Discussion:
When the world's largest retailer gets its wires crossed..
(too old to reply)
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-12 05:24:19 UTC
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https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-12 05:35:28 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.

I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
David Johnston
2018-06-12 06:06:53 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
I believe he's referring to the two prices for "paperbacks". But the mass market paperback is a pocketbook, while the other is a trade paperback.
Moriarty
2018-06-12 06:19:36 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by David Johnston
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
I believe he's referring to the two prices for "paperbacks". But the mass market paperback is a pocketbook, while the other is a trade paperback.
Or the fact that the kindle edition is $9.80, while the MMPB is $5.59. That's just bizarre.

-Moriarty
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-12 06:24:05 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by David Johnston
Post by David Johnston
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
I believe he's referring to the two prices for "paperbacks". But the
mass market paperback is a pocketbook, while the other is a trade
paperback.
Or the fact that the kindle edition is $9.80, while the MMPB is $5.59. That's just bizarre.
-Moriarty
Ai Yi Yi!

Or maybe none of y'all are seeing it. I didn't expect that to happen!

I could drag it out, but it wasn't worth that: The reviews.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Moriarty
2018-06-12 06:27:27 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by David Johnston
Post by David Johnston
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
I believe he's referring to the two prices for "paperbacks". But the
mass market paperback is a pocketbook, while the other is a trade
paperback.
Or the fact that the kindle edition is $9.80, while the MMPB is $5.59.
That's just bizarre.
-Moriarty
Ai Yi Yi!
Or maybe none of y'all are seeing it. I didn't expect that to happen!
I could drag it out, but it wasn't worth that: The reviews.
Heh. OK then.

-Moriarty
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-12 17:17:44 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by David Johnston
Post by David Johnston
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
I believe he's referring to the two prices for "paperbacks". But the
mass market paperback is a pocketbook, while the other is a trade
paperback.
Or the fact that the kindle edition is $9.80, while the MMPB is $5.59.
That's just bizarre.
-Moriarty
Ai Yi Yi!
Or maybe none of y'all are seeing it. I didn't expect that to happen!
I could drag it out, but it wasn't worth that: The reviews.
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.

Lynn
Kevrob
2018-06-12 20:31:35 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?

Kevin R
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-12 22:11:42 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many smaller
databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as a static
webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.

Lynn
Joe Pfeiffer
2018-06-12 22:36:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.

I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
Kevrob
2018-06-12 23:00:56 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
Books all have unique identifiers, though:
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.

If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
and pages have been falling out of the @#$!^&! thing like leaves
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.

If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?

Kevin R
J. Clarke
2018-06-13 02:41:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
This is a well known problem with Amazon's reviews. They don't go by
ISBN or SKU or anything else that uniquely identifies the product. For
example, look at the reviews for a Sigma EM-140DG flash and you'll
find that the reviews for that flash for Canon, Nikon, and Sony are
all mixed together.

In some cases a main listing will allow selection of a number of
different products, but the reviews all get lumped together, so it's
not at all clear what specific item is being reviewed.

Books the same way, if it's the same title then the reviews all get
lumped together.

If they wanted to do a right job of things they could fix this mess.
But they don't seem to care.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-13 03:29:25 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
This is a well known problem with Amazon's reviews. They don't go by
ISBN or SKU or anything else that uniquely identifies the product. For
example, look at the reviews for a Sigma EM-140DG flash and you'll
find that the reviews for that flash for Canon, Nikon, and Sony are
all mixed together.
In some cases a main listing will allow selection of a number of
different products, but the reviews all get lumped together, so it's
not at all clear what specific item is being reviewed.
Books the same way, if it's the same title then the reviews all get
lumped together.
If they wanted to do a right job of things they could fix this mess.
But they don't seem to care.
Well, this particular instance is a new problem. I have been peeking
at the reviews of the Dante Valentine book for a while now (since I
since I really felt let down by it:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R3NX0QOE30KT7A

