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U.S. ISBN Monopoly Denies Threat From Digital Self-Publishing 127

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the jeff-bezos-controls-the-supply-chain dept.
Ian Lamont writes "The Economist writes that self-publishing threatens the existence of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) regimen, which is used to track and distribute printed books. Self-publishing of e-books has experienced triple-digit growth in recent years, and the most popular self-publishing platforms such as Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing don't require ISBNs (Amazon assigns its own reference number to these titles). But Bowker, the sole distributor of ISBNs in the United States, sees an opportunity in self-publishing. The packages for independent authors are very expensive — Bowker charges $125 for a single ISBN, and $250 for ten. It also upsells other expensive services to new and naive authors, including $25 barcodes and a social widget that costs $120 for the first year. Laura Dawson, the product manager for identifiers at Bowker, insists that ISBNs are relevant and won't be replaced anytime soon: 'Given how hard it is to migrate database platforms and change standards, I wouldn't expect to replace the ISBN, simply because it is also an EAN, which is an ISO standard that forms the backbone of global trade of both physical and digital items. There are a lot of middlemen, even in self-publishing. They require standards in order to communicate with one another.'" It seems like a lot of programs/services just use ASINs (despite being controlled by a single private entity), probably indicating some deficiency with the current centralized registration regime. Back in 2005, Jimmy Wales suggested we needed something (culturally) similar to wikipedia for product identifiers. The O'Reilly interview indicates that the folks issuing ISBNs think DOIs are DOA too.
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U.S. ISBN Monopoly Denies Threat From Digital Self-Publishing

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  • by yincrash (854885) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @01:58PM (#43126457)
    IOWANINOLS
  • They are used to dealing with big publishers. It is no surprise to me that they can offer those big publishers huge discounts on volume pricing, because this is the type of thing that doing once has roughly the same cost as doing in huge bulk.

    So no, I'm sorry, I don't swallow the whole "very expensive" line or the "12,500%" markup bullshit in TFA. It's not markup. It's the cost. And you can get huge discounts if you buy in bulk. Just like about everything you buy at Costco.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      TBH, that part of TFA struck me as a chap who's written some basic "Learn X in 30 minutes" books, decided to go down the self-publishing route (whether he's hoping to make a business out of it or it's just a self-funding hobby I'm not sure) and is bitter about learning a lesson that cost $250.

      Considering it's very easy to make mistakes that cost ten or even a hundred times that in a small business, I reckon $250 is a bargain. It'd cost an awful lot more than $250 to hire a consultant to tell you that.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Cost? What are they using to generate the numbers, a hand cranked analytical engine?

    • by gig (78408)

      How do you know $125 is the actual cost of one ISBN? There is no market for ISBN's, only a monopoly.

      In Canada and many other countries, the cost of one ISBN is free. A whole ISBN prefix can be had for free. There ends up being no excuse not to apply an ISBN, and so all books have ISBN's, and everybody benefits.

      > Costco

      What has a private grocery store got to do with public infrastructure like ISBN's? An ISBN costs nothing to create, and you can't eat it. We put them on books not for our own private intere

  • Bowker may be a monopoly in the US, I don't know. . Every country has its own series. In Hong Kong the government (part of the public library system) issues ISBNs on demand, free I charge authors $20 to supply a HK ISBN if they don't want to get one themself. Amazon numbers work and are free, but of course you can only use them if you sell exclusively through Amazon. So it may not be such a great saving.
    • Re:I = International (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:09PM (#43126517) Journal

      According to TFA, the ISBN is international; but for whatever historical reason 1 entity per country(no word on what happened to countries that have ceased to exist or come to exist since 1959, though those probably aren't hotbeds of writing and publishing...) was made the local monopoly distributor for that country.

      • Re:I = International (Score:4, Informative)

        by Matthias Wiesmann (221411) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @04:06AM (#43129577) Homepage Journal
        It is not really once code per country, ISBN started with a code per language zone, and switched to countries when they realised it could not scale, so codes 978-0 and 978-1 are for english (this includes the mysterious lands of united kingdom and australia), code 978-2 is for french, and so does 979-10, 978-3 is for german, the followin 978- prefixes are assigned to various countries. Note that the code is not assigned to the language of the book, but the dominant language of the country / publisher. So a swiss publisher can have a 978-2 book in english.

