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The End of 10-Digit ISBNs


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A small post that’s a little off my normal beat — sometimes software feels like a never ending series of Y2K like paper cuts.

ISBNs are cross-publisher serial numbers for books. If you’re publishing a book, and you want to tap into global supply chains (i.e. have stores be able to order and stock your book), you need to get your book an ISBN. Because publishing is an industry run (at times) by adults, these numbers are an international standard rather than a coincidence of a variable’s type.

This brief post over on the Locus blog mentions that 10-digit ISBN numbers are going away — something that’s taken almost fifteen years.

I imagine there’s a bunch of junior programmers having endless meetings with consultants, each group circling around the fact that no one knows how to identify all the places in their informal-software platforms that assume 10 digits ISBNs. God speed young programmers.

Copyright © Alan Storm 1975 – 2022 All Rights Reserved

Originally Posted: 10th March 2020