) and I can definitely say this confusion with Murphy is a new phenomenon.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 04:02:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
This is a well known problem with Amazon's reviews. They don't go by
ISBN or SKU or anything else that uniquely identifies the product. For
example, look at the reviews for a Sigma EM-140DG flash and you'll
find that the reviews for that flash for Canon, Nikon, and Sony are
all mixed together.
In some cases a main listing will allow selection of a number of
different products, but the reviews all get lumped together, so it's
not at all clear what specific item is being reviewed.
Books the same way, if it's the same title then the reviews all get
lumped together.
If they wanted to do a right job of things they could fix this mess.
But they don't seem to care.
Well, this particular instance is a new problem. I have been peeking
at the reviews of the Dante Valentine book for a while now (since I
https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R3NX0QOE30KT7A
) and I can definitely say this confusion with Murphy is a new
phenomenon.
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-13 04:25:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong
database record.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
This is a well known problem with Amazon's reviews. They don't go by
ISBN or SKU or anything else that uniquely identifies the product. For
example, look at the reviews for a Sigma EM-140DG flash and you'll
find that the reviews for that flash for Canon, Nikon, and Sony are
all mixed together.
In some cases a main listing will allow selection of a number of
different products, but the reviews all get lumped together, so it's
not at all clear what specific item is being reviewed.
Books the same way, if it's the same title then the reviews all get
lumped together.
If they wanted to do a right job of things they could fix this mess.
But they don't seem to care.
Well, this particular instance is a new problem. I have been peeking
at the reviews of the Dante Valentine book for a while now (since I
https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R3NX0QOE30KT7A
) and I can definitely say this confusion with Murphy is a new phenomenon.
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of confusion
anyway.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 05:09:35 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
[snip-snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ahasuerus
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of
confusion anyway.
True, but Amazon's problems are often more serious than "Is book X part of
series Y?" Sometimes you get messages like "This is book 5 in a 3-book
series" or a series listing which shows only some books in the series even
though other Amazon pages show the series correctly. It's a work in
progress.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-13 05:15:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ahasuerus
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of
confusion anyway.
True, but Amazon's problems are often more serious than "Is book X part of
series Y?" Sometimes you get messages like "This is book 5 in a 3-book
series" or a series listing which shows only some books in the series even
though other Amazon pages show the series correctly. It's a work in
progress.
"A Trilogy In Four Parts"...
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Moriarty
2018-06-13 05:36:08 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ahasuerus
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of
confusion anyway.
True, but Amazon's problems are often more serious than "Is book X part of
series Y?" Sometimes you get messages like "This is book 5 in a 3-book
series" or a series listing which shows only some books in the series even
though other Amazon pages show the series correctly. It's a work in
progress.
"A Trilogy In Four Parts"...
"The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy"...

-Moriarty
Jerry Brown
2018-06-13 18:44:14 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tue, 12 Jun 2018 22:09:35 -0700 (PDT), Ahasuerus
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ahasuerus
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of
confusion anyway.
True, but Amazon's problems are often more serious than "Is book X part of
series Y?" Sometimes you get messages like "This is book 5 in a 3-book
series"
IIRC, one or more of Moorcock's Eternal Champion books meets this
criterion.
Post by Ahasuerus
or a series listing which shows only some books in the series even
though other Amazon pages show the series correctly. It's a work in
progress.
--
Jerry Brown

A cat may look at a king
(but probably won't bother)
Joe Pfeiffer
2018-06-13 22:30:24 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ahasuerus
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of
confusion anyway.
True, but Amazon's problems are often more serious than "Is book X part of
series Y?" Sometimes you get messages like "This is book 5 in a 3-book
series" or a series listing which shows only some books in the series even
though other Amazon pages show the series correctly. It's a work in
progress.
It's the part where they'll show it right some places and not others
that has me scratching my head. Every time you present the same key,
you should get the same record...