        If prices of ISBN codes were really a problem, people could just publish in France, where ISBNs are free. Anyways nowadays ISBN are just a particular class of GTIN/EAN so I suspect one could just buy an EAN (UPC) code.

        • by malkavian (9512)

          Wish I could mod that informative.. Learned more about ISBN codes in that post than I have in the preceeding 40 years! :)

    • Re:I = International (Score:4, Informative)

      by uffe_nordholm (1187961) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:34PM (#43126653)
      More or less the same applies here in Sweden: I applied for a few ISBNs, and was given two with no fuss. The total cost to me was I had to write two emails, and read some instructions. No money was involved in the transaction. I don't see why this should change should I need more ISBNs in the future.
      • More or less the same applies here in Sweden: I applied for a few ISBNs, and was given two with no fuss. The total cost to me was I had to write two emails, and read some instructions. No money was involved in the transaction.

        Same in New Zealand. If you want an ISBN you go to the National Library web site, fill in their form [natlib.govt.nz], and that's it. No money involved.

      • Yeah, but Sweden's communist, or something.

        'Murica!

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Essentially this is a fairly standard "everything should be private and for profit" attitude prevalent in US.

      In most of the rest of the world, ISBNs are distributed cheap or even free to authors, typically at a cost of requesting them and maybe paying some small processing fee.

      • Essentially this is a fairly standard "everything should be private and for profit" attitude prevalent in US.

        If the government is granting the monopoly, it's not "private" at all - it's a public-private-partnership (which is the new term for it - they used to call it fascism).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And I'm an ebook author!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:08PM (#43126513)

    It's a standard unique identifier recognized across the publishing business. While an ISBN doesn't mean much about the quality of the book (it could be total garbage, or worse) at least it ensures that people will have to fork over cash to get one - so you won't get millions of new spam ISBNs each day for example. And if identifiers were free, you'd probably have to use some scheme like GUID (randomly generated 128-bit identifiers) which are not human friendly, as anyone knows who has ever tried to clean out their Windows registry.

    Amazon's scheme is vendor-specific, and so would O'Reilly's if Tim came up with one.

  • by christurkel (520220) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:10PM (#43126523) Homepage Journal
    By putting an ISBN on your work, it is available in every wholesalers and retailer's database. Your book can be ordered anywhere by anyone. Amazon's identifier is for Amazon only.

    Authors don't have to pay that much for an ISBN when they self publish. Lulu.com for instance charges $40 for a "global distribution package" which includes an ISBN.
    • by fermion (181285)
      You know Amazon sells something like 1 out every 3 books. It is like Walmart, big enough that things change just for it. Remember when music was being censored so Walmart would sell it?

      If I wrote a book that I was going to market so it would end up on some best seller list, and therefore in a brick and mortar store, the cost of ISBN would be insignificant. If I were publishing a book that might end up in a library, then the cost would be justified. If I were publishing a book every couple months, then

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @05:39PM (#43127665) Journal

        ISBNs aren't worth $125, and they never were. They're priced that high to discourage people from buying them in such small quantities, because doing so is almost always a mistake, and results in lots of extra overhead because of the added segmentation of the address space.

        The reason it is a mistake can be summarized by describing how I'll be using ISBNs for each of the three books I'm about to publish:

        • One ISBN for the hardcover print edition.
        • One ISBN for the paperback print edition.
        • One ISBN for the EPUB digital edition.
        • One ISBN for the Amazon (MOBI/KF8) digital edition (optional).
        • One ISBN for the PDF digital edition (sometimes optional, depending on merchant).

        So each book in my trilogy could eat up to half of a block of ten by itself. Most folks should not be buying in blocks smaller than 10, and if you're serious about writing more than one or two books, in blocks of 100.

    • by Zenin (266666)

      By putting an ISBN on your work, it is available in every wholesalers and retailer's database. Your book can be ordered anywhere by anyone.

      Except it can't.

      While the ISBN helps simplify distribution, it does nothing to guarantee it. There are thousands upon thousands of "books in print", all with valid ISBN numbers, for which it can be effectively impossible for generic book sellers to obtain for you.

      This is particularly true for niche academic books published by tiny niche publishers. Once upon a time I w

    • by gig (78408)

      > By putting an ISBN on your work, it is available in every wholesalers and retailer's database.
      > Your book can be ordered anywhere by anyone.

      Not even close to true.

