How to Identify E-books

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February 2012
by Angela Bole

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To easily enable movement of your books through the supply chain, you’ve relied for decades on the ISBN, assigning a different one to each edition of a title you publish and knowing that each of your licensees will assign a unique ISBN to each of their editions. But what is the protocol for assigning ISBNs to e-books published in a variety of editions for a variety of e-reading devices?

For a long time, nobody—not even the large book wholesalers and retailers that work with publishers of all sizes—could find a way for everyone to agree about identifying e-books. Now, though, thanks to 18 months of work by more than 60 people representing more than 40 companies in the book business, guidance on best practices for identifying digital products is available.

The Book Industry Study Group’s new Policy Statement on the subject addresses the critical need to reduce product identification confusion in the marketplace in order to provide the best possible purchasing experience for consumers.

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