In the case of the book we're talking about, it would have made perfect
sense to me if a search for one of the books to have turned up the
other. It's how it can end up with the bibliographic details for one
and the reviews for the other that's weird.
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 22:37:08 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ahasuerus
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of
confusion anyway.
True, but Amazon's problems are often more serious than "Is book X part of
series Y?" Sometimes you get messages like "This is book 5 in a 3-book
series" or a series listing which shows only some books in the series even
though other Amazon pages show the series correctly. It's a work in
progress.
It's the part where they'll show it right some places and not others
that has me scratching my head. Every time you present the same key,
you should get the same record... [snip]
I don't have access to Amazon's internal documentation, but, after working
on their data for the last 10+ years, it's my impression that some of
their data is stored in different databases and then integrated to
present a (hopefully) seamless picture to the end user.
Richard Hershberger
2018-06-13 15:45:01 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong
database record.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
This is a well known problem with Amazon's reviews. They don't go by
ISBN or SKU or anything else that uniquely identifies the product. For
example, look at the reviews for a Sigma EM-140DG flash and you'll
find that the reviews for that flash for Canon, Nikon, and Sony are
all mixed together.
In some cases a main listing will allow selection of a number of
different products, but the reviews all get lumped together, so it's
not at all clear what specific item is being reviewed.
Books the same way, if it's the same title then the reviews all get
lumped together.
If they wanted to do a right job of things they could fix this mess.
But they don't seem to care.
Well, this particular instance is a new problem. I have been peeking
at the reviews of the Dante Valentine book for a while now (since I
https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R3NX0QOE30KT7A
) and I can definitely say this confusion with Murphy is a new phenomenon.
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of confusion
anyway.
I can't find it now, and it may have gone away, but at one point Amazon was listing "Paradise Lost" as the first book of the series. Even more startling, it was a three book series. Sadly, I don't recall what was the third book. I think it might have been something boring like a volume with Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

Richard R. Hershberger
Kevrob
2018-06-13 17:17:35 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Richard Hershberger
I can't find it now, and it may have gone away, but at one point Amazon was listing "Paradise Lost" as the first book of the series. Even more startling, it was a three book series. Sadly, I don't recall what was the third book. I think it might have been something boring like a volume with Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.
"Samson Agonistes" as a separate volume, perhaps?

Kevin R
Robert Carnegie
2018-06-13 21:39:09 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Richard Hershberger
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Kevrob
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong
database record.
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
This is a well known problem with Amazon's reviews. They don't go by
ISBN or SKU or anything else that uniquely identifies the product. For
example, look at the reviews for a Sigma EM-140DG flash and you'll
find that the reviews for that flash for Canon, Nikon, and Sony are
all mixed together.
In some cases a main listing will allow selection of a number of
different products, but the reviews all get lumped together, so it's
not at all clear what specific item is being reviewed.
Books the same way, if it's the same title then the reviews all get
lumped together.
If they wanted to do a right job of things they could fix this mess.
But they don't seem to care.
Well, this particular instance is a new problem. I have been peeking
at the reviews of the Dante Valentine book for a while now (since I
https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R3NX0QOE30KT7A
) and I can definitely say this confusion with Murphy is a new phenomenon.
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Of course, the question of "What is a series?" invites all kind of confusion
anyway.
I can't find it now, and it may have gone away, but at one point Amazon was listing "Paradise Lost" as the first book of the series. Even more startling, it was a three book series. Sadly, I don't recall what was the third book. I think it might have been something boring like a volume with Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.
Richard R. Hershberger
I was going to ask you to watch for _Love's Labour's Won_
as it may be important, but... I'm too late??
Kevrob
2018-06-13 04:34:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ahasuerus
I work with Amazon records, including some data that is not accessible
on Amazon Web pages, all the time. Their quality varies quite a bit.
There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes and in some cases
things fall through the cracks, mostly due to data entry problems. For
example, their series designations, which were added relatively recently,
are sometimes messed up.
Books was Amazons only category, at first. They've has 23 years to
figure out how to run a database using ISBNs as key records. If
we were talking about refrigerators or real estate that would be
different. They ought to be able to get _books_ right, by now.

I sold books for a living for a quarter century, so I'm a bit
opinionated about how to run a brick & mortar bookstore. I know
much less about e-commerce, of course.