      ISBN's are just serial numbers. Applying a serial number to a product does not magically cause it to appear in ordering systems around the country or globe. Registering a domain name does not cause you to appear in everybody's bookmark list in their browser. All that separates ISBN's from a serial number is they have to be unique, therefor

  • "Very expensive"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:14PM (#43126537) Homepage

    $125 for one ISBN is only "very expensive" when you consider that ten ISBNs is $250. There are plenty of people who are willing to sell you an extra ISBN for cheap.

    That said, $125 for an ISBN is only "very expensive" in a country where the average person spends less than $125 for a bag of groceries. Which ain't this one.

    On a broader level, one of most baffling things to me has been how little people are willing to invest in their own futures. They'll spend $1,500 on an HDTV, but spend $125 for an ISBN -- when publishing their novel is presumably one of their lifelong dreams -- hell no! I can't afford it! It's so much money! I've listened to long harangues from musicians about how unjust the music industry is, and it turns out all they need is $2,500 to put out an album that's already been written AND recorded. I just can't understand it -- if it's that important to you, if this is what you really want to do with your life, why wouldn't you just put $2,500 on your credit card and damn the consequences? Honestly, I've made my living as a writer for well over a decade now, so I know what it's like to make no money at all ... but $2,500 is such an inconsequential amount of funds to spend on your own dreams that I just can't comprehend anybody complaining about it. In this society, $2,500 is the kind of money you don't even need to ask somebody for ... just fill out a form, they'll send you a card, and you can get a $2,500 loan -- or more -- without ever looking a human in the eye. So ... we're bitching about $250 now? No wait... we're apparently bitching about $125?

    • Re:"Very expensive"? (Score:5, Informative)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:20PM (#43126581)

      It's very expensive when you consider that ISBNs are free in many countries. Canada, for example, just requires you to register as a publisher, and then you can get as many ISBNs as you can use from a web site.

    • it turns out all they need is $2,500 to put out an album that's already been written AND recorded.

      Wow, where can you do that? What distribution channels does that give you access to?

      • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:41PM (#43126701) Homepage

        Wow, where can you do that? What distribution channels does that give you access to?

        For a lot of types of music, there is no mass market. The "distribution channels" are MySpace, Facebook, and Amazon. The role of the record label is minimal.

        I had one friend who managed to score a distribution deal with a pretty big indy distributor. It meant you could walk into any Virgin Megastore on Earth and buy his CD. But did you? No ... you didn't. Those CDs sat there for a few months and were rotated out for something else. Distribution channels aren't everything ... and this isn't the music industry of even a few years ago.

        That said, realize that all a record label really is is a bank with a lot of connections. Everything a major record label "spends" on you ... for recording, mixing, mastering, distribution, promotion ... is really just a loan. Nothing is a gift. You get paid, but not before they've made back every penny they spent on you. Putting out an album with record label backing is 100% analogous to starting a company with VC funding.

        • Very insightful. Someone with mod points, mod this guy up? /aside El Reg rocks :)

        • The biggest cost (and earn, for the publisher at least) is the promotional costs. You can do what you like to publish and distribute, but if no-one knows your album exists it's almost futile.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CalRobert (2451626)
      Your broader point really strikes a chord - I find my friends have a hard time understanding why I would spend $500 on taking a class at a community college (after about 6 of them my career improved immeasurably thanks to the skills earned) or $1000 getting a visa to work in a different country (which is cheap, really), yet they seem fine with spending boatloads of cash on a fancier car, or eating out all the time. To each their own, and if that's what they want to do then good for them, but I don't get the
      • by gig (78408)

        How about if before you took that $500 college course, you had to get a special ID number for $125 from a bullshit monopolist, increasing the cost of your course to $625? How about if you needed 6 or 7 special ID numbers for that one college course (like a book that is published in 6 or 7 formats,) so you buy 10 of them for $250 and now your course is $750, a 50% markup going to a bullshit monopolist?

        I agree, investing money in schooling or professional opportunities can pay off. But that money should go to

    • $125 for one, $25 each for the next step up, that should tell you all you need to know. It's rent seeking.

    • These days, sure that kind of money seems like nothing. But back when I was young, I dealt with the whole starving artist thing. Money was super tight, living paycheck to paycheck. $125 for a bag of groceries? More like $20-40 for the week. And $2500 to record an album, that was more than my car cost then. A simple cheap car repair was able to devastate my budget. You're working on the basis that self-published authors have decent jobs. So yes, $125 is something to bitch about. That's a lot of mone
      • by 1u3hr (530656)

        So yes, $125 is something to bitch about. That's a lot of money when you're scraping by and trying to get your first bits of work out there. Especially when you know that early in your self-publishing career, it's very likely it might not even sell enough to recoup that, even if the work is good.

