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Topic: Why so many ISBNs?

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Subject: Why so many ISBNs?
Date Posted: 1/13/2009 11:28 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 74
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I was wondering why there would be multiple ISBNs for a new book.  One for hardback and one for paperback, I get that, but why would there be two or three different paperback ISBNs?  

I followed the advice of someone on this thread to wishlist all the various ISBNs, since I don't care which version (assuming the text of them is the same).

Is there any way to tell if there is a significant difference between books with different ISBNs?



Date Posted: 1/13/2009 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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Hi Victoria-

There are different ISBNs for different versions of the books. For instance a paperback or a mass market paperback. Sometimes (as I recently learned) they have different publishers too.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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plus you also have the large print edition but you don't always know it is a large print edition

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 61
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There are also editions printed in other countries...

Editions printed different years.  Different covers.

Depends on how old the book is, actually.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Also some stores like Walmart or book clubs have their own editions.  Sometimes if a book has been reissued several times it'll have several different ISBN#'s because publisher's change, or they updated the book or whatever.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2006
Posts: 221
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Also some publishers use the same ISBN for different formats ....which can really throw a wrench in the works....

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 745
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I work for a printer and this is my opinion. If the publisher/printer does not use the exact same set of plates to print the book, it should have a different ISBN.