A guide to BNC Webform data entry and code list references

Go directly to a Tab's entry:


It's not always clear what's wanted in a specific field in Webform. Metadata between companies is traded because it's needed and those needs develop over time. Conventions develop – varying slightly between trading partners — and are normally discussed or published as guidelines. However, the typical Webform user is developing book metadata from scratch without a trading partner, so they can't possibly know the conventions, definitions, and why's of an industry.

With this in mind, the general purpose of this page is to provide the following:

  1. a short pragmatic answer about what goes into a field, i.e., a quick reference guide
  2. a quick way to access the full ONIX code list for, or that may support, an entry

Those two things are probably enough for most Webform users: what's wanted and a solution to limited drop-down menus. Drop-downs are incomplete because they lack the "Notes" section that explains the codes. As well, a full code list that appears, complete, on a single page can be quickly scanned in its entirety. Seen that way, most code lists become self explanatory in a way that a drop-down just can't support. You won't need to reference it all the time but if you're ever unsure, a look here and at a code list may be all you need.

The other purpose of this page is to provide a guide to the specific ONIX tag and manual entry that this information will be sent as, which may be helpful if a trading partner asks you to confirm this, or if you're trying to understand your ONIX feed.

How to use this guide:

  • This document assumes you are using ONIX 2.1 and is organized in Webform page order, generally going top to bottom, left to right, and named by its tab reference.
  • All text values you enter should be in "mixed case" following normal conventions for capitalization of titles and names. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS.
    • Unless prompted or marked as Mandatory? it's fine to leave fields blank. For example, if the book is not part of a Series then leave "Series" blank – DO NOT USE "N/A" or other values, as retailers will display it to consumers.
  • If a number is requested, just supply a number without anything else. ISBNs are always supplied WITHOUT hyphens in all cases. Numbers are computer friendly and text unexpected.
  • Each code list number links to a separate page. It would be best to open in a new tab (right click on a PC or CMD click on a Mac).

General Info

Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference
ISBN 13Enter your ISBN-13 as assigned by Library and Archives Canada.  NO HYPHENS supply a 13 digit number
Webform's ONIX output will include List 5 values for 03 ISBN-13, 15 GTIN-13 and for 978 ISBNs only - 02 ISBN-10
All records
No hyphens
5PR.2.7 Product identifier code
PR.2.9 Identifier Value
Autofilled in ONIX output

Based on the ISBN-13 entered, Webform includes as product identifiers:

  • Code 03 ISBN-13
  • Code 15 GTIN-13
  • Code 02 ISBN-10 (calculated and included for 978-ISBNs only)
  • Code 01 proprietorial value (used internally by Webform's programming)
All records5PR.2.7 Product identifier code
PR.2.9 Identifier Value
RECORD REFERENCEEnter your ISBN-13 here as well. (The Record Reference must be a unique value and is used to identify individual records. The ISBN-13 is a convenient way to maintain that)All records
PR.1.1 Record reference number

All records enter a value in TITLE – Enter the 'main' book title (without subtitle) in the "Title" box.
(See below for Subtitle.)

If the title begins with a prefix (The, A, An, etc.) enter the Prefix and the balance of the title split between the Title Prefix / WO Prefix. (Retailers will use the WO Prefix value for indexing.) If the title doesn't have prefix, simply leave the two fields blank and use "Title" on its own.

All records15

Code "01"
PR.7.8 Title type code
PR.7.11 Title text
PR.7.12 Title prefix
PR.7.13 Title without prefix

General Information

SUBTITLEThe book's subtitle goes here. See Title above.if it appears
on book 

PR.7.14 Subtitle
NOTIFICATION TYPEDefault to "03" (This is used to define the "quality" of information. Early pre-publication information may change and by giving "02" you warn of that. Most Webform users have a book-in-hand so "Confirmed information" is appropriate for the lifetime of a book. Using other codes should be updated to 03 on publication. Do not use 04 as it's an ONIX 3.0 value.)All records1PR.1.2 Notification or update type code
WORK IDENTIFIERUse this when you've published this "work" (single title) in more than one format (multiple ISBNs).
If you sell the same "work" in multiple formats retailers can link records because this field contains an identical code unique to that work. Select "01 Proprietary" and fill in a shared value (you create it) in the box beside it and use the same value for all the affected ISBNs. It should be a unique code – a string of characters without spaces to be used by computers. (Some companies use the ISBN from their first published format – use appropriate code)
16PR.7.15 Work identifier type code
PR.7.17 Identifier value


For print books Product Form is a "binding" type and normal values are BC=paperback or BB=hardcover Other "B_" codes can be used for other formats but these 2 are by far the most typical to use. Use with Product Form Detail.
For all digital books use "DG" Use with EpublicationType
All records7PR.3.1 Product form code
EPUBLICATION TYPEDigital books only: 002 is PDF / 029 is EPUB Each file type is normally assigned it's own ISBN (the same as paperback and hardcover)  Do NOT use "000" Content Package as it's out-dated concept. Always tell retailers the type of file they are processing.Required for
digital books 
10PR.4.2 Epublication type
PRODUCT FORM DETAILTip: "print" book codes start with "B", Digital codes start with "E" , Audio starts with "A" and so on. The letters match the first letter of the Product form in most cases.
B102 is a trade paperback and North American retailers need to differentiate between mass market paperbacks (sized for racks) and the "trade" edition. Mass market books are a special market type so the expectation is that B102 is used. Hardcovers can clarify their cover – eg jacketed, laminated, cloth using codes from range B400 to B500.
Digital: recommended for differentiating between "reflowable" (E200) and "fixed format" (E201) though 029 epub is usually assumed to be reflowable and PDF are assumed to be fixed format.
Required for
optional but expected
78PR.3.2 Product form detail

