Wed, Nov. 17th, 2010, 12:22 pm
This is the best thing I have ever learnt

Here is a thing I have just found out:

Books all have an ISBN. (This isn't something I've just found out, I knew that already).

They also have an EAN, which stands for International Article Number (originally "European Article Number", hence the abbreviation). My understanding of this bit isn't completely clear, but I think a book's EAN is its barcode number, and it has some of the same numbers as the ISBN but with extra little bits so that it can work as a barcode. (This is something I've just found out, but it isn't the interesting bit. The interesting bit is coming.)

There's a bit of an EAN that shows what country it's from.

When the EAN is for a book, the bit of the number that shows what country it's from says: Bookland.

This is not strictly speaking true any more, apparently the system changed in 2007 in a way that meant EANs can say 978 and mean "hey this is a book" rather than "hey this is an object and it's definitely from a country that we just made up". But if you grab a book nearby, one published before 2007, and look at the number on the back, that number says: this is an object, it comes from a place, and that place is Bookland.

How did I not know this? I don't know much about barcodes and EANs and ISANs and ISSNs and all the rest of it (I didn't know that EANs, ISANs or ISSNs even existed, until this morning). I admire them, certainly. miss_newham lets her secret barcode knowledge slip, occasionally, and I always think "yes, barcodes are pretty great!". But all the same, this is the single greatest fact in the world, and I only just found it out.

There's also a Musicland, for sheet music.

Wed, Nov. 17th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)

I want to go to Bookland now. I bet it's awesome there.

Wed, Nov. 17th, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)

It's where all the books are from! All of them!

Wed, Nov. 17th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)

Although this does raise the question as to why they are all fleeing from their home country. Is it a totalitarian regime they are fleeing? Perhaps they are economic refugees, looking for a better life, where they will be cared for and looked after, rather than being returned unread for pulp.

Still, I'm willing to accept as many refugee books as my shelves can hold (and then go ahead and build some more shelves). After all, it's the libertotarian thing to do. <grin>

Wed, Nov. 17th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)

They might just be migratory in nature. After some number of years in the UK, when they have become a little yellowed and have started to roost primarily in second-hand bookshops, they will probably fly back to bookland.

Wed, Nov. 17th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)


Tue, Mar. 15th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)

I fear you have inadvertently triggered a rather sore point with your most recent post on the Hide and Seek blog; I have responded to it in place over there.

Tue, Mar. 15th, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC)

Yes, I just saw that! I might edit the post a little to make it clear that, mm, we are not planning on any Zany Sadism games ourselves, and that the catalogue is interesting to us as a weird period piece rather than as, you know, inspiration.

Tue, Mar. 15th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)

Thank you. Touchy and personal subject.

Tue, Mar. 15th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)

Edited a bit, hopefully it's clearer now. Thanks for commenting - I'd forgotten that stuff like this is still around, and it hadn't occured to me that it could even be legal now, let alone something H&S might endorse.

Fri, Apr. 20th, 2012 07:40 pm (UTC)

Hey, hey! Completely unrelated to anything else, but this seems like the most appropriate place to point it out.

Have you seen Game Shows With Bees? It's by Tom who you probably know from the Edinburgh New Year Games or from lots of other stuff. It would seem to be relevant to your interests.