Agency Model Now Accommodated in Book Industry Standard for Product Information
The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and EDItEUR—the international body that maintains ONIX product information standards—working in collaboration with representatives from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the U.K. Publishers Association (PA), have made provisions to the "ONIX for Books" standards 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 that differs from the more traditional retail model. In the agency model, the publisher sells to the consumer via an “agent”—which may be an online retailer or another similar intermediary—that 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, is 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.
“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," says Alicia Wise, head of digital publishing, PA. "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 “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, according to a statement released by the participating organizations.
“The agency model emerged very quickly and is a significant development in the ever-advancing e-book industry," says Ed McCoyd, executive director for digital, environmental and accessibility affairs at the AAP. "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.”