        Realistically, if you have no other income than self publishing, you are dead broke and you should get a job flipping burgers and write on your time off. I know a lot of authors, literally hundreds, since I work in publishing. Only a handful make a living out of it. Most of those started as journalists. Not one could pay the rent from self publishing. And here, ISBNs are free, and printing is very cheap. It's marketing that's hard, and self publishing means you have a hundred times as much competition.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Realistically, if you have no other income than self publishing, you are dead broke and you should get a job flipping burgers and write on your time off.

          I know a couple of dozen people making their living from self-publishing, none of them the 'best-sellers' you see stories about on the web. That's a small fraction of the number of people who've self-published, but they're doing much better than a new trade-published writer with a $5,000 advance... or the hordes of wannabe trade-published writers sending out their books for years hoping that someone will eventually give them that $5,000 advance.

        • by gig (78408)

          > Realistically, if you have no other income than self publishing, you are dead broke
          > and you should get a job flipping burgers and write on your time off.

          Take out “self“ and it is just as true and just as stupid.

          You're forgetting that many authors today have published both ways. There is not necessarily a bunch of self-publishers separate from everyone else.

          Print publishing collapsed for good in 2009. The cost of paper is 200% the cost of a book. There are hundreds of thousands of missin

    • I've listened to long harangues from musicians about how unjust the music industry is, and it turns out all they need is $2,500 to put out an album that's already been written AND recorded. I just can't understand it -- if it's that important to you, if this is what you really want to do with your life, why wouldn't you just put $2,500 on your credit card and damn the consequences?

      Boy, that's some assumption you're making there. Are you really so out of touch that you just assume every musician must have a credit card, let alone one with $2500 or more credit left on it? I wish you the best with your writing career, but you need to familiarize (or perhaps re-familiarize) yourself with the term "starving artist". It doesn't matter that you were once broke yourself, the fact remains that for a whole lot of musicians, especially those just starting out in the biz, or who come from low-in

    • by sjames (1099)

      It amazes ME how much some people are willing to pay for a 'service' that costs practically nothing to perform. Generally these things only happen where there is a monopoly (rent seeking).

      For the low low price of $1000, I will issue you your official breathing license! Why would you even hesitate? Isn't your life worth $1000? Just put it on the ol' credit card and quit complaining!

    • $125 is close to the median household income in the US. In other words, it's enough to sustain an average family for one day, covering taxes, food, mortgage, petrol, other non-essential stuff, and then some change to the bank. All for a silly number (more precisely a record over an international database) that won't take much more than a phone call, and in some cases just by clicking a few buttons online - it probably doesn't even directly cost them cash, as many governments use tax money to help sustain th

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      That said, $125 for an ISBN is only "very expensive" in a country where the average person spends less than $125 for a bag of groceries. Which ain't this one.

      Shrugs. For me, the question is: block of 100 or block of 1,000. My first project, a trilogy of three novels, will require at least nine ISBNs, or 12 if I assign an ISBN to the Kindle edition (which is optional), so a block of 10 would be stupid unless I plan to never create any future works. A block of 100 would probably take care of any future pro

    • $125 for one ISBN is only "very expensive" when you consider that ten ISBNs is $250. There are plenty of people who are willing to sell you an extra ISBN for cheap.

      I had a look at UK prices, and the price structure is not quite what the article suggests.

      In the UK, you can buy blocks of 10, 100, or 1000. The first purchase is more expensive. You basically pay £50 to become part of their system, plus £70 for 10 ISBNs, so £120 for the first purchase, £70 for the next etc. 100 ISBNs cost about £220 (plus £50 if that is your first purchase), 1000 ISBNs cost about £700. I suppose the US p

    • That said, $125 for an ISBN is only "very expensive" in a country where the average person spends less than $125 for a bag of groceries. Which ain't this one.

      Either you're using 40 gallon garbage bags for your shopping or you're buying a lot of overpriced shit. There's no way in hell you can cram $125 worth of normal groceries into a single bag.

    • by skywire (469351) *

      Well, aren't we fortunate to have Your Omniscience around to inform us that $125 is the right price for a monopolist to charge for an ISBN.

