[IAEP] [FM Discuss] ISBN Numbers Summary.

David Farning dfarning at sugarlabs.org
Fri Mar 27 15:44:35 EDT 2009

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 2:32 PM, C. Scott Ananian <cscott at cscott.net> wrote:
> 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:
> http://www.nlsa.ac.za/NLSA/services/for%20publishers%20and%20authors/publishing-information/isbn-editions-impressions-and-reprints
> 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!
>   --scott

Both Scott and Adam are correct in this case.  Lulu lets you update
continuously with the same ISBN.

For clarity, we should use a new ISBN whenever we release a new edition.


Thanks for the help.  This has been somewhat confusing because much of
the 'information' on ISBNs, self publishing, and print on demand has
been generously provided by people and organizations trying to sell

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