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Darzian
10-17-2008, 06:17 PM
I was wondering if, and how, books are rated? I have Royal Assassin, and there's a big S on the back in the triangle. I was assuming that it was the rating. I tried to google it but couldn't find anything meaningful.

Fillanzea
10-17-2008, 06:39 PM
Books aren't generally rated in the US, though you can often find age guidance information on the back cover when the book is for a YA audience or younger. I don't have the book to hand, but the S could be a publisher logo.

nevada
10-17-2008, 07:51 PM
It is the publisher's logo. I looked it up and it's Spectra, a division of Bantan Dell. Books aren't rated. Only movies get rated.

Darzian
10-17-2008, 08:08 PM
Ah I see. Thanks so much.

But there are some books with adult themes that are generally not meant for younger audiences. How are they classified differently? Is the only sorting children's/MG/YA/Adult? Some books (like the one I quoted above) has no such category listed anywhere on the book.

Wait a minute, I just picked up my copy of Fires of Heaven, and I see the same S in a triangle at the back next to the bar code. The publisher is TOR. This suggests that it's not a publisher thing.

The back cover of Royal Assassin is on this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0553573411/ref=sib_dp_bod_bc?ie=UTF8&p=S013#reader-link

Exact same symbol on each of the Wheel of Time books.

veinglory
10-17-2008, 08:24 PM
Rating are something overseen by a regulatory authorial which, thankfully, books do not have. Children's and YA are treated more like genres/shelving conventions.

willietheshakes
10-17-2008, 08:48 PM
I would turn the attention of those of you expressing appreciation for the fact that books are not rated to look to the UK, where talk of late has been of Age-banding children's books...

FennelGiraffe
10-17-2008, 09:08 PM
It isn't a publisher logo. I looked at a number of books I happen to have close at hand. I found it on all the recent* mass-market paperbacks, from several different publishers and genres. It's not on trade paperbacks or hardbacks, nor on older MMPBs.

I also didn't find any variations, such as a triangle containing a different letter. It was either triangle-S or nothing. Of course, that wasn't a comprehensive sample; I didn't cover all possible genres and age levels.

The proximity to the barcode suggests to me it might be related, although I can't figure out why it isn't used on trades and HBs in that case.

*Recent = older than the switch to 13-digit ISBNs, because I found books that do have the triangle-S, but don't have the longer ISBN. On the other hand, books printed in the very late 1990s don't have it.

veinglory
10-17-2008, 09:20 PM
Oh, you mean the symbol that says the book is strippable. It also comes as an empty triange when the book cannot be stripped.

See: http://www.bisg.org/documents/barcoding.html#Strippable/Non-Strippable%20Indicators

Phaeal
10-17-2008, 09:33 PM
Don't believe any of them. It's all part of a vast rating conspiracy. The "S" means "sexay." Other secret ratings are "Sx" (suxxors) and "P" (pwns) and "N" (noobilicious).

Needless to say, the vast rating conspiracy is run by hardcore gamers who hack into the publishers' databases and sneak their insidious symbols onto the covers of certain books. What their final goal is remains unknown, but I think we should all be afraid, very afraid. :e2faint: :eek: :e2faint:

Darzian
10-17-2008, 09:45 PM
Oh, you mean the symbol that says the book is strippable. It also comes as an empty triange when the book cannot be stripped.

See: http://www.bisg.org/documents/barcoding.html#Strippable/Non-Strippable%20Indicators

Thanks for the link. That author actually gave the dimensions for the triangle and whole lot more math!

Strippable. Hmmm.

Toothpaste
10-17-2008, 09:49 PM
I would turn the attention of those of you expressing appreciation for the fact that books are not rated to look to the UK, where talk of late has been of Age-banding children's books...

Not just talk, I got a call from my UK publisher verifying the age range they were planning on putting on my books. It made me sad because even though it is technically 9 - 12, I have got emails from teenagers and adults who enjoy it. My fear is that putting an age on a book will then make kids older than the age embarrassed to read something meant for younger, and kids younger than the age intimidated that it will be too much for them. I really really hate the idea.

gypsyscarlett
10-17-2008, 11:53 PM
Not just talk, I got a call from my UK publisher verifying the age range they were planning on putting on my books. It made me sad because even though it is technically 9 - 12, I have got emails from teenagers and adults who enjoy it. My fear is that putting an age on a book will then make kids older than the age embarrassed to read something meant for younger, and kids younger than the age intimidated that it will be too much for them. I really really hate the idea.