    • by gig (78408)

      You can't trust a resold ISBN to be unique. So that alone shows that the system is broken. It makes no sense at all for anyone to be selling an ISBN to anyone. That is basically just gambling. Casino economy. No product, no benefit, just money changing hands.

      Every book that lacks an ISBN on Kindle and every book that was published with a non-unique ISBN is a huge ball of pain for everybody in publishing plus Library of Congress. You're saying “game on” to that! ISBN's aren't too expensive becaus

  • Why can't publications have something like GUID?
  • The packages for independent authors are very expensive — Bowker charges $125 for a single ISBN,

    This isn't expensive, do you know how much it costs to have an artist draw a cover? For an author, the biggest expense is publisher fees. If you're lucky, they'll only take around 40% of each book you sell. So if you're planning on selling more than 20 copies of your books, then an ISBN number isn't the biggest expense already.

    And that's only if you want to be picky about your ISBN. If you don't care who is listed as the publisher, CreateSpace will give you an ISBN for free.

    • This isn't expensive, do you know how much it costs to have an artist draw a cover?

      No, it is expensive. Something doesn't become not expensive because other non-comparable stuff is more expensive.

      You are comparing the cost of something which costs nothing to make, nothing to transport with something which involves time spent by a skilled artist.

    • by gig (78408)

      It is expensive because doling out a bullshit number is not comparable to cover art. If the ISBN was $10, that would be $115 extra for the cover artist, or the copy editor, or someone else who is actually contributing to the book with their sweat.

      It is expensive because the print book, ePub, iBook, Kindle, and audio book all require their own ISBN's. And future revisions of the book also require their own ISBN's. In print, that might be 2 revisions — in digital, we might revise an iBook every month.

      It

  • And unnecessary. Get rid of it.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:31PM (#43126641)

    With the explosion in books and book-like devices, the current ISBN scheme is insufficient. We'll soon be facing a world-wide ISBN shortage, especially in the rapidly expanding Asian publishing markets. I am promoting a new long-term solution called ISBNv6, which will provide a 128-bit-long space for book identifiers.

    • by nametaken (610866)

      Well played.

      We should get around to using that by the time the Enterprise D is first leaving dry dock, yeah?

    • "something something something should be enough for anybody", it's an article about books, use your imagination.

  • Aren't GUIDs free, and ubiquitous on Microsoft platforms, what... 20 years ago?

    • For all intensive purposes,

      Ok, I've been seeing you post this for quite some time, and it's never failed to annoy me. Granted, at some point I did think this really was correct and/or valid. But it's not.

      The correct phrase is, "For all INTENTS AND PURPOSES" ...

      This makes a lot more sense, no?

      Please change your .sig. It bothers me. :)

    • by gig (78408)

      I don't know about Microsoft platforms, but in bash there is uuidgen command that makes GUIDs.

  • cryptographic hash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by marvinglenn (195135) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:34PM (#43126655)
    Especially for digital books, but to be used on the digital information that a regular book is printed from... a cryptographic hash of the book is the book identifier. Decentralized, unlikely to have a number collision, and the added bonus of a mechanism to make sure that the book you received is the book you wanted. The only thing that needs to be centralized is the decision of which hash to use, how to hash the data, and how to represent the hash as to the user.
    • by burisch_research (1095299) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:59PM (#43126795)

      Books go through many revisions. The link may be referring to an outdated version; and while it's possible you might WANT that old version, chances are that you want the most recent one. This destroys the hash argument, I'm afraid.

      • With paper books, does each revision share the same ISBN? That seems like it would be really bad for inventory control.

        • by gig (78408)

          ISBN uniquely identifies just one book, not one book title. If you revise the book, it gets a new ISBN.

          Also, the paper book, the ePub, the iBook, the Kindle book, and the audio book all get their own ISBN's.

          So a book that is revised 3 times and ships in 5 formats needs 15 different ISBN's.

          > bad for inventory control

          Just the opposite. The way you can identify the older versions of a book is by their unique ISBN's. So you stop selling the old ISBN, and start selling the new ISBN. If they both have the same

          • So a book that is revised 3 times and ships in 5 formats needs 15 different ISBN's.

            Thanks for the answer. So perhaps a crypto hash isn't a bad method for indexing.

            > bad for inventory control

            Just the opposite. The way you can identify the older versions of a book is by their unique ISBN's.

            Agreed - I argued that sharing an ISBN would be bad for inventory control.

