Would you get an ISBN tattooed on your body? What if it was the ISBN of your favorite book?
Turns out there's an enterprising fellow out there who's tried it. Writes Michael S. at travel website MatadorLife:
Now I love books as much as the next guy, but the thought of spending my life with an ISBN on my neck freaks me out. It's not that I'm squeamish about announcing my reading tastes to the world; I've been keeping a public reading list for years. Nor is that I don't like long numbers; I do—very much so—and in fact my favorite number is 65,536 (216).
I think for me, my biggest issue is the fact that ISBNs identify specific manifestations of a book, rather than the work itself. I first read many of my favorite books in cheap editions, which I then went go on to upgrade as new printings come out. Which edition to choose? Do I really want to single out a particular mass market paperback edition as worthy of being immortalized on my body? Sadly, there's no work-level identifier scheme that really meets my needs: library-oriented systems like LCCNs are still too granular, and most other systems are proprietary and have uncertain lifespans. Who wants that?
Alas, I may just have to find other ways of showing my love for my favorite books, other than tattooing ISBNs on my neck. With much respect for Michael S.' adventurous friend, I think I'll stick to name-dropping titles, the old-fashioned way.
(Thanks to ToastyKen for the original neck image.)