I never understood the point of the age thing, other than perhaps making it easier for book shoppers to find their general reading level. I started reading adult novels when I was 8 or 9. But I still read plenty of children books, too. I just cared if it had a good story.

So I wouldn't worry too much, Toothpaste. Especially now that there are a lot of authors who have shown that a book can have a wide appeal for all ages. (Rawlings being just one example). And, you've already gotten emails from both adults who say they enjoyed it. :)

Added: Wait- in the UK- are they using the age thing as a general reading level comprehension suggestion or a real restriction? Like, if you're not 13 you can't buy this book?? That would have me all fired up.

veinglory
10-17-2008, 11:55 PM
It bears watching and worrying about, anyome in the comic book industry knows what can happen.

IceCreamEmpress
10-18-2008, 12:03 AM
There are age ranges given on some US children's books, but they're in small print on the back cover and intended for use by people buying books for kids of a certain age group, not for forbidding kids of a lower age group from buying them. I find them useful in shopping for my nephew and godkids.

Toothpaste
10-18-2008, 12:07 AM
Added: Wait- in the UK- are they using the age thing as a general reading level comprehension suggestion or a real restriction? Like, if you're not 13 you can't buy this book?? That would have me all fired up.

No no of course not! Technically with rating systems choosing a rating below your level is fine, it's always the choosing above your level that causes problems. However with the books, I doubt even if the book is for 18+, it wouldn't be like a restricted movie where you aren't allowed to buy it if you are younger. At least not yet. And I hope never.

gypsyscarlett
10-18-2008, 12:16 AM
No no of course not! Technically with rating systems choosing a rating below your level is fine, it's always the choosing above your level that causes problems. However with the books, I doubt even if the book is for 18+, it wouldn't be like a restricted movie where you aren't allowed to buy it if you are younger. At least not yet. And I hope never.


Oh, thank goodness. I got myself worried for a second there. When I was a kid I'd have gone nuts if someone tried to restrict what I read. I'd hate to think of other kids being denied.

veinglory
10-18-2008, 12:18 AM
I think that rating schemes do very quickly become adult content filters. I would be surprised if this scheme avoided that, albeit on a voluntary basis--i.e. book chains signing up not to sell to 'underage' customers.

IceCreamEmpress
10-18-2008, 01:01 AM
I think that rating schemes do very quickly become adult content filters. I would be surprised if this scheme avoided that, albeit on a voluntary basis--i.e. book chains signing up not to sell to 'underage' customers.

Many US children's books have had suggested age ranges on them for at least 35 years: I'm seeing lines on the back of my old books that say "Recommended for readers aged 6-10" and similar.

Darzian
10-18-2008, 06:29 AM
If any government puts a restriction on readers such that people of certain ages can only buy certain books, then we can rename Parliament as 'The National Zoo.'

Phaeal
10-18-2008, 10:49 PM
Putting age ranges on books for children and YAs sets my teeth on edge. Who are publishers to tell a kid -- or more likely, the kid's parent -- what he's capable of reading? I was reading Hiroshima in third grade, Gone with the Wind in fifth, and all my mom's Book of the Month Club novels at night, under the covers with a flashlight. It didn't warp my mind. I think. Others' opinions may vary. ;)

I do remember that the public library wouldn't let me check out adult books, and I wasn't too thrilled with that.

veinglory
10-19-2008, 01:41 AM
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gypsyscarlett
10-19-2008, 01:51 AM
The librarian at my public library had to call my mother when I wanted a book on sexual anthropologu when I was about 12. But fortunately she okayed it and I was off on my way to becoming an erotica writer ;)

I read my first Sidney Sheldon novel ("Master of the Game") when I was 10. My first paid story pub was for an adult mag. I'm sure that's a coincidence...:D