Milestones • 16 July 2008 • The SnowBlog


There are some strange ways of marking time. There are also some very normal ones - months and years. It's our fifth anniversary this year, for instance. I like clocking up prizes, too - those are good milestones. Another (rather fundamental) way of measuring progress is financial. But we've also had another milestone recently - we've run out of our first batch of 100 ISBNs. You have to apply for - and pay for - ISBNs from the ISBN agency, and you can get them in blocks of 10, 100 or, I don't know, a million if you're rich - I didn't read that far in their oh-so-fascinating documentation. We started with 10, with a prefix (as it was pre-13digit days) 09545759-- - apparantly the first warning sign for retailers that a book is from a small press. We then bought 100, prefix 9781905005---, and it's these we've run out of. I remember when we got them, in early 2005, flicking to the back of the pack and wondering what the business would look like when we got to ISBN number 100. The first title on the list was EM Forster's Celestial Omnibus - our least most profitable title ever. Good job. The last was a book Anna's just signed for next year, The Blue Handbag by the phenomenal Fiona Robyn, which I'll rave about separately. There's certainly been progress. We're not exactly rich, though - or anything approaching not-poor. There's a long way to go before I'd consider ourselves properly successful. But it's fascinating to mark this milestone, and think where we've been, what we've done, and what's to come. I wonder where we'll be at the end of this next batch of 100 - prefix 9781906727...


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

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