Kevin R
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 05:04:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 12:34:05 AM UTC-4, Kevrob wrote:
[snip]
Post by Kevrob
Books was Amazons only category, at first. They've has 23 years to
figure out how to run a database using ISBNs as key records. If
we were talking about refrigerators or real estate that would be
different. They ought to be able to get _books_ right, by now.
They still use ISBN-10s for paper books, but they use proprietary
"ASINs" for e-books. Some of them have ISBNs (which are not displayed
on Amazon Web pages but can be searched for), some do not.

They also link ISBNs for display purposes since their customers want
to know if the book they are viewing is also available in other formats
(Kindle, audio, hardcover, trade paperback, library binding, etc.) They
also display links to other books in the same series, recommendations,
previously viewed books, etc. A lot of things can go wrong when you
are trying to link dozens of ISBNs.

In addition, they also need to keep track of superseded ISBNs, cancelled
ISBNs, replaced cover scans and all kinds of other things like regional
availability issues.
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-13 22:28:54 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats. That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs. And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats. For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/

Lynn
J. Clarke
2018-06-13 23:57:09 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wed, 13 Jun 2018 17:28:54 -0500, Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Lynn McGuire
I've seen this happen several times at Big River. Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record? It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db? In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged. And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built. I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases. If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No! That would be an umaintainable mess. The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls. Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc. Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version. That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock. Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book. I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback! The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.
That's only partially "correctly". If this edition is a crap
translation then that matters. If this edition has the pages falling
out when it arrives, that matters. It's not only the content that
gets reviewed.

They should have made some provision for reviews of specific editions
vs reviews of the generic content. They didn't.
Post by Lynn McGuire
That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs. And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats. For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
Lynn
Joe Pfeiffer
2018-06-14 01:31:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
On Wed, 13 Jun 2018 17:28:54 -0500, Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.
That's only partially "correctly". If this edition is a crap
translation then that matters. If this edition has the pages falling
out when it arrives, that matters. It's not only the content that
gets reviewed.
They should have made some provision for reviews of specific editions
vs reviews of the generic content. They didn't.
Post by Lynn McGuire
That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs. And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats. For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
I expect if they depended on customers to put the right review on the
right format the results would be far, far worse than the mistake we're
laughing at now.
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-14 00:26:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Kevrob
I've seen this happen several times at Big River.  Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record?  It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db?  In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged.  And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built.  I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases.  If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No!  That would be an umaintainable mess.  The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls.  Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc.  Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version.  That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock.  Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book.  I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback!  The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.  That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs.  And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats.  For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
    https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
Lynn
_The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ has 62 publishing formats. I am very
impressed that Amazon tracked all of these down.

https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0312863551/

Lynn
Robert Carnegie
2018-06-14 01:06:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Kevrob
I've seen this happen several times at Big River.  Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record?  It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db?  In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged.  And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built.  I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases.  If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No!  That would be an umaintainable mess.  The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls.  Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc.  Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version.  That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock.  Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book.  I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback!  The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.  That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs.  And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats.  For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
    https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
Lynn
_The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ has 62 publishing formats. I am very
impressed that Amazon tracked all of these down.
https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0312863551/
There appears to be a hardcover edition from 1659.
That isn't in the ISFDB!

Audio CD, 1682?
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-14 01:28:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Kevrob
I've seen this happen several times at Big River.  Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record?  It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db?  In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged.  And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built.  I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases.  If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No!  That would be an umaintainable mess.  The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls.  Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc.  Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version.  That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock.  Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book.  I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback!  The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.  That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs.  And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats.  For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
    https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
Lynn
_The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ has 62 publishing formats. I am very
impressed that Amazon tracked all of these down.
https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0312863551/
There appears to be a hardcover edition from 1659.
That isn't in the ISFDB!
Audio CD, 1682?
I thought those 17th century editions were cool also !

Lynn
David DeLaney
2018-06-18 07:53:31 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Lynn McGuire
_The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ has 62 publishing formats. I am very
impressed that Amazon tracked all of these down.
https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0312863551/
There appears to be a hardcover edition from 1659.
That isn't in the ISFDB!
Audio CD, 1682?
I thought those 17th century editions were cool also !
Oh, Gay Deceiver, what tangled web hast thou woven THIS time?

