[ISBN and SAN]Oddity and 2 questions

A forum for questions about all aspects of self-publishing.
Forum rules
Please start your post with a tag, for example FORMATTING. ISBN, SPARK, CREATESPACE,COPYRIGHT, etc.
Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:59 pm
Location: Silver City NM, USA

[ISBN and SAN]Oddity and 2 questions

Post by Hartworks » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:02 pm

Back in the early 80s, when my husband and I started our publishing company, we got 100 ISBNs from Bowker. Free! I still have the original logbook, almost half used up. I usually log in to Bowker and update when we publish something, but it wasn't until today that I noticed an oddity... I went to bookow.com's barcode generator as I'm finishing a book cover and I hadn't yet discovered that CS wouldn't use it anyway. I typed in the ISBN I had chosen from our logbook and Bookow wouldn't take it. I tried a few times, no luck

So I logged into my Bowker account and discovered that the numbers listed are a bit different from what our logbook has. The number I had chosen was our usual start, 0-916289-, and then it was 43-5. No such number existed online. So I printed out the new logbook and this time when I went to bookow, it accepted one of the numbers from there.

So that's the oddity.

[1] Any idea why Bowker changed our numbers on us? I have no idea when in the last 40 years they did this... my only guess is that it might have to do with check digits.

[2] Back then I also got a SAN which I haven't used in ages. Are people still using them? Should I?

Thanks in advance!

User avatar
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:32 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: [ISBN and SAN]Oddity and 2 questions

Post by Seisa » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:04 pm

Your original logbook probably contains ISBN-10 numbers, which are now deprecated in favor of the ISBN-13 system (they ran out of numbers so had to make them longer - more digits). If you use the 13-digit version of your remaining numbers, you shouldn't have any problems.
Sarah, Moderator
Editor & Book Designer


Learning French? Try our bilingual English-French series: https://sleepingcatpress.com

Site Admin
Posts: 213
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:05 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ

Re: [ISBN and SAN]Oddity and 2 questions

Post by walton » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:19 am

Let me add a bit to Sarah's answer, at one level, the 10 digit ISBN that you have is the same as the 13 digit ISBN you can use by converting the 10 digit number (you can find a converter at: https://www.isbn.org/ISBN_converter).

Here is a 10 digit ISBN from a book I picked out from those near at hand:
I convert that 10 digit number to get:

The original number was 0-8230-1877 to which a check number was appended, in this case 6.

To create the 13 digit number 978 prefix is added to the original 9 digits: 978-0-8230-1877, to which a new check number was appended, in this case 2.

You can see how the check number is determined in this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internati ... ook_Number

Simply put, the meat of the ISBN is 9 digits, to which a 3 digit prefix is applied, then a check number is appended.

Bleeds , free, 91 page guide to bleeds, margins, covers, and annotated CreateSpace guidelines. Prepress Glossary free, 79 page, fully illustrated prepress glossary with annotations forCreateSpace users. Typography free, 112 page illustrated guide to designing books, typography, with glossary and type specimen pages. Free list of free PDF downloads.


Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: PedroSweed and 11 guests