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Topic: Wrong ISBN in system?

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Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Subject: Wrong ISBN in system?
Date Posted: 9/3/2008 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Hi...I didn't see anything specific in the help section, but I have found at least three cases where the system has the wrong ISBN for the book.  In one case, the title was for the fourth book in a series, where I plugged in the ISBN for the first.  Another time I put in the ISBN for a science fiction book, and it came up with an Italian-English grammar guide.  Is there someone I should report this sort of thing to?

To answer the obvious question, yes, I did make sure the number I typed in matched the one on the book :p

Date Posted: 9/3/2008 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Well some publishers reuse ISBN's. I have a Diana Palmer hardback that comes up as a completely different book on PBS, Amazon and another book trading site.  Same publisher.

Do the books come up on Amazon or elsewhere as the correct book with that ISBN?  If so than if you submit the correct info to PBS they will look into it and get it corrected.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/3/2008 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I didn't think of double-checking elsewhere.  In fact, now I can't find the books in question...I buried them somewhere among hundreds of others and I'm too lazy to go back and find them :)

Date Posted: 9/3/2008 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Matt--

What Mary says is true; sometimes ISBNs get recycled, even though they should not.  Sometimes they assign one ISBN to a whole series.  All sorts of crazy stuff.  In cases of dual-title ISBNs, whichever one gets in the system first "wins" -- other titles with the same ISBN must be posted as non-ISBN books.

I'm on the data editing team, so you're welcome to PM me the info if you like, and I can see if I can figure out what the story is, and edit the record if necessary.

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 9/3/2008 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2008
Posts: 51
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On the same note - what if I am going to post a book, put in the ISBn # and it comes up as hardcover and my book is soft cover.  I do noty want to get in trouble by listing a Hardcover nd mailing a paperback.

Date Posted: 9/3/2008 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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<<what if I am going to post a book, put in the ISBn # and it comes up as hardcover and my book is soft cover.  I do noty want to get in trouble by listing a Hardcover nd mailing a paperback>>

Laura, if you have a paperback that comes up in the system as a hardcover, I would first check closely to be sure your paperback is not an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) -- that's a very common cause of paperbacks having hardcover ISBNs. 

Per the Help Center, when posting books:

"Confirm that your book matches the information in the Book Listing Preview 

  • You will see the text below the Book Listing Preview:

    This is how your book listing will appear in the PBS library. 

    Do the Title, Author, ISBN and Book Type match your book EXACTLY?

    Please note: book cover image shown does NOT need to match your book.

     

  • If your book does NOT match the information in the Book Listing Preview:

    • If it is a minor difference, such as a misspelled title or the wrong author first name, you can post the book and submit corrections afterward using the Edit Book Data link.
    • If the booktype is different (if your book is a paperback, and the Preview shows hardcover, for example):
      • You will need to post the book without an ISBN
    • If the book title says "(Large Print)" and your book is regular-size font:
      • You will need to post the book without an ISBN"
  • Cheers,

    Catt

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/3/2008 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I could only find one of the errant books.  It's probably not important enough to report.  I have a book They Call Me the Mercenary #1: The Killer Genesis by Axel Kilgore (pen name of Jerry Ahern)  The ISBN is 0890836787.  If I put it in, it comes up as They Call Me the Mercenary Four, Opium Hunter by Axel Kilgore.  I did a search on Amazon, and I am pretty sure PBS got their info straight from them.  The title looks the same, down to the spelled out four followed by a comma.  I did a search for "The Killer Genesis" and while it is in the Amazon system, there is no ISBN listed.

The only copy for sale on Amazon has an asking price of $99.95.  I knew these books were hard to find, but wow.  This is a 28 year-old paperback we're talking about.

Date Posted: 9/3/2008 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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just a curious question...does the book you have actually have the ISBN printed on it somewhere?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/4/2008 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Christy, are you talking about the one I mentioned above?  Yes, the ISBN is on the back with the barcode, and also on the spine. 

Date Posted: 9/4/2008 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
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Matt, if the book in question is 28 years old that might explain it.  They probably just reused the ISBN.  I don't remember when they stopped doing that but am thinking mid 80's?

Date Posted: 9/4/2008 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Matt--

It isn't unimportant; we (the volunteers who edit book data) try to be as accurate as we can.

OCLC lists it as you have it too, "The Killer Genesis" (though it shows the wrong cover, because they take those from Amazon).  You're probably right that the bad info came from Amazon, who is fairly notorious for unreliable book info.  We usually check book data among multiple sources; I find OCLC to be among the best (their data comes from libraries -- yes, there's probably personal bias there too), but we use other sites as well.  Somewhere, there's a thread with sites to check that Sherry posted.

However, since there is conflicting information out there, showing the book under both titles with that ISBN, PBS won't change it, with the rationale being that it would potentially mess up bookshelves and wishlists across the system, and because it is very difficult to prove that the ISBN hasn't been recycled (some haven't stopped doing it, Leslie, unfortunately).

So, the bottom line is, the data cannot be changed, so since your title doesn't match, you'll need to post it as a non-ISBN title.  This is not uncommon, and non-ISBN books DO get swapped, particularly when members take the time to create a good record -- title, author, publisher, description, cover image, etc.  The few I've posted have all been taken.

It isn't unusual for highly desirable older books to command a lot, but there are other used copies out there on Alibris, for example, for $6 :-)  Its all supply, demand, and condition.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Catt



Last Edited on: 9/4/08 3:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/4/2008 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Thanks :)  I was actually just trying to post the book to my TBR pile, not to my bookshelf.  I happen to know that some of this author's books are extremely rare collector's items, and will easily go for $100 apiece on an ebay auction.  It seems kind of weird, but it can't be worse than $2 million for a baseball card.  The only way to figure it out would probably be to find the other books in the series and check the ISBNs, but as I said they are hard to find.

Date Posted: 9/4/2008 5:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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<<The only way to figure it out would probably be to find the other books in the series and check the ISBNs, but as I said they are hard to find.>>

Even then, that wouldn't guarantee that the publisher didn't "cheat" and recycle an ISBN on some edition or other.  You'll just make yourself crazy -- trust me  :-)

Cheers,

Catt



Last Edited on: 9/4/08 5:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/5/2008 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2008
Posts: 51
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Thanks Catt- it is actually an Earth Science review book .