ISBNs in the age of digital books

Some observations from Peter Brantley about what ISBNs will do in an age of digital books and multiple intermediaries between “publishers” and “readers.”

We are rapidly jerking forwards into a near term future where ISBNs will be assigned for derivative digital book products by intermediaries, not publishers. As an astute colleague observed in New York, the ISBN becomes a product SKU.

There are many disadvantages in this; one is that it will become increasingly difficult to find the “book” in the tangled weave of various digital instantiations. Perhaps no longer will we be able to ask how many copies did EduPunk 2020 sell.

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