Major retailers want to know where the barcode is on print books and the typical answer is that you have an EAN barcode on the back cover: Use List 6 code "10"

(If a price block is provided as part of the barcode then use "11" for a USD price or "68" for a CAD one. What's a price block? A second smaller barcode with price information and it's not required. If it's there and marked with zeros, then you still don't have price block – there has to be price information in the second barcode that matches the price you show in your metadata for that currency.).

Webform only supports a single instance so if you have multiple barcodes specify the standard ISBN-13 based EAN barcode typically found on the back cover.

Do NOT provide a Barcode code value for digital products. A retailer has no need or means to scan a barcode as part of processing a file download.

Print books only6PR.2.10 Barcode indicator
PRIMARY CONTENT TYPEThe use case this supports is a book format where "what's inside" isn't obvious – digital products or analogue recordings – to define what it is. For your typical epub that would be List 81 code 10 "Text (eye-readable)". Webform offers a single instance for this, so choose the main content type. This wouldn't be typically supplied on a print book. Optional and typically for digital products81PR.3.11 Product content type code
TITLE OF SERIESSee below for Number Within Series. Leave blank if there's no series and that is typical for small publishers. Series generally make more sense for large publishers with many related titles and provide a means of secondary marketing. Series numbers are sometimes applied to provide order, esp in Europe.
Webform's ONIX output supports the NoSeries indicator if Title of Series is left blank
All records
see Comments as leaving blank is meaningful.

PR.5.6 Series title

PR.5.9 "No series" indicator

PUBLISHER NAMESee next tab "Imprint" as well. The Publisher Name is the name of the company that signs contracts and whose name appears on the Title page and Copyright page. Imprint Name is based on the branding that appears on the outside of the book. For many companies Publisher and Imprint are identical.
Webform's ONIX output carries a List 45 code "01" confirming the name provider is the Publisher.
All records45

PR.19.7 Publishing role code
PR.19.11 Publisher Name

LANGUAGE OF TEXTMost will use 'eng' This code actually defines the language market a retailer should sell to (it's how Amazon would define their Spanish vs English section), but the language the book is written is usually the same as the book's language market. Webform's ONIX output uses List 22 role code "01" Language of Text and most users will select List 74 language code "eng". See more.All records



PR.11.3 Language role

PR.11.4 Language code 

NUMBER WITHIN SERIESSee above for Series Title. Use only if Title of Series is provided and the series carries a number. Use numbers here only.Optional
PR.5.7 Number within series


The date this ISBN was first published (not the "work" – see Year First Published below) and the date of record for this ISBN. Dates in ONIX are YYYYMMDD – no hyphens, slashes or marks. All records
PR.20.5 Publication date
NUMBER OF PAGESThe approximate number of pages – normally the number from the last numbered page, but if there a two or more sequentially numbered sections (eg xviii + 344) add the sequences together. Digital products: While a page count might not exist in a digital product this remains the most meaningful "size" for consumers. Either use the page count from a print edition or provide an estimation based on a standard character or word conversion.All records
PR.12.1 Approximate number of pages
YEAR FIRST PUBLISHEDIf this ISBN is based on a work that's been previously published, you can provide the year that the "work" was first published to aid in identification. .Optional
PR.20.3 Year first published

Most will show 04 "Active" or 02 "Forthcoming". There are two status values in ONIX and they should be considered together. The Publishing Status provides the book status for the company named as publisher. See Supply Detail tab "Product Availability" for the status for the company supplying the book to retailers. For many Webform users the company may be the same but both status values are important to provide a complete picture to the supply chain. Retailer metadata must be updated when the status changes.

All records64PR.20.1 Publishing status
NUMBER OF PIECESMost will leave blank. If this ISBN comes in 2 or more physical parts – say a paperback split into Volume 1 and Volume 2 but sold as single ISBN – then this is a count of the number of paperbacks that come as part of this ISBN. This is important information for retailers to know if the product should be sold as two books combined – but it's very exceptional.Optional
PR.3.9 Number of Pieces
FOR SALE WITH EXCLUSIVE RIGHTSMost will check off "World" (List 49). If you only have limited rights then check off the list of countries (List 91 individual country codes) you have rights or are marketing the book in. Try to avoid a long list if possible, you can limit the list to countries you are actually marketing the book in – just be sure to include Canada's List 91 value of "CA" (assuming you're selling here).
Webform's ONIX output supports a single instance of "exclusive rights".
All records




