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Old 02-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #101
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So in other words, if I wanted to use my own ISBNs it is not only about editions (changes in the text since I would want to follow correct standards) it is also about formats.
Just to be clear, making some minor corrections of typos or even changing a cover do not count as an edition. They are talking about a full update with new or revised material.

Quote:
Wouldn't it also be something a publisher would notice if a self-publisher was selling a ton of books be it hard copy or digital?
Of the four people I know from message boards who have had breakouts in the last year and gotten on the NYT or USA Today bestseller lists, they have all had a mishmash where some had an ISBN because a store required it or not. Two were picked up by publishers, one pursued hard enough that they negotiated to keep their ebook rights and sold only the print rights. YMMV obviously. The key is they were well written, well timed, and were selling enough that trade publishers couldn't ignore them.

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Just goes to show how unprepared the publishing industry was for this. Obviously they never expected self-publishing to take off the way it did.
I think the issue is ebook vs. physical book, not so much who publishes them. Physical books are generally ordered, not automatically pushed to retailers, usually going through a distributor chain. Ebooks are generally distributed by push from the publisher and tend to dwell within a retailer ecosystem with no middle-men.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:50 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie Elle View Post
Just to be clear, making some minor corrections of typos or even changing a cover do not count as an edition. They are talking about a full update with new or revised material.
It depends who you ask, Katie. In trade publishing, any change--no matter what the level of changes made--usually counts as a new edition. If that weren't the case there wouldn't be such interest in first editions, especially in those with mistakes which were corrected in subsequent editions.

And yes, changing a cover does result in a new edition. It might not where you're from, but where I'm from it most certainly does.

Quote:
Of the four people I know from message boards who have had breakouts in the last year and gotten on the NYT or USA Today bestseller lists, they have all had a mishmash where some had an ISBN because a store required it or not. Two were picked up by publishers, one pursued hard enough that they negotiated to keep their ebook rights and sold only the print rights. YMMV obviously. The key is they were well written, well timed, and were selling enough that trade publishers couldn't ignore them.
I'm not sure what that has to do with ISBNs.

Quote:
I think the issue is ebook vs. physical book, not so much who publishes them.
E-books from trade publishers have ISBNs, though, don't they? I just checked out a few on Amazon and they all showed them. So who publishes them is significant in this conversation.

Quote:
Physical books are generally ordered, not automatically pushed to retailers, usually going through a distributor chain.
Print editions ("physical books" sounds like a genre!) from good trade publishers are definitely "pushed to retailers", as you put it, and bought from the shelves of those retailers. That's exactly what distributors do for publishers (and note here I use "distribution" to mean "full-service distribution", which is common in trade publishing, and not the sort of distribution I see talked about in self publishing circles where almost all that's involved is ensuring a book is included in a few electronic databases).

Backlist books might be bought through special order, and books from smaller presses; and of course with online ordering it's a lot different. But most current titles will be aggressively sold into bookshops and other retailers: trade publishers don't rely on special orders to sell their books.

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Ebooks are generally distributed by push from the publisher and tend to dwell within a retailer ecosystem with no middle-men.
Is that true for both trade and self-published books, though? I've seen a lot of definitives issued (in this thread and others, and by several members) which only apply to self publishers, but that's rarely clarified; and often it's only true for a very small subset of self publishers--sometimes, as small as "the person making the comment"--which really doesn't help anyone learn or progress.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:30 PM   #103
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It depends who you ask, Katie. In trade publishing, any change--no matter what the level of changes made--usually counts as a new edition. If that weren't the case there wouldn't be such interest in first editions, especially in those with mistakes which were corrected in subsequent editions.

And yes, changing a cover does result in a new edition. It might not where you're from, but where I'm from it most certainly does.
According to Bowker, it is okay to keep the same ISBN when you make minor changes like fixing typos. You only need a new ISBN when you make *substantive* changes, like adding a new chapter or changing the ending of the book.

From the Bowker FAQ
Quote:
If typos are being corrected, is a new ISBN necessary?

No.

What's the difference between a reprint and a new edition?

