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Trade Associations

One of the segments of the book eco-system that BISG serves are our fellow trade and standard associations. We have association members represented on our Metadata, Rights, Subject Codes, and Workflow committees. We always welcome new members or current services providers publishers members to join any of our committees as well. 

BISG Resources for Trade & Standard Associations:


The BISAC Subject Headings List, also known as the BISAC Subject Codes List, is a standard used by many companies throughout the supply chain to categorize books based on topical content. The Subject Heading applied to a book can determine where the work is shelved in a brick and mortar store or the genre(s) under which it can be searched for in an internal database.

The complete BISAC Subject Headings List is available online at no cost for one-to-one look-up [you can view that here]. You may also request an End Users' License to download versions of the Subject Headings List in Excel, PDF and Word for unlimited use or for incorporation in your company's internal databases.

Roadmap of Organizational Relationships

Developed as an educational tool portraying the relationships between key organizations important to the book industry, the Roadmap of Organizational Relationships provides a graphic presentation of the various organizations as they service. In an effort to upgrade and improve the Roadmap of Organizational Relationships, critique is encouraged. Please send all comments to

Download the guide here

Barcoding Guidelines

The following suppliers will make sure your barcodes and labels are correctly formatted to BISG's Barcoding Guidelines for the U.S. Book Industry.

Learn more about Barcoding Guidelines here

ONIX for Books

ONIX for Books is the international standard for representing and communicating book industry product information in electronic form. ONIX for Books was developed and is maintained by EDItEUR, jointly with Book Industry Communication (UK) and the Book Industry Study Group (U.S.), and has user groups in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the Republic of Korea.

In April 2009, EDItEUR announced the release of a major new version of the ONIX for Books standard: ONIX 3.0. This release of ONIX is the first since 2001 that is not backwards-compatible with its predecessors and, more importantly, provides a means for improved handling of digital products. A revised version (3.0.1) was subsequently released in January 2012.

Click through here to the resource.  

ONIX 3.0 Implementation Grid

The BISG ONIX 3.0 Implementation Grid is intended to provide up-to-date information for ONIX data providers and recipients in the United States about their trading partners' status and plans for implementing ONIX 3.0, and to serve as an industry resource for anyone interested in tracking the U.S. market's migration from ONIX 2.1 to ONIX 3.0.

Click here to download the Grid.

ISBN Users' Manual

Published by the International ISBN Agency. Valid from January 2007 onward. Go to the ISBN Users' Manual here

Best Practices for Identifying Digital Content

This BISG Policy Statement on recommendations for identifying digital products is applicable to content intended for distribution to the general public in North America but could be applied elsewhere as well. The objective of this Policy Statement is to clarify best practices and outline responsibilities in the assignment of ISBNs to digital products in order to reduce both confusion in the market place, and the possibility of errors. This Policy Statement was initially published in December 2011. BISG always intended to revise the Statement from time to time in order to keep up with the ever evolving digital market place. To this end, a revised version was published in February 2013.

What's new in the revised February 25, 2013 Policy Statement?

  • Shifted focus from ISBN assignment to product identification, embracing the concept of Proprietary Identifiers
  • Expanded coverage on third party assignment of identifiers
  • Changed structure to organize the use case recommendations around: (1) Content, (2) Format, and (3) Usage Constraints
  • Revised recommendation for enhanced content to say enhanced e-books should always get a different identifier (ISBN or Proprietary ID)
  • Added recommendation for identifying e-books components (chapters, etc.)
  • Added descriptive sections on different Identifiers, including GTIN-13s and DOIs
  • Clarified language around DRM and different file formats
  • Clarified sections on usage constraints, purchase vs. rent, purchase vs. lend

Some of the organizations to indicate support of POL-1101 include:

  • Book Industry Communication (BIC)
  • BookNet Canada
  • IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association
  • National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
  • U.S. ISBN Agency

Download the PDF for free here

Consumer Research

Ebooks and other forms of digital content have now entered the mainstream. In the adult fiction category, for example, ebooks have become the most popular media format, selling more than hardcovers, softcovers, or mass paperbacks. Meanwhile, the way students learn and instructors teach is undergoing a radical shift, and the role of the traditional print "textbook" as the foundational tool for instruction is changing along with the traditional publishing model.

Publishers must understand how new technologies are changing the market and what opportunities will arise as a result of this transition. BISG's consumer, student, and faculty surveys provide trendable, actionable information for companies looking to refine their business strategies in the new digital marketplace.


  • Digital Content in Public Libraries
  • Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education
  • Consumer Attitudes Toward Ebook Reading.

Industry Issues & Trends

Digital Books and the New Subscription Economy

Given the success of subscription services in the film, television, and music industries, publishing stakeholders have wondered how and when these services will affect book content distribution, and a survey of BISG members identified subscription models as the industry's next disruptive technology. This critical research project paints a clear picture of how content producers and others in the publishing value chain are reacting to new forces in the marketplace, and provides timely, relevant information to help answer questions such as:

  • Will there be a "Netflix of ebooks" or will more focused verticals develop?
  • Who are the major players in digital content subscription? What are the various business models they employ?
  • How have subscription services fared across different market segments (professional, scholarly, higher education, trade)?
  • What are the attitudes of agents, publishers, librarians, and others toward digital book subscription? What factors motivate or dissuade them from participating?

