Overcoming Triskaidekaphobia

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

If the word "triskaidekaphobia" refers to one who has an abnormal fear of the number 13, then "ISBN-triskaidekaphobia" is an apt description for some booksellers' feelings regarding the upcoming changeover from ISBN-10 to ISBN-13. It's now time for those booksellers to come to terms with their anxieties, however, because the deadline to be ISBN-13 compliant is only seven months away. Fortunately, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has provided a number of tools to make it easier for booksellers to come to grips with the change.

Effective January 1, 2007, the length of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) will officially change from 10 digits to 13 digits. This change has ramifications for everyone in the book business, including booksellers, librarians, publishers, wholesalers, and POS vendors.

To help ease the transition, BISG created an ISBN-13 Task Force both to help identify potential operational and logistical problems and, then, to ensure that they don't occur. Among the members of the task force, which includes representatives from all segments of the book industry, is ABA Special Projects Director David Walker. [To read a previous article on this topic, go to http://news.bookweb.org/news/4232.html.]

The BISG webpage, bisg.org/isbn-13/, includes timelines, an FAQ, labeling and ordering information, and much more. Among these resources is a downloadable PDF of Wiley's ISBN-13 for Dummies, which addresses what an ISBN is, transitioning to the ISBN-13, and becoming ISBN-13 compliant.

And, finally, to help book industry professionals navigate the switch, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) provides an online seminar, or "webinar," that is free to download and is designed to unravel the complexities of the transition.