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Topic: I have a wish for a book that has no ISBN and is not in the PBS data base.

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Subject: I have a wish for a book that has no ISBN and is not in the PBS data base.
Date Posted: 3/19/2011 2:06 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2009
Posts: 279
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Is it possible to put such a book on my wishlist? And if so, how?

The book is COCO by Dilys Powell and was published in 1952.

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 3:36 AM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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The answer in general is no.  (I have several like this book on my own personal WL, kind of sucks that this "Used Book" site appears to cater to the crowd who wants the new releases not the truly used books, but I'm mostly wining here as I have certainly gained significantly through the site despite the fact that I want a lot of non-ISBN books).

From what I have gathered to date you have two options.

Option #1 (Haven't tried):  Create a thread in the Book Bazaar forum saying what you are looking for (aka titled ISO Coco by Dilys Powell).

Option #2 (Have had limited success with): Create a Saved Search.  This is an option with the Advanced Search and Search drop-down menu above.  I haven't run into any of the books I want that don't have entries yet (it should be a really long wait for these), but I have run into several that are pre-ISBN on my personal Wish List in this fashion.  You will need to periodically run all of your Saved Searches (I open them up in another browser tab).

This brings up a question I would add for others who respond to this question.  Would it be worthwhile to create a large ISO Non-ISBN Thread in the Book Bazaar (similar to the other monthly threads)?  I'm more than willing to pioneer such a thread if there is interest.

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 8:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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Would it be worthwhile to create a large ISO Non-ISBN Thread in the Book Bazaar

I think this would be a great idea, I don't know how successful it would be as far as ISO goes, since the chances of someone having the book you're looking for (and reading the thread) would be pretty slim, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  I think the thread should be ISO/Offering though, (or one for each) because I would love to know what non-ISBN books people have for trade.  Even though it IS possible to post older books, and to look for them by publication date, it might stimulate interest in older books to have them advertised in the Forum.

I can't think of a reason not to have the thread, it wouldn't go against any PBS policies.  The trades could even be made official by having the person offering post the book as a non-ISBN.


Date Posted: 3/19/2011 8:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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The site doesn't "cater" to those who only what new releases.  There's probably just no real way to put books that never had an ISBN in the system in a such away that a # assigned to them could be used by multiple people for multiple copies.  ISBNs didn't come into full use until the 90's or even later.  (I still run into the occasional book from the late 90's that has no ISBN on it at all). 

In this case, I would probably just buy a used copy from Alibris where they have them starting at $6.  Which tells me it's probably not a hard to find, high demand, rare book.  Amazon has one listed as like new for $5 (plus 3.99 shipping). 

Last Edited on: 3/19/11 8:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/19/2011 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,570
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You might also try posting an ISO in the Biography forum.  There might be someone there who has a copy they'd like to post, but hasn't since it doesn't have an ISBN.

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2008
Posts: 193
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Another book trading website uses Amazon ID #'s for such books.  A similar idea would be nice here as well, books without ISBN tied to another database.  I have a handful of books on my external wishlist that I can't wish here, for this reason.  I imagine a lot of people don't bother posting them since posting a not-in-system book is a complete pain in the rump here.

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,204
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Since the book has no ISBN by default the book cannot be a wish list book, then asking for it in your signature line would not be prohibited so I would recommend that. You would get much more coverage than a thread in the Bazaar because anywhere you post people would see you want it. You could also add something in your profile. I would do these in addition to something in the Book Bazaar so that you can get your search in front of as many eyes as possible.

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2009
Posts: 279
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Thank you for all your suggestions.

One question: what does ISO mean?

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,481
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In Search Of

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I have wondered if there would be a practical way to use the Library of Congress catalog # to list books that are too old to have an ISBN. 

Date Posted: 3/19/2011 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,522
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My very favorite books  have no ISBN's.. And I am ISO more.