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Topic: Need your opinion

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Subject: Need your opinion
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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Last Edited on: 9/18/13 11:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,282
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I think there are several things that you might be able to do to improve your chances of getting the books that you want.

First, I don't think you could complain to the senders and get your credits back. The only things that have to match the PBS listing when mailing a book are the 1. title, 2. author, 3. ISBN (if the book is new enough to have an ISBN which it sounds like yours do not), 4. binding type, and 5. large print (if the listing says large print).

So, nothing else has to match from the PBS listing. Not the publication date, not the cover, nothing.

So, unfortunately, I think you are stuck with the books you got and the credits you spent.

BUT, in the future, here is what I would do if I was you:

1. I would construct a "Requestor's Condition" to apply to these special book requests. In it, describe exactly what you are looking for, the publication date, what the book looks like, everythign that will help people decide if they have the copy that you are looking for. Be as polite as possible (because some people get grumpy about the "tone" of RCs). Include your nickname so that people can contact you about the request.

That's really the best way to ensure that the "extra" things you want are included in the book request. Plus, if the sender mails something that is against a request that you made in the RC, like having the wrong publication date, you can then legitimately mark the book "RWAP" and request your credit back for breaking your RC.

2. Construct a request for the books you are looking for in the Book Bazaar. Someone who has the books you are looking for may see it and respond.

3. You can also do a search on Boxer's shelves and then contact anybody who has the book via PM befor eyou order it. (Unfortunately, with regualr search, you won't be able to see who has the book before you make the order, thus the need for a RC on a regular book order).

Good luck getting the exact copies that you want!

Last Edited on: 3/13/12 3:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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Also, since these books must have been posted without an ISBN, the publication date listed on the entry shouldn't matter now — these entries are supposed to be used only once. So asking PBS to make corrections won't really accomplish anything.

I understand your frustration at having someone pull the wrong date off a book for a listing. It seems like we should be able to rely on that. One thing that might have happened is this: At some point in the past, someone with a 1928 copy really did post to PBS, creating a no-ISBN (short ID number) entry. That book later was removed from the system (having been requested or deleted or whatever), but the entry remained. Your sender else came along, did a search by title and author, and posted their copy to the existing no-ISBN entry. Either they didn't pay attention to the copyright date listed, or they figured that it didn't matter, since the 1928 was given in their copy, too. This is one reason that we're asked not to re-use no-ISBN entries like this one.

That's just an idea, of course, and may not be what happened. I hope you eventually get just the books you want!

Date Posted: 3/13/2012 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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Last Edited on: 9/18/13 11:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Short ISBN listings can be re-used to relist the same exact book.

Date Posted: 3/13/2012 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,282
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the ISBN indicates the publisher and publication date

I am not sure that that is so. Or, at least, maybe that is sometimes true, but I don't think its universal. Some publishers re-use the same ISBN for totally different books. And, I frequently see ISBNs re-used all the time for reprints (with new publication dates) of books 10 or 15 years after their first issue.

Date Posted: 3/13/2012 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
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What Sara said.  I've frequently come across publishers that re-use ISBN numbers.  So in general that would be true, but not true across the board. 


Date Posted: 3/13/2012 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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Last Edited on: 9/18/13 11:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I think it is this way because PBS was set up to swap books and to read, rather then allowing people to collect sets. (not saying its wrong or what but its not my site). So all they care about is, you can getting X time by X author in X binding. Rather then the edition it is if that publisher uses the same ISBN. I know there was a small time local travel book publisher who reused ISBN's all the time so you had no clue if it was the 1999 edition or the 2005 edition of Hiking Trails in Big Sur.

Just not seeing what doesnt matter about all the posting guidelines, most of them mae total sense to me.

Create an RC that states what you are looking for.


Date Posted: 3/13/2012 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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I've never heard that the ISBN is tied to a date and haven't seen that consistantly applied at all, quite opposite actually. All print runs of a verion of a book by the same publisher can, and frequently do, bear the same ISBN. Even across different bindings sometimes. Only when a new publishing company reissues the book would a new ISBN be gotten. If the book is republished 20 times as a mass market paperback with a fresh cover by the same publlisher, all 20 times it may have the same ISBN.

A Requester Condition is really the only way to ensure an exact edition of a book since image and pub date are two items the site says doesn't have to match since they do not affect the content at all. 

Date Posted: 3/13/2012 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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If the book is republished 20 times as a mass market paperback with a fresh cover by the same publlisher, all 20 times it may have the same ISBN.


A good example is Stephen King. Whole runs of his paperback books have been reissued with different covers several times. They very often have repeating ISBNs and, if you order one, you usually have no idea what the cover is going to look like.

Last Edited on: 3/13/12 7:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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From Wikipedia: (according to the explanation below, there's just no room to include anything related to pub year in the ISBN.)

An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned after January 1, 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. An International Standard Book Number consists of 4 or 5 parts:

  1. for a 13-digit ISBN, a GS1 prefix: 978 or 979 (indicating the industry; in this case, 978 denotes book publishing)
  2. the group identifier, (language-sharing country group)
  3. the publisher code,
  4. the item number (title of the book)and
  5. a checksum character or check digit.


Last Edited on: 3/13/12 8:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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For books of that era Anna, you are probably going to run into difficulties because of the ISBN's, which were not in general use until about the late 1960's.  They were not particularly uniform (reprints, sets, etc.) for another 20 or 30 years later.

If the books you want were printed without an ISBN, they are listed here at PBS under a short ISBN...and those entries should not be edited (unless you created the original entry and posted the book).  PBS short ISBNs are not intended to be reused, and therefore should not be edited.

Your best option is the RC and other ideas posted above.

Regarding re-used ISBN's.  Yes, it is still done in some genre.  I've been picking up some classics to donate to a local school, and many of these seem to be published for years (even decades) under the same ISBN.  Here's an example:

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin :: Harriet Beecher Stowe
ISBN-13: 9780060806187 - ISBN-10: 0060806184

The publication date for this book is listed as 1970, yet this same book with the same ISBN (even the same cover, although this is not always the case) is still being produced and sold new today.  So when I order a copy of this book, I've no idea if I'm going to get a 40 year old copy or a copy purchased new last week.  Both are the same ISBN, and both could be properly posted to PBS FIFO.

Another example is Lord of the Flies, ISBN 9780399501487.  The publication date appears as 1959, and yet this book can still be purchased brand new under the same ISBN. 

So I'm a little lost as to how a date is tied to the ISBN number?

Last Edited on: 3/13/12 11:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1