What are BISAC codes?
As I was working with one member of our Writers Guild of Eastern Oregon to design her website as a standard and model for our group, she asked the question, “What are BISAC codes?” It was one piece of information I believed we should include in the data about her books. Why? Because my first publisher told me that was industry standard data, and necessary.
When I self published later (don’t even ask about that #@*&% subsidy press publisher), I continued to follow that advice because I did a little research and discovered the purpose of the codes.
The codes are often required for participation in many publishing industry databases, which may seem obscure to those of us involved only in writing. However, you can understand it more clearly if you realize that those codes provide your local bookstore manager a means to categorize, store, and decide how to display your book. Without your knowing it, those codes may be incorporated in the bar code on the book cover.
BISAC codes are established and controlled by the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), the industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards and research. Membership consists of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. The BISG mission “is to create a more informed, empowered, and efficient industry supply chain.”
When you think about participating in the book industry as a publisher, recognize that electronic standards, efficiency, and reducing the operating costs of your suppliers, distributors, and retail outlets are part of your mission, too. Take the time to look up and list your own BISAC codes.
Note updated 2010 revised list of codes:
Article by Clair Button, Writers Guild of Eastern Oregon, www.wgeo.org