A reprint means more copies are being printed with no substantial changes. Perhaps a few typos are being fixed. A new edition means that there has been substantial change: content has been altered in a way that might make a customer complain that this was not the product that was expected. Or, text has been changed to add a new feature, such as a preface or appendix or additional content. Or, content has been revised. Or, the book has been redesigned.
(For the purposes of this discussion, a "reprint" is effectively the same as uploading new ebook content.)

As for changing the cover, it comes back to managing customer expectations...

From the Bowker FAQ:
Quote:
If changing the cover of a book, does a new ISBN have to be assigned?

US practice is if the book is just out or the idea is to give a marketing boost to the product, then no, a new ISBN should not be assigned. However, if the change in cover substantially changes the product (ie., would lead to customer complaints), then a new ISBN should be used.
When in doubt, go to the source:
https://www.myidentifiers.com/help/isbn
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:53 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie Elle View Post
Just to be clear, making some minor corrections of typos or even changing a cover do not count as an edition.
According to Goodreads, different covers are different editions, with different ISBNs. Movie-poster-cover of a book? Different edition than original-cover version, even if all the content within is the same.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:09 PM   #105
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SLEUTH: Just goes to show how unprepared the publishing industry was for this. Obviously they never expected self-publishing to take off the way it did.

OLD HACK:Sleuth, I really don't see how you could safely draw those two conclusions from this discussion. I'd be grateful if you could explain them.

Quote:
SLEUTH: But Smashwords would only need one file right? All the other readers read ePUB files correct? Except for the oddball mobi file for Kindle. Although it is not necessarily needed, I think I would still prefer it.

OLD HACK:I don't understand. What would you "still prefer"?

As to the first, I'll try to explain, although it is just an opinion or my observation. When we had just physical books they came with ISBNs. If the format was changed then it had a separate number. Self-publishers did or didn't use them, but less people self-published then than now because of cost so I don't think the publishing industry really noticed.

People still self-publish some with ISBN numbers some without that part is the same, but now there are so many more doing it, because cost is little to none, all because of e-books. So since some use ISBNs for each format, some don't and talk about reusing them it just seem the waters have gotten muddy over it.

And it seems to me (and I could be wrong) the publishing industry did not lead the way on e-books, but followed after. I just thought had they lead the way maybe it would have set a precedent on the correct way to use the ISBNs on various ebook formats. Was my thinking anyway. Am I making more sense?

As to the other, I should have said, " Although it is not necessarily needed, I think I would still prefer my own ISBN on each (mobi, ePub) on my ebooks. Sorry
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:20 PM   #106
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According to Goodreads, different covers are different editions, with different ISBNs. Movie-poster-cover of a book? Different edition than original-cover version, even if all the content within is the same.
Not sure what you mean here. GR actually has instructions on how to create an "alternative cover edition" for books with multiple covers and the same ISBN. (I'm actually off to do this with my favorite book as I always associate it with the SF Book Club cover, not the paperback that GR displays.)

As to where I got the claim about cover and minor edits, it was the ISBN users manual:

Quote:
5.2 Changes to publications
A separate ISBN shall be assigned if there have been significant changes to any part or
parts of a publication. A separate ISBN shall be assigned if there has been a change to the
title and/or to the sub-title of a publication. A change to the cover design or colour or to the
price of a monographic publication does not require a separate ISBN. Minor changes in an
edition (e.g. corrections to misprints) do not require a separate ISBN.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:21 AM   #107
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Think that is just how goodreads does it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:23 AM   #108
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:26 AM   #109
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And it seems to me (and I could be wrong) the publishing industry did not lead the way on e-books, but followed after.
The publishing industry lead the way.

The standard UI you see on ebooks in terms of feature sets and navigation was created in 1992 by The Voyager Publishing company.

I was in fact the one who did much of the licensing and obtained the ISBN numbers—and it was clear then that ebooks in HyperCard and Ebooks in binary/C++ were two different editions and required different ISBNs, as did the ebooks we published in Canada, Great Britain and Japan.

We produced and published ebooks from big six publishers, including Random House, and authors like Crichton, Gibson, Grisham, Turow, Doug Adams, L'Engle, and The Modern Library.

We worked closely with a large number of publishers, big six, indie and university publishers included, and it was exceedingly clear to all concerned what did and did not equate with a new edition.

