Brick and Mortar Thoughts

BISAC – In which we organize the bookshop sections

Comments (3)
  1. George says:

    I, too, am a classification nut so thanks for the new information but it is almost 23 years too late in reaching me.

    Out of necessity, using common sense, as we computerized all phases of our business we developed our own similar breakdowns of categories and the subcategories within them to align the data flow between our group of stores.

    One caution I would offer if you are going to sign up with an organization such as this is to be sure they do not then claim a right to your data.

    A few years ago we investigated hooking up with Bowker to cut down on the work entering all the ISBNs entails.
    At that time we were informed that if we were willing to sign up and pay the $38,000 first year fee and then continue paying the gradually increasing fees ($40,000 the next year and $42,000 the following year, etc) thereafter we would continue to receive all updates and remain a member in good standing.
    However, if we decided not to continue paying those onerous fees they would pursue us legally to purge any and all our databases – including all the data we had previously entered.
    Their excuse for the escalating fees was they believed their data became more valuable year after year. My argument was that if they added 100,000 new books every year Pareto’s Law (the 80/20 principle) indicates the data is becoming more cumbersome and less useful as a result.

    What you mention seems to be a one shot deal and hopefully does not fall into the same trap. When I consider all the time and trials and errors we spent setting up our system the fee they are asking looks like a bargain. And it wisely errs on the side of being far too comprehensive so could be adapted to any existing system.

    1. Matt says:

      That’s a really good point about who owns the data. I didn’t see anything in BISAC about that, but I wasn’t looking. Thanks for bringing that up as a bit of a caveat for anyone looking into standardized data options.

  2. Ozboy says:

    Australia uses BIC2 (Book Industry Communication) not BISAC. BISAC is the North American Equivalent to BIC and I am aware that they are trying to bring them closer together with a view to eventually merging them. You can see the BIC2 categories at . This is the category information used in ONIX (ONIX is the international standard for storing and sharing title information between publishers, distributors and booksellers). I believe they also use BIC is North America in some cases as well.

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