    • Hashes collide.
      There are far simpler solutions which actually don't have such problems.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:37PM (#43126687)

    Laura Dawson, the product manager for identifiers at Bowker, insists that ISBNs are relevant and won't be replaced anytime soon

    When you have to insist that your product is relevant, that's a bad sign.

    • by gig (78408)

      They could be replaced by URL's, i.e. the identifier for “On the Road” could be jackkerouac.com/on/the/road and could lead to a website with credits and other metadata.

  • Make an MD5 hash of the book's contents.

  • Well not really. I work for a company that's part of a large group, and one of the group's subsidiaries is a massive publisher of legal books. My question is: is it worthwhile to get these books onto DOI, host them online, and then somehow drive sales through this? In the DOI documentation, while I've not searched extensively, it seems there's no built-in mechanism for purchases.

    Is this worthwhile to pursue?

  • I was in publishing for a long time. The whole ISBN system is a major ripoff designed to fatten their wallets. It is much like, but much worse, than the domain name scam. There is no justification for the $10/year cost of domain names and no justification for the $125 to $25 cost of ISBN numbers. That is, no justification other than that they have a monopoly and can charge dang well what they please. Time to crush these monopolies.

    • Re:Ripoff City (Score:5, Insightful)

      by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @04:31PM (#43127297)

      There is no justification for the $10/year cost of domain names

      Good domain names are a limited resource (sure there are a gazillion possible combinations but nobody wants to be kz67uip95zqtn.com or johnsmithfrompowercablenebraskabutnottheonthatlivesonwashingtonstreet.org). Until we live in some post-scarcity socialist nirvana where our disputes can be mediated by infinitely wise AIs then they will have a value. (...and even then, look at how long the names get in Banks's Culture books!)

      If domain names were free, or lasted forever for a small fee, then the cybersquatters would be busy running scripts to systematically register every likely combination of English words , and you'd all have to buy back your domains from them for whatever they wanted to charge. The domain name market is Wild West enough at the moment, thanks very much.

      At least a monopoly has some sort of accountability.

      • kz67uip95zqtn.com

        Dang, now I'm going to have to find a new name for my website! :P

      • by ediron2 (246908)

        CS101: Using live data as a primary key is bad database design in part because of the risk of two records wanting the same key.

        Yet DNS does this. Artificial scarcity (and any alternative of gloom and doom) is a byproduct of an intrinsically flawed design. Call me crazy, but names, companies, etc all manage to cope despite redundancies by us resorting to more keys than just the name.

        Inertia means DNS names being unique is a 'problem' unlikely to be 'fixed'. But don't trumpet $1.4B (ballpark -- 140M domains,

      • by gig (78408)

        If domain names were free, squatters would run scripts to register every possible character combination, then sell them to the highest bidder. The price of domain names would go up.

        To be free, there would have to be rules like you have to put up a real website before you register the name, and if the server goes offline for a month you lose the name.

  • by CdXiminez (807199) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @05:53PM (#43127731)

    $125 for a single ISBN is very expensive. In The Netherlands a single ISBN is €9.07 ($11.79).
    https://portal.boekhuis.nl/isbn/informatie/tarieven [boekhuis.nl]

    • by Frankie70 (803801)

      You are talking about mass produced ISBNs. Each American ISBN is hand made by a very skilled Artisan who puts in a lot of love and effort into it.

      • Sorry, that is the past. They are bought from overseas for cheap now. Each number has a tiny "made in china" stamp on the side when turned in a 3d direction. They just want you to believe it is Artisan, that is a hype word right now.
  • Laak ah sed. Yo ain't need no pay nobody foh ISBNs bro.
    • by gig (78408)

      How? Do you have a link or do you just not know what you are talking about?

      • by gig (78408)

        From http://www.loc.gov/publish/

        The Library of Congress does not administer or distribute International Standard Book Numbers.
        Please contact R.R. Bowker at:
        630 Central Avenue
        New Providence, NJ 07974

        Tel: (877) 310-7333
        Fax: (908) 665-2895

  • My Canadian friend got her own ISBN prefix for free, so she can publish as many books as she wants, all with matching ISBN prefix. But me, I have to pay a hundred bucks per book, and my ISBN's won't match. Typical US privatization bullshit highway robbery, just like the private cell networks and private medical care. These are not private sector pursuits, they are infrastructure that enables more and better private sector pursuits.

When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"

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