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Topic: searching for no isbn books

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Subject: searching for no isbn books
Date Posted: 3/16/2010 6:29 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 695
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Someone on the book bazaar asked people to list their books with no isbn's.  She didn't list any particular genre. I thought this could get really overwhelming for people who post and for her.  Plus most people don't ever go to the Bazaar. I was curious if there was any way to do a search of non isbn books.  I didn't see anything in the help docs.  I can ask pbs but I thought the people here are so knowledgeable you might know the answer.



Date Posted: 3/16/2010 7:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2005
Posts: 330
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Here's some info from the help center, The only way to search NON iBSN book's is by their name, SInce The IBSN that is generated Only is for that ONE copy


Non-ISBN items are items Posted by a member onto his or her bookshelf using a customized (not pre-existing) listing.  This is necessary when:

  • The book being posted has no ISBN
  • The book does have an ISBN, but the PBS database is using that ISBN for another version (binding type or Large Print)  of the book
  • The book does have an ISBN, but the PBS database is using that ISBN for a completely different book (this is rare, but it does happen that publishers reuse ISBNs) 
  • The book does have an ISBN, but the PBS database does not include a listing for it.

A book that is posted using the Post Book Without an ISBN feature will be listed on PBS with a "short ISBN" (usually 5 or 6 digits).

The posting member created this listing using the Post Books Without an ISBN link on the Post Books page, entering the information manually that applies to his or her specific copy of the book (this information includes book dimensions and book description).  This means that:

  • Non-ISBN items (Items listed with "short" (5-digit) numbers in place of the ISBN) cannot be edited using the Edit Book Data link at the bottom of each page on the site.
    • This is because each "non-ISBN" item was posted into the system by the member who had that specific copy of the book, when her book did not match any pre-written listing in the system.
      • Thus, each "non-ISBN" item represents one copy of the book, and unless you have that exact copy that was posted using that listing by the original poster, the information (eg, book dimensions) about your copy of the book may not apply.
    • This also means that for a posting member  who posts a book without an ISBN and makes  a typo/mistake in doing so, this cannot be edited after submitting the listing: the listing will need to be removed from the bookshelf and reposted correctly.

Because the listing was created manually, the listing represents only one specific copy of the book, and the book is not linked to any other item in the database, even if the titles are the same.  This means that:

  • non-ISBN books on a Wish List
    • will not trigger "Similar-to-wished-for-item" alerts
    • will not trigger a Wish List offer unless that particular copy is reposted into the system by someone who received it through PBS (using the Repost Books area or TBR Pile)
    •  will not be removed automatically when another version of that title is received through the Wish List.
  • "Short ISBNs"
    • cannot be reused to post another copy of that book (the Post Books field will accept only 10 or 13 digit ISBNs)
      • this is because not all the information the first poster provided about the book may match another book of the same title that needs to be posted without an ISBN
    • cannot be added to a Book List (TBR Pile or Books I've Read) manually.
      • If that copy of the book is received through PBS, it can be added to TBR when it is received
      • If that copy of the book is received through PBS, it can be added to BIR when it is reposted from the TBR Pile or Books to Repost area
  • non-ISBN items on the Club Wish List if no ISBN version of the book is currently wished-for
    • Usually mean that the wishers already got an ISBN version and neglected to remove this non-ISBN version from their Wish Lists
      • this would not have been done automatically by the system when the ISBN version was received, since the items are not linked
    • If you see this, it is likely that no one is actually currently wishing for that title; these are "leftover" wishes

In other words, it is not very effective to put a non-ISBN item in the database onto a Wish List.

Date Posted: 3/16/2010 8:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
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You can't specifically search for non ISBN books, but you can search and find many ISBN books if you're looking for a particular subject.  You can search by keywords, so if you're looking for a subject the non ISBN books will come up as well as those with ISBNs.  And if you're specifically looking for some books with no ISBNs, you can search for books published before a certain year--I think they started using ISBNs some time in the late 1960s?? (just guessing here).   So if you search for books published before then you'll find the books with the PBS specific, 5 digit ISBNs.

Date Posted: 3/16/2010 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I sometimes run across them while searching by title or author.  No idea how to narrow the search by short ISBN tho.