[IAEP] [FM Discuss] ISBN Numbers Summary.

C. Scott Ananian cscott at cscott.net
Fri Mar 27 15:32:33 EDT 2009

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 8:04 AM, adam hyde <adam at flossmanuals.net> wrote:
> On Thu, 2009-03-26 at 17:17 -0400, C. Scott Ananian wrote:
>> On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 3:38 PM, David Farning <dfarning at sugarlabs.org> wrote:
>> > I am still looking into that issue.
>> >
>> > An a related issue there is a question in the publish on demand
>> > industry of how to define a 'new edition' which requires a new ISBN.
>> If the content changes, it's a new edition and should have a new ISBN.
> I asked this to Lulu and they said it should work like that but in
> reality it doesnt matter. You can continually update content and keep
> the same ISBN

The best explanation I could find online (in a relatively brief search) was:

Basically, the ISBN is a service to your customers: it indicates a
unique "version with important changes".  When you list at amazon,
etc, books with identical ISBNs are assumed to be identical, and will
be stockpiled/warehoused as such.  If you have a customer who is going
to be upset that they received "Sugar 0.84 manual" when they thought
they ordered "Sugar 0.84.1 manual", then you should use different
ISBNs for the two versions.

If all you did was fix a minor typo on page 43, and people aren't
really going to care one way or the other, go ahead and use the same

If the typo you fixed was the inadvertent inclusion of a four-letter
word, and some children in Birmingham are going to be very upset if
they receive a version which swears at them, then you should use a new
ISBN for the "new (safe for children) edition".

To repeat my suggestion: correlate manual releases with software
releases and treat them the same.  You can do minor bug fix releases
between major releases, but (unless you use a new ISBN) you have no
way of guaranteeing that your customers will get the bug-fixed version
when they order.  So proof-read that text!

                         ( http://cscott.net/ )

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