Talk:International Standard Book Number/Archive 1

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Archived note

Jan 05- March 05 Archived now: FrankB 17:55, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the "first-digit" correction. The ISBN site explains it nicely. The books I've had problems with are UK editions, in fact almost any that I've tried (see McLibel case, The Surgeon of Crowthorne). Hotlorp

So, can you convert an SBN to an ISBN by simply prepending a 0, or is it more complicated than that? Ckape

In some cases that seems to work, in others not, possibly because the publisher has (rather naughtily) assigned that number to another book later on. Shantavira 13:15, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

By the way, the ISBN manual states an ISBN is verified if the sum of the weighted digits modulo 11 is 0, but the weights are in reverse order: 10x(d1) + 9x(d2) + ... + 2x(d9) + 1x(d10), whereas this article states the opposite. Just for reference, the two are equivalent, since if you subtract 10x(d1) from one to the other you get (-10)x(d1) which equals 1x(d1) since it's modulo 11. Then you subtract 9xd2 to get (-9)x(d2) which is 2x(d2) mod 11, etc. So the two approaches are the same, but it may be good to specify that in the article. --Joshua Eckroth (

Shouldn't be the word "monograph" used instead of "book" in the definition --Eleassar777 09:55, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Best ISBN sources?

It would be useful to have information on the best sources of ISBN information for new and used books, worldwide.

I find BookKoob (US and UK) to be very good, but it would be interesting to know who actually has the largest publicly searchable database of ISBNs on the net.

ISBN Database are working on getting a large public domain database from libraries, so far they have close to 1.9 million unique ISBNs. There is an XML based API for querying book data.

ABE titles So far as I know this only contains books *currently* listed on ABE. --PeterR 08:15, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

ISBN calculation

I've always been under the impression that, in order to calculate if an ISBN is right, you should multiply the ten digits (including the check digit) from ten through one...

Which, in the resolved formula, would be something like this:

10×0 + 9×3 + 8×0 + 7×6 + 6×4 + 5×0 + 4×6 + 3×1 + 2×5 = 0 + 6 + 0 + 24 + 20 + 0 + 42 + 8 + 45 = 130 = 13×11 + 2

Of course the check digit would also be 2, in this case in particular -- but try it with another ISBN...

Here's the calculation algorithm from, the official Bowker (US ISBN issuer) site about ISBNs: [1] --PeterR 21:21, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Different editions

The article doesn't make clear (if it is indeed the case) that different editions have different ISBN numbers, but that reprints retain the original. Can someone confirm, please? Andy Mabbett 18:47, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Certainly reprints in exactly the same format have the same ISBN, but I think the purists/legalists would like a new ISBN whenever a different looking cover goes on. In fact some books have been published by, for instance, Penguin, with the same ISBN for decades, and the covers certainly chaneg in appearance.--PeterR 21:18, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Reprints should retain the original ISBN, but haven't always. Until the late 1980s, US publishers of mass-market paperbacks would give their books new ISBNs whenever they reprinted them with higher prices, even though price was the only thing that changed. Sjlewis 21:50, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

ISBN beginning with B?

What's happening here Eddie Chapman ? Rich Farmbrough 01:13 5 March 2006 (UTC).

Answer: these are ASINs not ISBNs. Rich Farmbrough, 12:16 3 September 2006 (GMT).