Research

Investigating issues and trends affecting the book business

Since its founding in 1976, BISG has conducted research on behalf of the book business. To best inform the industry, most research summaries are available free of charge to members and free or at a nominal fee for non-members. Some full reports require an additional fee to purchase. For complete descriptions and pricing information click on the links to the products shown below. Reports and analysis done by BISG committees are shown here and on individual committee pages.

Digital Products/Ebooks

Outside of the work that comes from committee research and assessment, BISG also leads research projects that have been variously funded by industry partners, other trade associations, and some foundations. This work delivers both one-time reports, like Digital Books and the New Subscription Economy, and some continuing studies, like Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education. All of these reports are available as digital downloads via the links provided here.

Higher Education

Barcoding Guidelines

BISG committees played a leading role in establishing the need for a 13-digit ISBN, standardizing the use of bar codes for product identification, and creating a path to migrate the industry to a uniform implementation of both. Barcoding guidelines were established in the mid-2000s and have been updated periodically as needed.

Mobile Commerce Guides

As mobile commerce moved to the mainstream, BISG worked with the American Booksellers Association to create a series of guides that informed publishers and booksellers about preferred ways to access mobile marketing and sales platforms. The series includes a set of useful reminders about the ways that mobile ecommerce requires additional consideration.

BISG Committee Products

BISG hosts monthly meetings of five standing committees: Metadata, Rights, Subject Codes, Supply Chain, and Workflow. To learn more about their work and how to get involved, head over to the committee pages.  

Reducing costs and increasing efficiencies across the supply chain are two of our biggest focuses. Through the work of our committees, we strive to create resources to support this while driving the development of standards and best practices. This summary of products developed or commissioned by the committees provides a sense of the breadth of BISG's research efforts in pursuit of supply chain efficiency and effectiveness.

Metadata Committee

The Metadata Committee addresses issues related to metadata and identification. Its Best Practices for Product Metadata is the primary resource for metadata providers and senders serving the U.S. book market.

Rights Committee

The Rights Committee works to improve the book publishing industry's understanding of rights topics. It evaluates and promotes the tools and best practices available to grow rights revenue, publishing reports that promote the importance of effective rights management across the industry.

Subject Codes Committee

The Subject Codes Committee's primary work centers on updating the BISAC subject codes each year. Members of the committee periodically take on other projects related to discovery of book content, including the two reports shown here.

Supply Chain Committee

BISG's roots are in the supply chain for the book business. Starting in the 1980s, BISG published its Trends report for more than two decades, reporting each year on unit volume by format and channel. It extended that history by working for five years with the Association of American Publishers to create BookStats, an online database that was discontinued after reporting the results for the U.S. book market in 2013.

Workflow Committee

Created in 2019, the Workflow Committee is the successor to BISG's Content Structure Committee, which focused on best practices in creating digital content. The Workflow committee continues to support that earlier work, while extending its research to include best practices in improving publishing workflows.


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View from above of a desk with an open laptop, books lined up neatly, a pair of glasses, a camera, and apple, and a small pottted plant. The laptop is cropped at the keyboard, and most of the space is empty desk.