May 18, 2022

New Edition of the BISAC Subject Headings List Now Online

An update is now online from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG).

BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) subject heading are used by many bookstores, by wholesalers, and by other organizations including a some libraries.

Direct to BISAC Subject Headings

From BISG:

Most of the significant changes in the new 2013 Edition affect four sections (Business and Economics, Family & Relationships, Fiction, and Self-Help) and include additions requested by major publishers who specialize in those subject areas. For example, in response to multiple requests, categories for “Military Families” and “PTSD” were added. In another change that should prove popular, there is now a “Fiction / Romance / New Adult” category.

The BISAC Subject Headings List is maintained through the dedicated work of the Subject Codes Committee, chaired by Connie Harbison of Baker & Taylor. Committee members members represent major publishers, wholesalers and other data aggregators, and retailers.

The Committee makes changes based on a thorough review of publisher catalogs and retailer categories. Requests submitted by both publishers and individual BISAC code users – often independent authors – represent the bulk of the remaining changes, which affect at least 26 categories.

The number of individual user requests grows with each new edition in a trend that shows no signs of slowing. Each such request is evaluated by the Committtee to ensure that the proposed new category does not repeat an existing one and that it represents a classification relevant to retailers.

The Committee has maintained the BISAC Subject Headings List since 1995 and has provided guidance to publishers, retailers, wholesalers, and others on its implementation and use with tutorials and FAQ’s.

The BISAC Subject Headings List remains free to BISG members. Non-members can purchase an annual license for the entire BISAC Subject Headings List allowing unlimited use and uploading into internal databases here or can look up individual titles without charge.

See Also: BISAC FAQ and Tutorials

See Also: Two Pittsburgh Area Public Libraries Using BISAC Subject Heading to Organize Some Materials, More Libraries Possible (August 23, 2012)

See Also: Are Dewey’s Days Numbered?: Libraries Nationwide Are Ditching the Old Classification System (via SLJ; Sept. 28, 2012)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.