Dave, with polarized moonlight a-drip off thy sills
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Joe Pfeiffer
2018-06-14 02:08:58 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Kevrob
I've seen this happen several times at Big River.  Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record?  It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db?  In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged.  And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built.  I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases.  If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No!  That would be an umaintainable mess.  The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls.  Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc.  Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version.  That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock.  Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book.  I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback!  The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.  That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs.  And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats.  For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
    https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
Lynn
_The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ has 62 publishing formats. I am very
impressed that Amazon tracked all of these down.
https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0312863551/
There appears to be a hardcover edition from 1659.
That isn't in the ISFDB!
I think I can understand why that's such an expensive edition...
Post by Robert Carnegie
Audio CD, 1682?
One would think something as rare as this edition would command more
than $35.55....
Ahasuerus
2018-06-14 02:30:18 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Kevrob
I've seen this happen several times at Big River.  Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record?  It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db?  In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged.  And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built.  I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases.  If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No!  That would be an umaintainable mess.  The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls.  Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc.  Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version.  That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock.  Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book.  I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback!  The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.  That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs.  And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats.  For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
    https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
Lynn
_The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ has 62 publishing formats. I am very
impressed that Amazon tracked all of these down.
https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0312863551/
There appears to be a hardcover edition from 1659.
That isn't in the ISFDB!
I think I can understand why that's such an expensive edition...
Post by Robert Carnegie
Audio CD, 1682?
One would think something as rare as this edition would command more
than $35.55....
Have you listened to it? The narrator's accent is really odd. I don't
know what the publisher was thinking!
J. Clarke
2018-06-15 23:59:16 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wed, 13 Jun 2018 18:06:17 -0700 (PDT), Robert Carnegie
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by Kevrob
I've seen this happen several times at Big River.  Their biggest
database in the world sometimes has troubles with the reviews.
I'm no programmer, but the listing is calling the wrong database record.
Referencing the wrong key record?  It isn't a bunch of random reviews.
It would smell like a db that needs reindexing on a smaller system.
How is that done with such a large db?  In discrete sub-units, so
parts of it are being re-indexed, the way a long bridge is always being
painted?
Kevin R
I think you've got the problem pegged.  And no, I have no idea how the
Big River database is built.  I suspect that it is actually many
smaller databases.  If it were me, I would build each item for sale as
a static webpage and then refresh the static webpage as needed.
No!  That would be an umaintainable mess.  The only rational way to buid
a web site with more than one page is to have templates for various page
types populated by database calls.  Even something as small as
www.mesillavalleyshotgunsports.com (I'm the webmaster) is built that
way.
I expect the coincidence that the urban fantasy book and Audie Murphy's
autobiography have the same title probably has a lot to do with the
mistake.
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
Each separate format has its own #, though that number is
supposed to stay consistent within each type from edition
and printing, unless it is a true 'new edition," where
new content has been added: a forward not in the last edition,
a new translation, etc.  Publishers of mass market paperbacks
used to slap new ISBNs on books that had only a change of cover
artwork, such as a movie edition with a photo cover, rather than
the text or text and art cover of the last version.  That's
great for tracking sales, but it was against the ISBN rules,
and made it difficult for retailers to know just how many
copies of the book they had in stock.  Every once in a while
one would have to, as a bookseller running a system like IBID or
Wordstock, make a global ISBN change, in order to preserve
sales history, and invoice information for possible returns.
It was a royal pain in the neck, and it was always lossy in some
way.
If the ISBN is a key record, it can be used to call the reviews.
I don't use Bezos's store-killer enough to know if there is
a separate set of reviews for the various formats of the same
book.  I could see reasons to do it that way: "Don't buy this
in trade paperback!  The `perfect binding' is highly imperfect,
from the autumn trees, under light handling!" or "this new-sized
almost-mass-market size paperback won;t fit comfortably on my shelves
next to the earlier volumes of the series." "If you want the maps
and the glossary, buy the hardcover!" And so on.
If all the ISBNs call all the reviews for all versions, it would be
easy to enter one for a volume that LOOKED like the same book, but wasn't.
Now, did a human do that, or some algorithm?
Kevin R
The problem is that Amazon, correctly, uses all reviews for all
publishing formats.  That means that each review applies to several
ISBNs.  And for some of the older books, I have seen 30 or 40 publishing
formats.  For instance, there are 38 publishing formats for Heinlein's
superb _Citizen of the Galaxy_.
    https://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Galaxy-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1416505520/
Lynn
_The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ has 62 publishing formats. I am very
impressed that Amazon tracked all of these down.
https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0312863551/
There appears to be a hardcover edition from 1659.
That isn't in the ISFDB!
And for $1,236.30 it can be yours.

