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Mon, May. 4th, 2009, 11:59 am
A sign of the apocalypse?

(This entry could only possibly be of interest to librarians, so the rest of you can feel free to skip over it.)

I've been entering my collection of books into Delicious Library, and although I find many of the barcodes for my books are no longer valid (they must recycle the barcodes according a scheme best understood by whatever authority is responsible for barcodes) but I have been comforted knowing the ISBN has always been sacrosanct... until now. I'm shocked to find that
Looking for Sarah Jane Smith
by David Franklin, published by Baby Ice Dog Press in 2001 with ISBN 0646-41086-5 instead brings up
Manic Streets of Perth: Anthology (Looking For Sarah Jane Smith & To Dare A Future)
, also by David Franklin and published by Baby Ice Dog Press in 2005. Close, but not the same.

Would any of the real librarians on my friends list be able to shed any light on this? Are publishers allowed to recycle ISBNs if they reprint a book as part of an anthology? I have seen reprintings share the same ISBN but never a whole new book.
(Deleted comment)

Mon, May. 4th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)

I knew about the shift from ISBN-10 to ISBN-13 but I didn't know that 978 was the approved prefix to go from the former to the latter. I tend to concur with Harvard (below) that 978 would be implied in that case and that's borne out by Delicious Library still finding the same book with it. (Unfortunately, DL searches Amazon for the ISBN rather than the--I suspect--more authoritative isbndb.com that Harvard references below.)

Edited at 2009-05-04 04:23 am (UTC)

Mon, May. 4th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)

Sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong, searching on just 0646410865 at isbndb.com hits the book you want, not the Anthology.  And Fenrir is right, searching on 978-0646410865 also hits the correct book... but... entering the 978 should never be necessary, in my humble opinion, as the very fact you only entered 10 digits implies the 978, no?

Amazon.com reports the ISBN of the Anthology as being 978-0646410869, but also the 10-digit 0646410865.  Hmmmmmm... I agree, Marko, seems to be a lack of purity in the system.

Mon, May. 4th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)

The system must be cleansed of all impurities!

Mon, May. 4th, 2009 09:11 am (UTC)

It happened to me last year. Looking back, it appears I didn't actually write about it, which is rather curious, but when I bought Steinunn Sigurðardóttir's "Herzort" on amazon from a local seller and then went there in person to pick it up, I found that they thought I'd bought an entirely different book. It then turned out that this was because amazon matches books by ISBN, and - well - the ISBN of those two books was the same. The bookseller also explained to me that this wasn't the first time this was happening to them.

Pretty weird.

Mon, May. 4th, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)

I have a recollection ISBN numbers aren't unique across multiple countries, if that has anything to do with it..

Mon, May. 4th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)

No, it's definitely supposed to be consistent across the whole world.

Mon, May. 4th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)

My understanding is that you aren't supposed to reuse ISBNs. More importantly though, it seems you are a Doctor Who fan. Good job.