Publishers were not slow; the reading public was, and has been behind publishers in term of ebooks. Even now, the publishers are already working with newer versions of OSs and features than the public has access to.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:27 AM   #110
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Ahhh. Thank you for clarifying Medievalist.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:42 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRMarvello View Post
According to Bowker, it is okay to keep the same ISBN when you make minor changes like fixing typos. You only need a new ISBN when you make *substantive* changes, like adding a new chapter or changing the ending of the book.

From the Bowker FAQ
(For the purposes of this discussion, a "reprint" is effectively the same as uploading new ebook content.)

As for changing the cover, it comes back to managing customer expectations...

From the Bowker FAQ:
When in doubt, go to the source:
https://www.myidentifiers.com/help/isbn
Thanks for that link, DRM.

As I said earlier, though, revisions do usually result in a new edition. So I don't think we're disagreeing with one another here. To clarify, it's very unusual for a book to have corrections made without a new edition being involved, although minor corrections such as typos are sometimes made when new print-runs are instigated.

The real issue here, I think, is that there's such a difference between how trade publishing and self publishing work. In trade publishing, the emphasis is on making the book a finished product before it's published; whereas I've seen many self publishers make frequent revisions based on their readers' input. It seems to me that it's not uncommon for some self publishers to treat their first readers almost as editors, and to expect those early readers to report problems which the publishers then clean up*.

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Originally Posted by HistorySleuth View Post
As to the first, I'll try to explain, although it is just an opinion or my observation. When we had just physical books they came with ISBNs.
Print editions still make up the bulk of books sold, and they still come with ISBNs.

Quote:
If the format was changed then it had a separate number. Self-publishers did or didn't use them, but less people self-published then than now because of cost so I don't think the publishing industry really noticed.
Trade publishing is a completely separate business to self publishing (there's far more crossover between vanity publishing and self publishing--witness the number of vanity publishers which have now rebranded themselves as self publishing service providers). It's not that trade publishing didn't notice that self publishers were doing things differently: it's that it didn't affect trade publishers one bit, so why would they notice or care?

How self publishers use or don't use ISBNs did have implications for book sellers, however, on the rare occasions that self-published print editions made it onto their shelves. Their lack of ISBNs, and their unreliable use of them, made it harder for bookshops to process orders for those books and track their stock of them, and added to booksellers' general reluctance to stock those books.

This doesn't imply that, as you suggested,

Quote:
how unprepared the publishing industry was for this. Obviously they never expected self-publishing to take off the way it did.
It just shows that many self publishers didn't and still don't understand the benefits of an ISBN, or how they should really be used.

Quote:
People still self-publish some with ISBN numbers some without that part is the same, but now there are so many more doing it, because cost is little to none, all because of e-books. So since some use ISBNs for each format, some don't and talk about reusing them it just seem the waters have gotten muddy over it.
I agree that more people are misusing ISBNs now, and there are more people not using them at all. But that doesn't mean that how they should be used has changed, nor does it imply that trade publishing is somehow at fault, as you suggested.

Quote:
And it seems to me (and I could be wrong) the publishing industry did not lead the way on e-books, but followed after. I just thought had they lead the way maybe it would have set a precedent on the correct way to use the ISBNs on various ebook formats. Was my thinking anyway. Am I making more sense?
Trade publishing did lead the way in e-publishing, as Medievalist has already explained. Trade publishers tend to use ISBNs correctly. They always have, because so much of their accounting systems depend on them.

Quote:
As to the other, I should have said, " Although it is
not necessarily needed, I think I would still prefer my own ISBN on each (mobi, ePub) on my ebooks. Sorry
Thanks for the clarification.


* I find this approach really difficult to understand. In my view, we should nurture and cosset our readers, in the hope that they'll then be more likely to buy more books; and we should never lose sight of the fact that it's their money which drives all of our publishing efforts. If we treat them as editors who have to pay us for the privilege (I can never spell that) of cleaning up our books we're going to alienate them, which is not a good thing.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:09 PM   #112
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Sigh. I did not mean to imply that trade publishing was at fault in anything. It's not a laying blame issue. More like something unexpected, how fast self-publishing grew with the advent of anyone being able to upload ebooks getting worldwide exposure rather than just on a local level. I don't think anyone expected that, including trade publishers (opinion).