Results of Digital Books and the New Subscription Economy (2014) are available in the form of an Executive Summary or full 100-page PDF report.

The Development, Use, and Modification of Book Product Metadata

Success in book publishing continues to rely extensively on consistent preparation and use of product metadata.  As digital products grow and evolve, this is true now more than ever.  

The Development, Use, and Modification of Book Product Metadata (2012) illustrates critical metadata handoffs, documents how metadata is altered or discarded, and identifies the points at which changes and revisions occur (and, in some cases, don't occur). 

From Experimentation to Innovation in the Digital Age

Old practices, processes, and business models are rapidly giving way to the demands of digital publishing. Through 10 original case studies, From Experimentation to Innovation in the Digital Age (2008) describes how leading publishers like Hachette Book Group, Random House, and Harlequin created innovative responses to challenges posed by the digital world.

Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the US Book Industry

This pioneering research report provides an analysis of the book industry's environmental impact and assesses possible areas for improvement. It also makes specific recommendations for improving the book industry's carbon footprint.

Packed with nearly 40 charts and graphs, Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the US Book Industry (2008) contains statistics on companies with environmental policies, recycled paper usage, forestry certification preferences and energy usage throughout the industry. In addition, the report provides a unique carbon footprint and forest growth model for the US book industry, along with interesting case studies of companies making strides toward green business models.

International Markets

As book publishing becomes increasingly international, it is more important than ever that US publishing industry stakeholders understand how to conduct business on a global scale.

To that end, BISG is launching a new 2015 research initiative aimed at collecting and providing intelligence on international book markets. The goal of this research is to better equip publishers and other stakeholders who wish to sell rights and distribute book into these markets.

Each of these 10-15 page reports will be compiled in consultation with industry experts, and will include data on the size and scope of the book business in the market featured, the current penetration and acceptance of digital formats, key companies and players, the state of standards in the featured market, and information on the unique opportunities and challenges publishers can expect when engaging there.

Would you like to sponsor any of our upcoming International Market Reports? India and China are both coming soon. If so, please contact Aurora Ferrer


  • International Marketplace: Brazil 

Publishers Sales Data


BookStats, a Joint Venture between the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), provided the most comprehensive available view of the size and shape of the US book publishing industry, measured by publisher net unit and dollar sales.

This revolutionary data project carefully tracked transformational shifts in the sale of book content and provided US publisher net revenue and unit sales for 2008-2013 across three dimensions:

White Papers: Mobile Commerce for the Book Industry 

A new way to communicate with book buyers, other consumers, and the general public is spreading rapidly in North America. Consumers in the U.S. are joining their counterparts in Japan, other parts of Asia, and Europe in using mobile phones and other mobile devices to obtain information and even make purchases.

The practice is widely referred to as "mobile commerce," but this term is somewhat of a misnomer. While the purpose of many applications is an immediate commercial transaction, other applications focus on advertising or product descriptions that may or may not lead to future sales. Still other applications are purely informational and are not commercial in any respect. Nevertheless, no other term has a comparable span of acceptance, and BISG will use "mobile commerce" in its presentations.

Mobile commerce uses bar codes placed on posters, in print media, and on products as the starting point for communication with consumers. These bar codes are most frequently two-dimensional (2D), consisting of a matrix of tiny black and white squares rather than the more familiar one-dimensional (1D) bar codes consisting of bars and spaces. The QR Code®, a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated, is one of the most widely used of these newer symbologies. A consumer can capture an image of the bar code with a mobile device that has an integrated camera and activate an application on the device. A URL stored in the bar code directs the application to a website that displays information or permits a wide variety of actions, including purchases. Companies in general retail are increasingly active with mobile commerce advertising and promotional campaigns, and new examples appear daily. Publishers and booksellers are also exploring uses. BISG is not promoting or advocating mobile commerce or any specific approach to implementing it. However, BISG is actively assembling information to help participants in the book industry consider this technology. The information will be updated and expanded as developments warrant.

Introduction (Download Here)

  • An overview of the mobile commerce process
  • A brief list of terms and their definitions
  • Sources of additional information or assistance

QR Codes and Other Symbologies (Download Here)

  • QR Codes and other frequently seen symbologies
  • The properties and typical applications of each symbology
  • Important points to consider in presenting symbols on display objects such as signs, posters, books, and magazine advertisements

Application Considerations (Download Here)

  • Important points to consider in planning mobile device applications and mobile commerce campaigns

Three Approaches to Mobile Commerce (Download Here)

  • Printed or Displayed Bar Code Symbol
  • Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Direct Communication

Publisher Campaigns (Download Here)

  • Advertisement in The New York Times Book Review

Bookseller Campaigns (Download Here)

  • General information poster in store window
  • In-store display of hardcover titles



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