It began in 1975BISG saw its beginnings at the annual conference of the Book Manufacturers Institute in November 1975. Here, a few publishers and manufacturers met informally with representatives of several trade associations to discuss the urgent need to improve the U.S. book industry's research capabilities.
Soon after, this small group invited others to join in sponsoring a seminal study of book industry information needs on which a future program of research could be based. BISG was incorporated as a not-for-profit in February 1976 and the Report on Book Industry Information Needs was completed and published in April 1976. The report confirmed the feasibility of a program of major research studies by and about the book publishing industry.
In the intervening years, BISG has published many research reports in response to the needs of its members and the wider industry. Among these are studies on experimentation and innovation in digital publishing, environmental trends and climate impacts, used-book sales, consumer buying habits and, until 2009, an annual review of publisher net unit and dollar sales entitled Book Industry TRENDS.
In 2010, BISG and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) embarked on an ambitious undertaking: developing a new joint industry statistics model entitled BookStats which would better track transformational shifts in how book content is produced and sold in the age of digital. The new data product, to be released annually in its first phase, provides a comprehensive view of book publishing sales aggregated by revenue, units, categories, formats and distribution channels.
Standardizing Best PracticesAs time went on, BISG began to take a stronger position at the cutting edge of initiatives and developments that have reduced operating costs across the book industry.
Recently, for example, BISG published recommended best practice for on-sale date compliance as well as standardized sales and tax reporting templates.
BISG also manages BISAC Subject Headings, ONIX for Books and X12 e-commerce transactions: all mainstays in the book industry and required for participation with many trading partners.
Moving into educationAll the good work of BISG would sit on a shelf and get dusty if not the final piece of the puzzle: education. In 2004, BISG launched Making Information Pay, its first major conference program. This was followed by other live programs including Making Information Pay for Higher Ed Publishing and 2011's participant-driven NEXT Conference.
Since then, BISG has also become a permeate fixture at national industry conferences including BookExpo America, Tools of Change, Digital Book World and the ALA Annual Meeting.
Finally, in 2009 BISG launched a full-scale webcast program so members can receive the education they need from the comfort of their own offices.