For that price I want it personally signed by Lazarus Long and
delivered by Gay Deciever.

Which, given that there was a time machine involved in there
somewhere, shouldn't be out of the question.
Joe Bernstein
2018-06-19 21:09:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
[long riff on ISBNs]

ISBNs haven't always been unique identifiers. They may always have
been intended to be, but I'd want to see evidence of that long-term
intent, because when I worked at Stars - twenty years ago - I saw two
volumes, unrelated but both at our store so probably both speculative
fiction, with the same ISBN. (Of course, given the structure of
ISBNs, they had to have the same publisher.) Unfortunately, I don't
remember which books they were, but a Google search on "non-unique
ISBN" gets a few results. These would've been books that we were
stocking as new books, because the only context in which I could've
caught the duplication would be the data entry I did when the store
computerised, so this isn't a matter of cluelessness way back in the
1960s, but in at least the 1980s and probably the 1990s.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Library of Congress numbers", but note
that some books published outside the US never go to the LoC, and the
LoC doesn't keep everything it gets. Does it number everything it
gets?

But if by that phrase you mean Worldcat's OCLC numbers, note that
these are profoundly one-to-many, especially if the book is widely
owned in Europe, because several European libraries don't play well
with others. Worldcat deals with this partly by treating each OCLC
number as an "edition" and creating structures that link them. Such
structures seem, from this user's perspective, to have severe
database flaws. Many are asymmetrical - for example, given a set of
OCLC numbers considered "editions" of each other, some may have
"editions" that aren't in that set, while others don't. Additionally,
as I found repeatedly while studying Shirley Goulden last year,
Worldcat is, or has recently been, plagued with enormous, poorly
controlled "edition"-sets around heavily published titles. (Several
of her titles were linked with, for example. other retellings using
the title phrase "Arabian Nights", which is at least understandable.
However, at the time, others were linked to thousand-"edition" sets
dominated by Russian printings of Pushkin - I kid you not, there were
*more than one* such - and others to other unrelated topics. This
problem had been substantially reduced when I looked at her books
again a few months later, after my laptop was stolen, so maybe
Worldcat is on top of it.)

Also, books exist that never get into Worldcat, though I have to go
to the Near East to name clear examples. I should think someone
better acquainted than I with the new e-book world could name plenty
of American examples. Do those all go to the Library of Congress?

I'm fairly certain that incunabula specialists would be shocked to
hear that "books all have unique identifiers".

I think there's lots of evidence that assigning unique identifiers to
books, and then linking them appropriately, is actually quite *hard*.
In the limited futzing around with bibliographic database work I've
done myself, it's certainly looked that way. So while at one level
Amazon, being a company, certainly *should* be able to assign
everything it sells (probably including zero incunabula) a unique
identifier like every other company, it clearly has policies that
require the linking of related products, and being, as the subject
line notes, "the world's largest retailer", it's finding that
freaking *hard*, and I see no reason to be surprised.

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Kevrob
2018-06-19 23:03:30 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Kevrob
ISBNs, Bookland/EAN #s, Library of Congress numbers, etc.
[long riff on ISBNs]
ISBNs haven't always been unique identifiers. They may always have
been intended to be, but I'd want to see evidence of that long-term
intent, because when I worked at Stars - twenty years ago - I saw two
volumes, unrelated but both at our store so probably both speculative
fiction, with the same ISBN. (Of course, given the structure of
ISBNs, they had to have the same publisher.)
Probably a mistake, either in editorial - the publisher assigning
the same ISBN to different books, while the ISBN Agency [a division
of R R Bowker, publishers of "Books In Print,"] had sold them two,
different numbers - or it was a misprint. Misprints could sometimes
have the correct number on the copyright page, and the wrong one on
the book cover, or vice versa.

