Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Death of the ISBN?

It’s news to just about no one at all that digital publishing has taken a heavy toll on many aspects of traditional publishing, but here’s one we hadn’t thought of before. The Economist looks at what may be a death knell for the ISBN:
Look inside any book published since 1970 and you will find a number. But perhaps not for much longer. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN), invented in Britain in 1965, took off rapidly as an international system for classifying books, with 150 agencies (one per country, with two for bilingual Canada) now issuing the codes. Set up by retailers to ease their distribution and sales, it increasingly hampers new, small and individual publishers. Yet digital publishing is weakening its monopoly.
The full piece is here.

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