BISG fields two surveys on barcode price extensions

Posted By: Brian F. O'Leary Committees,

Over the past year-plus, a working group operating as part of the supply chain committee has been discussing options that would support more flexible pricing of physical inventory sold in bookstores. As part of its 2023 charter, the full committee is charged with "reporting findings of the Barcode Standards Working Group regarding price information on print products, delivering options to create more dynamic pricing for physical goods."

Last winter, the working group recommended fielding two surveys on current practices. One was designed to be answered by publishers, specifically to assess the need for options that would support more dynamic pricing for physical goods. The other would go to distributors and retailers, to better understand current practices and any roadblocks to that would have to be overcome to change the use of the price extension in barcodes appearing on the cover of trade titles. You can access those surveys here:

  1. Barcode Price Extension Survey: Publishers Version
  2. Barcode Price Extension Survey: Retailers & Distributors Version

Both of these surveys got hung up in the BISG office, through no fault of the working group or the supply chain committee. The two surveys are now done and are being released this week. Beyond this announcement, the survey is being emailed to staff at publishers, distributors, and retailers who are BISG members. All are being asked to answer the questions as best they can, ideally sharing the survey with colleagues best positioned to provide a current sense of the market. You can access these surveys here: 

BISG has an extended history with the development and implementation of barcodes for identification. Information available on the BISG website includes:

The Guidelines describe options to not include price information as part of an extension to the identifier portion of a book's barcode. The surveys that are being released this week will bring information back to the working group to inform the conversation about options to do away with or manage the impact of the price extension on physical inventory.

Both surveys will remain open until the end of October. Although the project was proposed as part of the 2023 deliverables planned for BISG's supply chain committee, the final recommendations may take until early 2024 to prepare and circulate. BISG will keep the publishing community informed of progress and any recommendations coming out of the working group efforts.