[ModLib] ISBN numbers on DJs covering bindings BELOW #14?

Michael Watson archetype at 20ants.com
Tue Aug 7 21:04:33 EDT 2007

Let it be known to all that ISBNs are not always used uniformly or 
correctly: publishers don't always feel strongly about maintaining 
the integrity of the system. A publisher buys a "block" of ISBNs for 
a fee: publishers often feel strongly about saving a dime here and 
there in odd ways.

A given ISBN might be reused for a different version of the same 
book. An advance copy may have an ISBN, but if the book isn't 
actually published the publisher may later use that ISBN on a 
different title. The hardback and paperback may have the same ISBN. Etc, etc.

The advent of Internet selling (like Amazon) made the integrity of 
ISBNs a bit more necessary, but they aren't inviolate. The 
aberrations are not documented unless someone discovers one and 
figures out the mystery


At 06:16 PM 8/7/2007, you wrote:
>ISBNs began to be widely used in the early 1970s, so it's highly 
>unlikely to find them on any books printed before 1970. They 
>originally consisted of 10 digits in 4 fields -- country or language 
>area, publisher, unique number for a particular edition (hardbound 
>and paperback editions would have different numbers, and I would 
>guess that buckram bindings were also distinguished by separate 
>ISBNs), and a single check digit that flagged incorrect ISBNs (the 
>roman numeral X was used for a check digit of 10). In the 1970s 
>publishers sometimes omitted the first two fields, but in later 
>years ISBNs have usually been given in their entirety. Beginning in 
>2006 ISBNs expanded to 13 digits.
>---- Original message ----
> >Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 12:52:34 -0700
> >From: Scot Kamins <kamins at ModernLib.com>
> >Subject: [ModLib] ISBN numbers on DJs covering bindings BELOW #14?
> >To: ML mailing list <modlib at owu.edu>
> >
> >Folks,
> >
> >Ron Holl and I have been discussing bindings (again). The current
> >topic is ISBN numbers. As far as research tells me, ISBN numbers
> >started appearing on ML DJs AFTER 1970. Also, 1969-1970 was the
> >period of the #14 bindings (the tall ones). I was suggesting that all
> >books having DJs with ISBN numbers in the 1971-1975 period must have
> >#14 bindings.
> >
> >So the questions are:
> >
> >1) Is it true, as research in the archives would indicate (and I'll
> >be glad to quote the source if you need it), that only ML books
> >printed AFTER 1970 have ISBN numbers?
> >
> >2) Are there any DJs NOT in the taller (binding 14) format with ISBN
> >numbers on the back?
> >
> >Scot Kamins
> >............
> >"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." -- Emma Goldman
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________
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>Gordon B. Neavill
>Associate Professor
>Library and Information Science Program
>106 Kresge Library
>Wayne State University
>Detroit, MI 48202
>313-577-0507 (tel); 313-577-7563 (fax)
>aa3401 at wayne.edu
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>ModLib at owu.edu

  Michael Watson, bookman                           Indianapolis IN USA
  archetype at 20ants.com       www.20ants.com        (317)514-3829
  20th Century & Antiquarian Books for the Reader & Collector
  Fine press, limiteds & unusual non-fiction. Appraisal & cataloging
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