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Policies & Practices > Alternate Cover Editions and ASIN / ISBN Policy

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7027 comments I have noticed a number of editions where an Alternate Cover edition has been created and the ASIN/ISBN have been removed from the first edition and re assigned to the altenate cover edition.

I did not think that this was policy and that the ISBN/ASIN remained with the first published book.

I did notice that this has been done for GR authors who want to do a giveaway with their new cover which I can understand but feel we should have a consistent policy across all authors.


message 2: by Cait (last edited Jun 08, 2012 07:15AM) (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments I do think it would be a good idea to have a consistent policy.

Maybe we should say that if there are two editions of the same book which reuse a single ISBN, the more recently published one should get the ISBN assigned properly? It means more shifting of data, but I suppose it's somewhat more likely that a new reader coming in with the book has the new edition and that readers with the old edition have already found it.

In the case of two editions of the same book which share a single ISBN between two formats, should we have a preference order for the winning format? Paperback & ebook: the paperback gets the ISBN?

In the case of two completely different books which happen to get issued the same ISBN by mistake, I think we should stick with the current practice that the more popular book gets the ISBN, though.


message 3: by vicki_girl (new)

vicki_girl | 2765 comments I didn't think that the more popular book got the ISBN. I have been operating under the assumption that the record that existed first, with the ISBN, gets to keep the ISBN. At first this will always be more popular, since my new alternate cover just got added. However, over time, the alternate could become more popular.

That being said, I have never been a fan of the "first come, first serve" approach to determining which book gets the ISBN. To my mind this leaves three options: 1) most popular edition 2) newest printing 3) first printing.

If allowed to choose, I would prefer Option 3, first printing. For me, later printings/editions are simply reprints of the first one, only differentiated by their new cover and thus should get the "alternate cover" status. In addition, if you tried to attach the ISBN to most popular or most recent, you would constantly be changing it to the newest printing or currently most popular. Plus, what would you do if an alternate had exactly the same number of ratings as the one with the ISBN?

With all that being said though, I think I pretty much agree with all of Cait's post, even regarding shifting data to the newest edition. While it might be a pain, it's probably the most useful to the users (regardless of my personal preferences).

Oh, and with respect to ebook and paperback sharing an ISBN, I would give preference to the paperback. Part of that is my print-book bias speaking. However, many ebooks (especially Kidles) already have a unique ASIN or BNID, even though the ebook itself lists the same ISBN on the copyright page as the paperback. Therefore in order to be consistent among all books, I would say that paperback gets the ISBN.


message 4: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7027 comments For alternate covers / editions my preference is the first printing/edition gets and keeps the ISBN, it's the original. As vicki-girl notes For me, later printings/editions are simply reprints of the first one, only differentiated by their new cover and thus should get the "alternate cover" status.

For two different books sharing and ISBN I would also want to keep the ISBN on the first published book

Again, agreeing with vicki-girl on the paperback vs ebook, although if the ebook was published first then I would leave it one the ebook but if published at the same time then give it to the paperback.


message 5: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments I think the first published edition should keep the ISBN. There is no reason to alter the original book record just because the book has been reprinted with a new cover.

I also prefer to put a shared ISBN on the paperback as opposed to the eBook version of a book, assuming they are released at the same time.


message 6: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andrea_b) | 561 comments As ebooks and paperbacks shouldn't really share an ISBN, I think most of the time the ISBN actually belongs to the paperback and is just listed on the ebook on the copyright page because the text is the same...
In any case, (nowadays) paperbacks have ISBNs and ebooks don't always have them.


message 7: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments The rise of self-publishing is leading to a lot more ISBN sharing, I think. It's business as usual to a big publishing house to purchase a block of numbers, but if you're one author with one new book it probably sounds like some sort of upsell from the printing press to say you ought to buy a new ISBN for every change.


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