From my diary: Problems with the Nielsen UK ISBN Agency

One of the minor pieces of bureaucracy in publishing a book is getting an ISBN for it.  The International Standard Book Number is something all books need to have.

The translation of Eusebius Gospel Problems and Solutions will be published in the UK, which means that I have to apply to the Nielsen UK ISBN Agency for a block of 10 ISBNs.  They have a website, with a form.  Unfortunately it is the sort of PDF form you have to download, print off, and fill in by hand.  But you can send the result in as a scanned PDF by email.  They also expect you to fill in your credit card details in that PDF form and send it in, insecurely.  I didn’t like that bit at all!

They don’t seem very efficient, tho.  I emailed in a form on Thursday.  I heard nothing on Friday.  On Saturday I emailed one page again with a correction, and asked for an acknowledgement.  This morning (Monday) I got a note that they had received the one page, but not the rest.  So I email in the original PDF again.  I get no reply.  A couple of hours later I email asking whether they got it.  And I get a note from someone else “thanking me for my application.”  What’s the betting that my correction gets lost?

These people charge $150 for this trivial service, which could (and should) be a webpage automatically allocating them.  And they want me to wait 10 days.  I don’t know who made these muppets into the gods of the UK book industry, and I need to be on holiday, not worrying about it.  Oh well.


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