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Topic: Wishlist - shortened ISBN

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Subject: Wishlist - shortened ISBN
Date Posted: 6/26/2008 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 189
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Like many members, I am in the habit of placing all listed versions of a particular title on my wishlist in the hopes of receiving a copy of the book more quickly.  I was thinking about how the system worked, and it occurred to me that books that have a shortened ISBN (as in one that is assigned by the system) may never come up on a wishlist since they were probably copies entered without an ISBN and therefore long gone.  Is that the case?  Are those just deadweight in my wishlist?  I'm at 200 (putting all the versions of a book on there will get you to 200 FAST!), and would love a little more breathing room...

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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I would say yes they are dead weight. The help center says that people should not reuse those when they post a book, so if everyone followed the rules;) then those short ISBNs will never be used again.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 189
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Oh, thanks.  I had not seen that in the help center.  Very useful information!  Thank you!

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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The 5 digit ISBN's are issued by PBS for books that have no ISBN or where something doesn't match-usually the binding.  It's unlikely to be posted again unless the member who received it under that ISBN reposts it w/the PBS generated ISBN.

Subject: I could see re-using a 5-digit number
Date Posted: 6/26/2008 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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Granted, my situation is rare, but I read a fair amount of non-American books, a few of which don't make it in  here, needing to be posted manually. If my ISBN wasn't found, but a 5-digit one with all other matching details (esp publisher!) was in the system, I'd re-use that existing one.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 6/26/2008 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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IMO, occasionally, the short ISBNs are re-used (I've reused them when I found one that matched a book I was posting that wasn't in the system) but that is so infrequent that those numbers shouldn't be put on Wish List.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 189
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That is probably good advice.  Especially one like mine that is full to bursting!  :-)

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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If you really want a book and you have the WL room to do it I say go for it.  That way all the bases are covered.  I have received a handful of this way, so it's not completely impossible for it to work out.  I don't really count on it but I've been surprised on more than a few occasions by getting a WL offer based on wishing for a 6 digit PBS listing without having moved a bit on the ISBN listing.  It's sort of a grey area, ya know?  You could wish for just one version, you could wish for every single listing in the system, and any number in between.  .

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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The Help Center goes into detail on the hows and whys of non-ISBN items and WLs.


"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."