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Book Issues > Same ISBN, different editions

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message 1: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 15 comments I realize that this topic is similar to a previous one but rather than just being a matter of different artwork it's a matter of different publishers & possibly different artwork. I was just entering the info on all the J. G. Ballard bks that I have & in at least 4 cases I rc'vd an error message where the ISBN was the same as for another edition. I always doublechecked the data thoroughly & found that I was correct & that there were substantial differences between the editions w/o the ISBNs being different. My most likely explanantion for this is that I often have English editions because I was living in London & Scotland in 1988 & probably got many of these bks then. Therefore, I speculate that the British editions have the same ISBN as the American releases of the same time. Oh, & HI, my name is "tENT", short for "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE" & I'm new to this list.

message 2: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45530 comments Mod
ISBNs from different publishers should not be the same. The first few digits are supposed to correspond to the country and publisher.

message 3: by Rindis (new)

Rindis | 20 comments However, publishers do seem to occasionally shortcut that, especially before everything got computerized.

However, if they're British and American editions of the same book, what are the "substantial differences" you're finding?

message 4: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 15 comments So far, every bk (I think there've been 6 total) that've had ISBN conflicts have been published in England. Here's an example: I was manually adding a bk entitled "The German guerrilla: terror, reaction, and resistance" published by Cienfuegos Press (UK) & Soil of Liberty (US). The ISBN for it is: 0-904564-36-3. I got the error message that there was another bk w/ the same ISBN so I just deleted the ISBN in my entry & moved on. Just now, I checked to see what other bk shared this ISBN & found that it's a hardback version of the same bk published by Left Bank Books in 1982. Now my edition is clearly rarer (it's more like a chapbk & NOT hardback so it seems more small press) &, I suspect predates this one - but I'm not sure - I dated it at 1981 because that was the best guess I cd make - it cdn't've been any earlier b/c there's an interview in it from that time. At any rate, it seems like either edition cd've just used the already existing ISBN b/c that was easier than getting a new one. So that's fairly simple.

Here's another example: J G Ballard's "The Unlimited Dream Company". The conflict here is w/ a hardback edition of the same bk again - published by Harper Collins Canada in 1985 - 4 yrs after the UK paperback edition that I entered.

Now, in both these cases, perhaps the 2 editions being published on different continents - w/ one edition being paperback & the other hardback - may not qualify as what I referred to as "substantial differences" but it seems like the latter instance's having publication dates separated by 4 yrs might.

message 5: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinb) | 5 comments I have the same problem. I was trying to enter "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle ISBN: 0-312-36754-6. (ISBN 13: 978-0-312-36754-1) Square Fish An Imprint of Holtzbrinck Publishers. 1997. paperback edition. When i searched for the ISBN number above it linked it to "A Wrinkle in Time" (no publisher info no ISBN) and ISBN 13:9780312367541. The copy I have is in the system but it has no ISBN numbers but everything else is filled in. i tried to input the ISBN numbers and it gave me an error message saying to double check my sources (which i did) and contact the Goodreads Librarians to correct the problem.

so what do you do in this instance? do you delete the other ISBN? send a discrepancy to the person who submitted the other book (if so how)? talk to the "Head Liberian" (if there is one how do we do that)? what is the standard procedure to follow when there is a conflict?

message 6: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45530 comments Mod
I think Otis may need to handle this one.

message 7: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 15 comments Personally, since I'm new here & unfamiliar w/ established practice, I mostly leave other people's entries alone - so I wdn't delete anyone's ISBN or whatnot. I DO add cover images when they're lacking - even when the editions seem somewhat different. In other words, since it seems preferable to leave similar editions w/ the same ISBN alone & to usually NOT add another edition w/ the same ISBN, I list the bk that I have as being the already existing one UNLESS the edition seems too extremely different - as it did to me in the case of "The German guerrilla: terror, reaction, and resistance" cited by me as an example previously. Hello to Otis, by the by, since you seem to be the old hand at this stuff!

message 8: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45530 comments Mod
Are you saying you add the wrong cover images to books?

message 9: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinb) | 5 comments Who, and or What, is Otis?

message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Justin,

Otis is Otis Chandler, the founder of Goodreads and user #1:

message 11: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Hey everyone,

I updated the ISBN for that version of A Wrinkle in Time - not sure why it wasn't taking.

message 12: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinb) | 5 comments Thank You Otis.

message 13: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 15 comments I'm saying that if it has the same ISBN as a book that I have the cover image for & it DOESN'T have a cover image already then I add the image. Is that incorrect? I've only done that once or twice so if I shouldn't add the cover image even though the ISBN is the same I won't. In that instance, though, should I add a different edition of the book with the cover image even though the ISBN is the same?

message 14: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 15 comments Hi Rivka,

To be more specific, here's my procedure: when I want to add a book that I've read, I search for the title in the GoodReads & Amazon databases. If I find the title, I look thru all the editions to try to find the exact edition that I have in my library. If I don't find the exact same edition but find one that's close I look at its ISBN. If the ISBN is the same, I decide whether I should add my own edition or just select the one that's already in the databases.

Now by "close" I mean, let's say: the same book & author (of course), paperback, published in the same year, in the same country. If the editions are that similar, then the question is: Should I add the edition I have even though everything is identical to a pre-existing one except for its being from a different branch of the same publishing house, for example?

If all the preceding factors match up & I decide that it might be too much to add another edition & there's no cover image associated with the edition that's already there, then I add the cover image.

My reasoning so far is based on what I've read here on this group - basically mention that a lot of what librarians here do is combine editions. My own personal preference is to make a different edition for any difference - ie: different artwork or whatnot. However, that seems to go against established practice so I'm trying to stick closest to the way things are already being done. If this issue can be clarified for me that would be great!

Thank you,


message 15: by Angel (new)

Angel (mnemosyne) | 48 comments I'm running into the "two different editions, one ISBN" right now. I found a paperback in my basement, which is the first printing of the book in question. I typed in the ISBN, and the book came up here on goodreads. This is the one that already exists on the site:

However, the version that is currently on the site has an entirely different cover, and a different number of pages (off by 21). It may also be worth noting that my copy only has the 10 digit ISBN, and the one on the site has both 10 digit and 13 digit.

So, what do I do? Add another copy of the book with the same ISBN?

message 16: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45530 comments Mod
tENT, I think I misunderstood you before. If you are adding a cover that matches the ISBN of a book already listed on GoodReads, that is exactly as it should be. :)

As far as adding another edition v. combining editions, those can be two different things. Let us suppose that A Book was first published in 2003 by Pub House, Inc. It was reissued (with a new ISBN and in a new edition) by the same publishing house in 2007. Definitely the 2007 edition of A Book should be a new edition -- and both should be "combined" -- that is, linked -- by a librarian. However, the second printing of the 2003 edition (with the same ISBN as the 2003, but a slightly different cover (it now says "NY TIMES BESTSELLER" in a star on the cover) would probably not be listed as a separate edition.

Does that sound about right?

message 17: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45530 comments Mod
Angel, 13-digit ISBNs are a fairly new thing, only a few years old. No book published in 1995 would have had an ISBN-13 listed on it. However, they can be calculated from any existing 10-digit ISBN, and I believe GoodReads does so automatically.

I don't believe you can create two entries with the same ISBN. So you can either use that one (with the "wrong" cover) or enter your edition separately, sans ISBN.

message 18: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 15 comments Okey-dokey Rivka,

I think we're on the same page! So it seems like what I've been doing is in keeping w/ the general procedure.

Thanks for yr clarification!

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