The following are notes from the meeting last week of BISAC, the Book Industry Study Group's standards group.
BISG's Making Information Pay: Beyond the Bestsellers seminar, to be
held April 27 in New York City, is almost sold out. (Participants at
last year's said it paid to attend.) The keynote speaker is Chris
Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired
, who will talk about the ideas expressed in his widely circulated article for Wired
"The Long Tail." Panelists who will follow the "tail" include Kirby
Best of Lightning Source, Ian Bradie of Cambridge University Press,
Mark Suchomel of Independent Publishers Group, Carol Fitzgerald of the
Book Report Network and Boris Wertz of Abebooks.com. For more
information, click here
. (Thanks to Angela Bole for this other BISG news.)
For the first time, this year's edition of Book Industry Trends
, BISG's annual publication that includes sales forecasts and reports of sales, will incorporate data from Under the Radar
, the organization's study of underreported book segments and channels.
A BISG subcommittee has hired a search firm to look for a new executive
director for the organization, following the departure in late January
of Jeff Abraham to Random House. The board may be able to vote on a
replacement in June.
BISAC's Machine Readable Coding committee is reactivating. Among issues
it will consider, according to chair Tom Clarkson of B&N: which bar
code identifier goes on which product, a pesky problem that crops up in
connection with such things as greeting cards, calendars and maps.
In typically succinct, forceful style, George Wright, whose company,
Product Identification & Processing Systems, is a major bar coding
company and coding film manufacturer, stressed that in an effort to
keep bar codes on book covers and jackets as small as possible for art
design reasons, book publishers and manufacturers are causing major
problems for retailers. While compression of bar codes below 80% of
standards remains a problem, a larger problem is truncation of bar codes, which
makes it difficult for omnidirectional scanners--built-in scanners--to
read the information. (Hand-held scanners aren't as severely affected.)
A 50% truncation will result in a 75% drop in effectiveness of an
omnidirectional scanner, Wright said.
In plain English, this means that chopped-off bar codes will
result in cashiers having to pass books over scanners two or three or
more times, which defeats one of the purposes of having bar
And another reminder: ISBN-13 becomes the law of the Bookland on January 1. For more information on the conversion, click here