We had a copy of an algorithm for testing ISBN check digits. In the
80s, before the 13-digit version became common, ISBNs were composed
of a prefix [0-06 was Harper's main one] the body of the number [in
the case of an exemplar from Harper, -456789- and a check digit, which
could range from 0 to 9, and included X. So, 0-06-456789-X would have
to pass the algorithm to be cromulent. Some publishers didn't seem to
check them all, and tried iterating their check digit in order to get
more bang for their buck. Publishers had to pay a fee for each ISBN.
See:

https://www.isbn.org/

Note the "Buy ISBNs" menu item?
Post by Joe Bernstein
Unfortunately, I don't
remember which books they were, but a Google search on "non-unique
ISBN" gets a few results. These would've been books that we were
stocking as new books, because the only context in which I could've
caught the duplication would be the data entry I did when the store
computerised, so this isn't a matter of cluelessness way back in the
1960s, but in at least the 1980s and probably the 1990s.
I'm not sure what you mean by "Library of Congress numbers",
These:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Congress_Control_Number

Used much more in academe than in bookstores.
Post by Joe Bernstein
but note
that some books published outside the US never go to the LoC, and the
LoC doesn't keep everything it gets. Does it number everything it
gets?
But if by that phrase you mean Worldcat's OCLC numbers,
Nope, unless there's a connection I'm unaware of. I took my
only "Library Science" course twice a week as a Freshman in High
School, eons ago.
Post by Joe Bernstein
note that
these are profoundly one-to-many, especially if the book is widely
owned in Europe, because several European libraries don't play well
with others. Worldcat deals with this partly by treating each OCLC
number as an "edition" and creating structures that link them. Such
structures seem, from this user's perspective, to have severe
database flaws. Many are asymmetrical - for example, given a set of
OCLC numbers considered "editions" of each other, some may have
"editions" that aren't in that set, while others don't. Additionally,
as I found repeatedly while studying Shirley Goulden last year,
Worldcat is, or has recently been, plagued with enormous, poorly
controlled "edition"-sets around heavily published titles. (Several
of her titles were linked with, for example. other retellings using
the title phrase "Arabian Nights", which is at least understandable.
However, at the time, others were linked to thousand-"edition" sets
dominated by Russian printings of Pushkin - I kid you not, there were
*more than one* such - and others to other unrelated topics. This
problem had been substantially reduced when I looked at her books
again a few months later, after my laptop was stolen, so maybe
Worldcat is on top of it.)
Also, books exist that never get into Worldcat, though I have to go
to the Near East to name clear examples. I should think someone
better acquainted than I with the new e-book world could name plenty
of American examples. Do those all go to the Library of Congress?
I'm fairly certain that incunabula specialists would be shocked to
hear that "books all have unique identifiers".
I probably should have said "trade books from established publishers."
As someone who had to do a lot of special order buying, I am well
familiar with self-publishers and local publishers who sold nearly
all their books direct-to-consumer who balked at making their books
"store ready," forcing us, if we decided to carry them, to create
our own SKUs. Fortunately, the IBID system I worked with allowed
us to do that, as long as we started the string with a letter.

Our used book folks could replace the first number in an ISBN prefix
with a letter [A-Z] and we could have up to 26 discrete versions of the
same used book in inventory, based on condition, with separate price points.
Post by Joe Bernstein
I think there's lots of evidence that assigning unique identifiers to
books, and then linking them appropriately, is actually quite *hard*.
In the limited futzing around with bibliographic database work I've
done myself, it's certainly looked that way. So while at one level
Amazon, being a company, certainly *should* be able to assign
everything it sells (probably including zero incunabula) a unique
identifier like every other company, it clearly has policies that
require the linking of related products, and being, as the subject
line notes, "the world's largest retailer", it's finding that
freaking *hard*, and I see no reason to be surprised.
Actual, historical incunabula were never anything we sold. Rare books
printed before the advent of the ISBN system in the 1960s? We had a
few of those, but the B Dalton I worked at wouldn't have. BDB used
7-digit stock keeping units, though.

