I wonder what could possibly go wrong when a resource is controlled by a single entity:
Bowker, the US agency for ISBNs, has raised the cost of a pack of 10 of these book “identifier” codes, from $250 to $295.
And thus, it just became even costlier for an American self-publishing author to buy the universal identifier(s) needed to make a book “visible” to book-market tracking services.
Ironically, some observers will say that the move further hobbles the ISBN, itself. Its validity already is being called into question, as pricing and an association with old-industry “gatekeeping” continue to erode its usage. For some time now, the ISBN has been unable to give us a full picture of titles active in the market.
This is a really good read about the future of the ISBN. I’d not even considered that the publishing world had moved on from them, but it makes sense to question their necessity when there is this kind of price pressure, and when the marketing/tracking benefits of the existing system is lessening.
When O’Leary says that “most new entrants are not included or analyzed” by the use of ISBNs, he means that many self-publishing authors, in particular, elect not to buy them. And without ISBNs, their books can’t be “seen” moving through the bookish market system.
For short e-fiction I’ve always used UIDs, but for longer fiction I’d just assume I’d need an ISBN… And of course we have a class-war, too:
Many writers have told me, however, that if the price of ISBNs were more reasonable and fairer in comparison to the price paid by publishers (who can buy 1,000 at a time for a dollar each), they’d buy them.