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Topic: Short ISBNs

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Subject: Short ISBNs
Date Posted: 1/16/2009 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,177
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Can someone remind me if short ISBNs are fake/not working numbers? I am in desperate need to "prune" my WL so I can add some more books. I have a couple scenarios where I have a book with a number of different ISBNs listed b/c I really just want the book any way I can get - HC, PB, etc. If the 5-digit (or so) ISBNs are really something that will NEVER show up on PBS, I can remove them and free up a few spaces. Then again, why would they be in the system if they didn't represent a book, right? So maybe they ARE legit? Is it something where the chance of getting a book like that is a total shot in the dark? If so, I'd probably remove those to make the room. Thanks!

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 1/16/2009 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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The "short ISBN's" represent a book - a single copy of a book. In theory, they could be posted, if the person who got that book ever posts it again. Also, it's possible someone will not follow the rules, and post a book with the same short-ISBN as someone else, because they figure it's the same binding, year, etc., and they're not really familiar with the rules.

But the odds of somebody posting a short-ISBN book that has zero copies in the system right now are VERY SLIM.

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,177
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Thanks Rick. I think I will remove the "shorties" to make room for my other wanteds.

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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Heather,

Those system-generated (fake) ISBN's are for books that cannot be posted using a "real" number, for whatever reason. They are not "supposed" to be re-used, so the odds are almost zero that you'll get your book that way. A better bet would be to search by that author's name every so often, being pleasantly surprised when another edition is there for the asking. That method has worked well for me, including learning about other books by a writer whose work I liked.

Good Luck,

John