The indie I worked for the longest published a few books in the
1930s, when it was in its first decade. Of course, they had no
ISBNs:

https://books.bibliopolis.com/main/find/publisher/Casanova%20Press.html

Non-ISBN items that were booklike that caused problems were things like
chapbooks. Damned hard to shelve, too. A rack with pockets could work,
but as there wasn't a uniform size, that was a challenge. Then there
were books distributed as both books, through the publisher and book
wholesalers, and as magazines, via the local distributor or the
supplementary national distributors we used. If we carried it as a
book, at a better discount than the mag system gave us, the distributor
might still drop some off, and we had to make sure they didn't reach the
racks, and migrate into the book inventory. Things like THE FARMER'S
ALMANAC would be issued both an ISBN and an ISSN:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Serial_Number

Mercifully, we sold mags by pricepoint, not by ISSN. We didn't keep
strict inventory records on those, treating them like produce at the
grocery store. [3 @ 5.95 ea, 2 @ 4.95 ea, etc]

Curiously, "blank books" from sources like Workman Press might have
their own ISBN, even though they might not have any text at all!

Kevin R

Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-12 15:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 4:06:55 PM UTC+10, David Johnston
Post by David Johnston
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316
001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't
want to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in
what way are Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular
instance?
I believe he's referring to the two prices for "paperbacks".
But the mass market paperback is a pocketbook, while the other
is a trade paperback.
Or the fact that the kindle edition is $9.80, while the MMPB is $5.59. That's just bizarre.
Bizarre, but not as uncommon as one might expect.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Gary R. Schmidt
2018-06-12 08:22:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
The reader's comments, ATM they're all about Audie Murphie's "To Hell
and Back."

Cheers,
Gary B-)
--
When men talk to their friends, they insult each other.
They don't really mean it.
When women talk to their friends, they compliment each other.
They don't mean it either.
Kevrob
2018-06-12 16:59:21 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Gary R. Schmidt
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
The reader's comments, ATM they're all about Audie Murphie's "To Hell
and Back."
Well, "War is all hell," as Genl Sherman said.

Kevin R
Joe Pfeiffer
2018-06-12 22:29:44 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Hmmmm.
I'm missing your point. I mean, I can *tell* that I don't want
to read this book or any of its predecessors, but in what way are
Amazon's wires crossed? In this particular instance?
The book is an urban fantasy novel by Lilith Saintcrow, the reviews
appear to be for Audie Murphy's autobiography.
Richard Hershberger
2018-06-13 15:46:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Not the point, but I am confronted with the awful possibility that "Lilith Saintcrow" might not be merely a nom de plume.

Richard R. Hershberger
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-13 16:25:35 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Richard Hershberger
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Not the point, but I am confronted with the awful possibility that
"Lilith Saintcrow" might not be merely a nom de plume.
Richard R. Hershberger
Imagine a brunch gettogether with Lilith Saintcrow, Ruby Lionsdrake and
Scarlett Dawn..

(Actually, isfdb says that *is* her legal name.)
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 16:52:48 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Richard Hershberger
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Not the point, but I am confronted with the awful possibility that
"Lilith Saintcrow" might not be merely a nom de plume.
Imagine a brunch gettogether with Lilith Saintcrow, Ruby Lionsdrake and
Scarlett Dawn..
(Actually, isfdb says that *is* her legal name.)
From her FAQ (https://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/about-lili/faq/):

"Is that your real name?

Yes. It is not a nom de plume or de guerre."
Richard Hershberger
2018-06-13 17:15:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ahasuerus
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Richard Hershberger
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-Dante-Valentine-Book/dp/0316001775
Not the point, but I am confronted with the awful possibility that
"Lilith Saintcrow" might not be merely a nom de plume.
Imagine a brunch gettogether with Lilith Saintcrow, Ruby Lionsdrake and
Scarlett Dawn..
(Actually, isfdb says that *is* her legal name.)
"Is that your real name?
Yes. It is not a nom de plume or de guerre."
Next question: Is that your birth name?
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