Primer on BIASC Codes for SPD Publishers


As you may or may not know, SPD tends to assign one BISAC code to each new book when we first receive your bibliographic data.

BISAC codes were developed by, and are maintained by, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) as an industry standard for determining a given book's subject matter. If you aren't familiar with BISAC codes they are listed and detailed here.

See also their FAQs/Tutorial page

Since some SPD customers may be performing searches with BISAC codes as filters, it could be worth your time to determine whether there is a better "1st Level" BISAC code for some of your books, and/or whether there are 2nd or 3rd level BISAC subject codes that could help the book become easier to discover in database searches.

Currently we assign POE000000 for most Poetry Books, LIT000000 for most Nonfiction, and FIC000000 for most Fiction.

The sense we have at SPD is that it is a good idea to start with the most general code at the first level, and then become more specific on level 2 and level 3. For instance, if the book is a poetry book, you usually want it included in searches that look for POE000000 as the BISAC code and so should make that the first code. If the book deals very specifically with grief and loss you might then add a level 2 code of POE023010 (POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Death, Grief, Loss).

Taking your time to pick an appropriate 1st level subject code, and/or to add 2nd and 3rd level codes, will be most useful for nonfiction books, somewhat useful for fiction books, and usually less useful for poetry books. At the same time, a poetry book with a stark sense of content/subject matter (of the sort that librarians or booksellers might reasonably use to limit their searches) could still benefit a poetry book.

Note that, in terms of sales, SPD feels that books more than about 3 years old are unlikely to benefit from different or additional BISAC codes.

If you look into BISAC codes and find you want to change/add them for some of your books, please do the following. Send an email to Sean Collins at that meets these parameters:


Subject line must be simply: BISAC

In the body of the email, put the following (and nothing else):

13 Digit ISBN, no hyphens [followed by hard return]
1st Level BISAC code you want for that book [hard return]
2nd Level BISAC code you want for that book (optional) [hard return]
3rd Level BISAC code you want for that book (optional) [hard return]

[additional hard return as a spacer]

13 Digit ISBN, no hyphens, of the next book....


No more than 3 BISAC codes may be assigned per book. Again, subjects/codes should be listed in their order of importance, usually going from more general to less general.

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