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Topic: Is it worth posting a lot of no-ISBN and/or not in the system books?

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Subject: Is it worth posting a lot of no-ISBN and/or not in the system books?
Date Posted: 2/2/2009 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2005
Posts: 708
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So, I'm having a bit of a debate with myself and I thought I'd bring it here for ya'll to chime in.  I have a box of probably 20+ books.  Some of them are old and were published pre-ISBN, others are just not yet in the system (mostly foreign language titles).  Have you posted not-in-the-system books and seen them move?  I'm just debating whether I want to go through the extra effort of measuring each book to put the right dimensions in, blah, blah, all that extra stuff they ask about a not-yet-in-the-system book.  If they're just going to sit on my shelves and take up space for months, I'm going to feel pretty dumb for spending the time vs. just taking them to Goodwill.

What would you do?

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,392
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In my experience, non-ISBN books didn't move well for me.  I think I did move a few, but not many and finally pulled them and really don't post them any more.  That's just my experience though.  Pat

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2008
Posts: 173
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I think in certain categories, non-ISBN books move better than in others. For example, I just sent out a non-ISBN true crime book the other day. It takes a bit longer to post them, of course, a little more time and trouble.

From the other side, I hope not everyone will quit posting non-ISBN books, since there are several I search for from time to time, by title or author, and would love to see turn up!

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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One thing that can be helpful for you is to look up the title and author ond type (PB vs. HB)in the "advanced search" feature.  You may find that others have previously listed this version of the book previously and it is then easy to list it by piggybacking on these listings.  I have done this several times successfully.  It's worth a try, anyway.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,670
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I've only posted a couple of non-ISBN books and both moved fairly quickly for me.  I'd definitely do it again, you never know what someone else is looking for.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
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I've both sent out and ordered quite a few. It's very important that they have descriptions and covers if you want people to order them.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2005
Posts: 708
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Yeah...that's kinda what I thought.  This is all kinda obscure stuff, no other versions in the system, no cover images to be found on Google.  There are a few I think I'll end up posting, but the march 1976 copy of a french poetry journal...not so much.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts!


ETA: posTing, not "posing"

Last Edited on: 2/2/09 10:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2009 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Those 5 digit PBS generated ISBN's are only supposed to be used once. 

I have found that most of the ones I've posted have gone quickly because they were out of print.   Just make sure you have all the info and a picture of the book.  You can probably find a lot of the info on Amazon.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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My suggestion is that you should post them.  Lots of people are looking for obscure books.  If there's a re-issued book with an ISBN you can tag it with your PBS 5 digit number and maybe get them moving that way.  Also put them in your signature line and post on the boards.  Post about them in the different genre sections.  Mainly it's getting the word out.  Do a review of them - they usually end up on the Homepage for a little while.  Don't be afraid no one will want them until enough time has passed to say no one wants them.  Also there's always the "Hidden Gems" section to post in..


Date Posted: 2/3/2009 12:38 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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You can always try posting the titles in the Book Bazaar first to see if you have any takers then post them to your shelf. I have had good luck with non-ISBN books moving.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,043
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As someone who is actively looking for some OOP books, I say post them!  I have found that most of the books I post without an ISBN get requested pretty quickly!

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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You can also hit the genre forums and ask the question whether the books/authors in question are sought-after. I'm sure that the folks who read the genres in question might be able to provide some valuable input.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 353
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Ruthy wrote: "If there's a re-issued book with an ISBN you can tag it with your PBS 5 digit number and maybe get them moving that way."

This is a fabulous idea - wish I'd had it! ;-)

I'll throw in another vote for posting OOP books if you can. Old French poetry? Compilation? Author? DW is something of a poet and remembers a bit of French... (you just never know, eh?)

I've been looking for some familiarish YA stories in Spanish, myself..

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 69
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I would post them, and even post the French Poetry book. I tend to collect obscure poetry books and there must be some French-speaking PBSers that do too. You never know what will get a hit

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I'd post them.  You never know what people are looking for, and I think most people search by title, not ISBN.  I collect a lot of vintage science fiction myself, and periodically I'll do a title search for stuff I'm looking for.  I've ordered a ton of non-ISBN books, and had quite a few ordered from my shelf.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2007
Posts: 87
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I have moved quite a few pre-ISBN books!  I would definitely encourage you to post them, even the French poetry book.  I ran into someone's profile the other day who actively searches for French language books for her husband. 

It is essential to include a good cover image and a description.  I have done this for books I have never read (I post a lot of rescued books), by looking first on Amazon, and then simply by googling the title (in quotes), the author (in quotes), or both (with each in quotes).  I look through the results and see what I can find.  I can't remember not being able to find both a cover image and a description.  The description may not be long, but it's there.

It's true that several of my pre-ISBN books are still on my bookshelf since I signed up.  So are several of my books with ISBNs.  I don't give up on them, because I still get requests for books that have been on my bookshelf for a long time.  They're just waiting for the right person to come along and do a search.

To help me be patient while the books wait, I have them neatly stacked and boxed up in an easy-to-reach corner.  That way, they're easy to get to, but they are not clogging my shelves.

There have been a number of books that I have posted that I have been convinced no one will want, only to have them be some of the fastest to go!  You just never know.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,719
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A lot of the books I am looking for are pre-ISBN, mostly 40s and 50s "cozy" romance novels. I love it when I find someone who has a bunch of older books posted!

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Nicole - I just ordered a book off your shelf. It looks like you have a lot of really interesting things. I vote for you to post!
Date Posted: 2/4/2009 5:40 AM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2005
Posts: 146
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I haven't posted and books without ISBN myself but I have ordered quite a few so by any means go ahead and post yours. You never know, maybe you'd make someone's day.

Date Posted: 2/4/2009 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
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You can also place tags on the books in case someone is searching by tag subject.

Date Posted: 2/4/2009 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2006
Posts: 221
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I have a stack of 1970's-80's era Gothics that I posted a few of but still have a bunch to go. I bought these new in the 70's and 80's.

It truely is a pain to post these Non-ISBN books. The books have numbers on the spine but not sure what they indicate.....I tag them Vintage-Gothic.


Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 2/4/2009 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Oh, please definitely post them!   It adds to the variety of books available on PBS, and you never know who will be wishing for that exact book, but because it isn't in the system currently, they can't WishList it.  I agree that a description and book cover image are important to help move the book - cover image can be scanned in if you can't find an image online to use.  Tags are also quite helpful.  I've had mixed results posting in the genre forums - it really depends on the forum.  Don't necessarily judge by the activity dates - once you add a new post, often you'll get responses quickly, even if the last previously dated post in the forum was months earlier.

I've swapped many non-ISBN books here, including poetry, and one in a language I couldn't even identify!  I just typed out the back description as I saw it, and scanned the book cover into the system, without even a translation of any sort, since I had no idea what language it was to try to find a translation.  It sat on my shelf for about a month, then BINGO!  it got ordered.  I was floored!

Date Posted: 2/6/2009 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2008
Posts: 8
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Ooops, figured it out, never mind.

Last Edited on: 2/6/09 1:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2009 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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Please keep posting those books!  I joined PBS to find out-of-print, older mysteries.  Most originally were published pre-ISBN.  If I'm looking for a book I always look it up by author, so I definitely would find your book even without an ISBN.  I know I'm not alone in this use of PBS.  Keep those oldies circulating, please!  :-)

Date Posted: 2/8/2009 12:25 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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If you are searching by author - be sure to add a search with the name that has a middle name or initial as the last name.  I have several books' authors listed alphabetically in the system by their middle name or initial instead of their last name.