And I'm not implying that the self-publishing ebook boom is a bad thing either, I plan on doing it. Only that it muddied the waters as far as the use of ISBNs. As you say, Old Hack, "It just shows that many self publishers didn't and still don't understand the benefits of an ISBN, or how they should really be used."

When it was just physical books, and a person self-published and it didn't have an ISBN I think it was less of an impact on keeping editions straight since honestly, most of the sales would be local. But now that it is not just physical self-published books and ebooks and even POD books go worldwide, and being so many of them, it has become muddled.

If early on in the self-publishing ebook boom people were required to have ISBNs from the get go from the places they were uploading to, the whole procedure of what format or changes constituted a new edition resulting in a new ISBN number would have been maintained and understood by self-publishers.

I'm not laying blame anywhere. I have nothing against commercial publishers. I hope to do that someday. I have nothing against self-publishers. I've done that before. Just analyzing the situation. In this case, I think I'm not doing a very good job of articulating myself.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:41 PM   #113
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If early on in the self-publishing ebook boom people were required to have ISBNs from the get go from the places they were uploading to, the whole procedure of what format or changes constituted a new edition resulting in a new ISBN number would have been maintained and understood by self-publishers.
I'd say the opposite.

I think the bigger issue is that a plurality (if not a vast majority) of us believe that ISBNs serve no purpose for ebook sales through the major storefronts other than as a form of rent collection by Bowker. When Apple still required one, that led people to seek the most inexpensive way to satisfy (or more accurately evade) the "tax."

Now that Apple has removed the requirement, the issue has essentially been settled as none of the storefronts require ISBNs so we can agree to disagree. Those of us who believe they aren't necessary can simply omit them and those who believe they are useful can assign them and each group will have to live with the economic consequences or lack thereof of our decisions.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:05 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by HistorySleuth View Post
Sigh. I did not mean to imply that trade publishing was at fault in anything. It's not a laying blame issue. More like something unexpected, how fast self-publishing grew with the advent of anyone being able to upload ebooks getting worldwide exposure rather than just on a local level. I don't think anyone expected that, including trade publishers (opinion).
Sorry, Sleuth: I am a bit obsessive when it comes to clarity and reason, and didn't mean to make you feel like I was telling you off. But it does help if we're all really clear about what what we mean, as it avoids misunderstandings and so on.

I do get a bit prickly when I see people making claims about trade publishing which are either unsafe, logically speaking, or untrue: there's so much misinformation about publishing online, especially when it comes to trade vs. self publishing, and it misleads writers and often causes them to make poor decisions, which isn't good. Consequently, I do my best to keep things clear in this room at least.

Quote:
I'm not laying blame anywhere. I have nothing against commercial publishers. I hope to do that someday. I have nothing against self-publishers. I've done that before. Just analyzing the situation. In this case, I think I'm not doing a very good job of articulating myself.
Been there, done that, when it comes to not being as articulate as I might be. We've all done it. But isn't that why we ask questions here, and question each other's responses, isn't it? To obtain that clarity.

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I'd say the opposite.

I think the bigger issue is that a plurality (if not a vast majority) of us believe that ISBNs serve no purpose for ebook sales through the major storefronts other than as a form of rent collection by Bowker.
Again, Katie, you're talking from your own very narrow viewpoint.

I know several self-published writers who understand the value that ISBNs provide.

And we're not all self published, either.

I don't deny that you might not get anything of much value from using an ISBN on your own books: but it doesn't automatically follow that the vast majority of writers share your opinion.

I can't help thinking things would be easier here if you'd add a few qualifiers to some of your comments, and if you'd consider that how you do things isn't how all writers view things. It's not even how all self-published writers view things.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:53 PM   #115
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HistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsHistorySleuth is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Nah, I didn't feel like you were telling me off, Old Hack. Just more annoyed at myself for not being able to explain myself better. "Dammit, Sleuth! Just spit it out already!" Usually I'm pretty good at that.

I've found the discussion to be very useful. Personally, me, if the industry standard is to put one ISBN on the mobi, and a different ISBN on ePUB format then that is what I want to do. Hence my reason for joining in the conversation. I have no plans to keep revamping the book once it's up there.
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Last edited by HistorySleuth; 02-06-2013 at 12:10 AM. Reason: clarity
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