathy.  I tried your suggestion of posting the book myself, and you're right.  I guess it's good to know that nothing's wrong with the system, and that it works the way I thought it did.  On the minus side, I suppose now I'll have to see if the fifth time is the charm.

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2006
Posts: 472
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The problem is most likely members who are posting wrong, but try what Cathy suggested to check, because I don't think it's impossible for there to be a programming error.

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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I have had the same exact problem with other books- specifically, two books in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  I can tell you from what I have been through that sometimes the ISBN is shared between the mmpb and the trade versions, so what I would do is check this with Amazon.  Just type in the ISBN to the search and see what comes up, then look at all of the other versions that are listed to see if any of the ISBNs are reused.   This is how I verified that for the books I wanted, the ISBN was unique for each the mmpb and the trade versions.  However...I kept getting the wrong versions anyway.  After the third mmpb arrived, I did my research and determined that no, it wasn't an ISBN confusion issue, it was that the books were being posted incorrectly.  The ISBNs of the books I received were nowhere close to the ones I had WLed.  I asked one of the senders of one of my wrong books what happened, and she confirmed my suspicion that she had clicked on that "Is this your book?" button and not realized that it was a completely different version of the book.  I had to put a RC on to make sure that the ISBN matched, and  after that, I must have had at least half a dozen requests declined due to the the book being a mmpb instead of the trade I requested.  I finally received one of the books I wanted just the other day, and the other is on its way, so I have hope that my saga is nearly over.  I would recommend putting on a RC- it may take awhile to get the book you want, but it will at least weed out the ones you don't want.  Just be careful how you word it- keep it as simple as possible.  Mine said "I have specific versions of certain books wish listed, so my only request is that you make sure that the ISBN of your book matches the ISBN of the book I have requested.  Thank you, and have a great day!"

Good luck, I hope you get the book you want- just be prepared to be patient!

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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Elizabeth:

Not that you should have to do this, but when you go to order this particular book, you might want to put a Requestor Condition on it and remind the people to double check the ISBN (you could even put the ISBN you are looking for). You do have the option of marking it then that the requestor condtions were not met.

Of course now that I think of it--you should be marking the books you did receive as Wrong Book received.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,139
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I think when this happens it's often because people see the cover picture and it doesn't match the book they have in their hands, so they pick a different version that does match. Of course at PBS cover image is the thing that does not have to match, but a lot of people just do not read the post book page.