New York, NY and London, England (March 31, 2010) – Thanks to timely action by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) in the U.S. and EDItEUR, the international body which maintains ONIX product information standards, working in collaboration with representatives from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the UK Publishers Association (PA), rapid provisions have been made in ONIX for Books to allow for a standard means of communicating “agency model” sales terms for e-books.

The agency model is a newly defined commercial model for e-book sales which is distinctly different from the more traditional retail model. In the agency model, the publisher sells to the consumer via an “agent” – who may be an online retailer or another similar intermediary – who fulfills the sale on the publisher’s behalf and receives a commission from the publisher for doing so. Although the traditional model, in which the publisher sells the book to retailers at wholesale, has long been accommodated for in ONIX for Books, appropriate new code values had to be developed rapidly to meet requirements of the new agency model. These new code values are now included in the just-published ONIX Code Lists Issue 11.

In response to the new provisions, Alicia Wise, Head of Digital Publishing at The Publishers Association, said, “The importance of metadata and digital standards is hard to over-emphasize. Quite literally they are fundamental to a thriving digital market. The book industry has talented experts in EDItEUR and BISG who have implemented ONIX 3.0 to convey a panoply of product information, and who are fleet of foot in ensuring this open standard evolves in conjunction with our business models.  This work is vital to publishers and their retail partners around the world.”

To aid in the implementation of the new codes, BISG and EDItEUR have also co-published a distinctive “how to” guide, showing how best to use ONIX to specify different terms of supply in different territories. Entitled “ONIX for Books: How to Specify Different Terms of Supply in Different Territories”, the new guide provides four detailed worked examples, which are fully supported in both ONIX 2.1 and ONIX 3.0, and will be helpful for those needing to specify different terms in different supply territories even if they are not adopting the agency model for e-book sales.

Ed McCoyd, Executive Director for Digital, Environmental & Accessibility affairs at the Association of American Publishers, said, “The agency model emerged very quickly and is a significant development in the ever-advancing e-book industry. BISG and EDItEUR worked swiftly to update our industry’s metadata exchange standard to support the new model. International sales opportunities are also growing, and the ‘how to’ guide will be invaluable in helping publishers, distributors and retailers make more books available to readers worldwide.”

More information on this topic can be found on the BISG website at and on the EDItEUR website at

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Media Contacts:

Angela Bole

Book Industry Study Group, Inc.


Mark Bide



About the Book Industry Study Group, Inc.

The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the U.S. book industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards and research. The mission of BISG is to create a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry supply chain for both physical and digital products. Membership consists of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. For over 30 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and efficiently address issues and concerns to advance the book community. Learn more about BISG at



EDItEUR is the London-based international group which coordinates development of the standards infrastructure for electronic commerce in the book and serials sectors worldwide. EDItEUR provides its membership with research, standards and guidance in such diverse areas as: EDI and other e-commerce standards for book and serial transactions; bibliographic and product information; the standards infrastructure for digital publishing; rights management and trading; and identification.  Established in 1991, EDItEUR is a truly global organization with over 80 members from 17 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa, United States and most European countries.  EDItEUR is best known for creating and maintaining the ONIX family of messages, but also develops and manages EDI standards, and also provides management services to the International ISBN Agency.  Learn more about EDItEUR at

About The Publishers Association

The Publishers Association (PA) is the leading trade organization serving book, journal and electronic publishers in the UK, representing around 80% of the industry by turnover. The PA’s core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members.  Learn more about PA at

About The Association of American Publishers
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. AAP members publish books in every field; educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets; scholarly journals; computer software; and electronic products and services. Learn more about AAP at


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