- Aug 21, 2010
Below is what you see when you open my May 1970 printing of Asimov's Mysteries as published in paperback by Dell. Can anyone tell me what the "bar code" meant and how it was used -- in 1970? Surely there were no bookstores using scanners to ring up your purchases then. My guess: I believe that, at that time, store managers could return unsold paperbacks for credit, but they didn't have to return the whole book; they would tear off the covers and discard the books. (Of course, coverless paperbacks occasionally showed up and were read by the impecunious.) So the bar code might have been scanned by some machine connected with magazine and paperback distribution or by the publisher. I can only be vague about how such a procedure might have been done. Was it done? What's the explanation? Fifty years ago!