Thursday, December 22, 2011

As an update to the prior posting on the new ISBN policy  from BISG, the organization will be hosting a webinar to discuss and explain the policy.  The program description states:

On December 7, 2011, BISG published their Board-approved Policy Statement on best practices for identifying digital products. The objective of this Policy Statement is to clarify best practices and outline responsibilities in the assignment of ISBNs to digital products in order to reduce both confusion in the market place, and the possibility of errors.

Download the Policy Statement here.

Since publication, the BISG office has received many questions and much feedback.

In order to help clarify meaning and expectations regarding the Policy Statement's recommendations, this live, interactive webcast will feature a strong Q&A component. The publishing industry is encouraged to submit questions and/or feedback regarding the Policy Statement to by Friday, January 6th for consideration on the webcast's agenda.
For those who think this policy does not apply to them, please take time to read it closely.  Depending on how one reads the policy, it could potentially further complicate things for students and course materials.  If ISBN is treated as the gold standard of identification, and if rental digital has a different ISBN than a sold digital for example, or a unique ISBN written for the IPad versus another device, then it become more complicated for students or consumers to determine whether a particular piece of content is actually the correct piece of content for their learning needs. 

Effectively, there could be potentially dozens of ISBN's assigned for essentially the same textbook.  That already exists today, but as formats and devices proliferate, it further complicates things for the consumer, rather than making it easier, and it raises questions about what ISBN does the college store or institutions post relative to HEOA.  This policy could also be used to steer students to a specific format or sales channel through ISBN adoption -- rather than allowing students the choice to pick the format, device, or even retailer best for them. 

Stores are allowed to submit feedback on the policy as well, and I encourage stores to consider attending this webinar to learn more and raise any questions or concerns that might be out there related to the potential consumer or retailer implications of the policy.

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