PR.21.1 Sales rights type code

PR.21.2 Rights country

PR.21.3 Rights territory

CITY OF PUBLICATIONIf your title page shows the publisher name with the city and country (see below) of publication, then listing it is recommended as it will help identification of the book. If you don't list them on the title page then it's simply optional in the metadata – it will still aid in identification of the publisher.Optional
PR.19.16 City of publication
COUNTRY OF PUBLICATIONSee City of Publication above.Optional91PR.19.16 Country of publication
EDITION NUMBERMost will leave blank. An edition is noted in metadata when there are changed or updated versions of a book issued with different ISBNs. So "edition" marks that the content of the work has had substantial changes and published in different versions, normally as sequentially numbered editions. This is important for retailers and libraries to track. ONIX supports a NoEdition marker to show that a single "version" of the work has been published and this describes most Webform users. Do not supply "1" unless there are other editions (changed content) as different formats or bindings with the same content are all of the same "edition". See More
Webform's ONIX output will show the <NoEdition/> marker if left blank. If a number is supplied then the other edition should also be listed in the Related Product tab.
All records
see Comments as leaving blank is meaningful.

PR.10.2 Edition number

PR.10.5 "No edition" indicator

COUNTRY OF MANUFACTUREA single ISO 3166-1 country code from List 91 designating the country of final manufacture of the product. (This functionality is provided as a workaround in ONIX 2.1. ONIX 3.0 has specific provision for country of manufacture as a separate element.)  Note: this is provided for retailers reference and cross border shipping where it would be relevant.   It typically isn't provided for a POD product unless there is only one location, then whatever country that printing happens in.Mandatory
for physical

 PR.15.3 Other text type code

"code 99"

SEE Website TAB

NOTE: Website entries appear in different places within an ONIX record – placement of information within an ONIX record is "meaningful". Webform supports distinct Website entries for

  • Publisher (appears as part of the publisher entry – the publisher's general website)
  • Product (ONIX 2.1 supports a distinct product specific Website entry if it's available)
  • Contributor (appears as part of a specific contributor entry – see Contributor entry below for details)

PR.19.12 to PR.19.14
Publisher Website 

PR.16.15 to PR.16.17
Product Website 


Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference
NAME CODE TYPEMost select "01" Proprietary. See next label

as it's a request by Amazon 

44PR.19.2 Name code type
NAME CODE VALUEA self-selected "code" value associated with the Imprint Name you provide. It's simply a tool to allow retailers to track changes to imprint names which can change for marketing reasons. A consistent code will help confirm that the imprint remains related to a previous imprint name, while a new code confirms it's a new and different imprint. See more.
PR.19.4 Name code value
NAMEImprint Name goes here, but for most small publishers the Imprint Name is the same as Publisher Name. See more.Mandatory
PR.19.5 Imprint of brand name


Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference
Unlabeled - a sequence number is addedAuto-filled based on sequence in the list. The order of the contributor list in Webform is meaningful as each entry will be labeled with a sequence number used by retailers to control display order.

All records should support at least one contributor entry.

If the product has no specific author (a calendar might be an example) then use the Publisher as a Corporate contributor.

PR.8.1 Contributor sequence number
First name (bef key)

General instructions: Each Contributor entry supports a specific (single) person OR A "Corporate" entry is supplied – never both. If a husband and wife are the joint authors, give each a separate entry even if the book cover combines them

If the contributor is a "person" then enter everything before their "last name" as "First name (bef key)"

If there are name parts that you're not sure are part of a last name (de von, etc.) then define the "last name" as how the retailer should index the author.

PR.8.8 Person name part 2: names before key name
Name (key)Enter the "last name" of a person (defined in previous entry) here. If the person is identified by a singular name (Cher is an example) then enter it here as it's the "key" name and leave the "First name" blank
PR.8.9 Person name part 3: names before key name
Person nameauto-filled based on previous entries
PR.8.5 Person name
Person name inv.auto-filled based on previous entries
PR.8.6 Person name inverted
CorporateUse this if the contributor isn't a person but a named group – the corporate sponsor (a company) or an editorial group might be examples – then enter that group here but do not fill out the "person" related tags (above).
PR.8.26 Corporate contributor name

Most use A01 author / A12 Illustrator / B01 Editor / B06 Translated by Select the most appropriate role code here – use the full code list and read the notes. While you should select the most appropriate code, some retailers privilege "authors" over other types and map many codes to "author" resulting in, as example, the caption writer appearing before the Photographer as Author code.

TIP: Be accurate but using atypical codes to try to attract attention can have the reverse effect.

Required in all Contributor entries17PR.8.2 Contributor role

If needed to support marketing, select the Country code associated with the author. In Canada a "CA" is used to identify a Canadian author and identifies the product for inclusion in 49thshelf.com or Canadian best seller lists.

See more.

Optional, Recommended for Canadian authors
PR.8.33 Country code
SEE Website TAB

If the author has their own website and you want to link to it for its marketing potential you can add it in the Website tab. A separate interface there allows you to associate a contributor with a website, normally identified as "06" Contributor's own website, "07" Publisher's website related to specified contributor, or "09" Third-party website related to the specified contributor.

NOTE: Website entries appear in different places within an ONIX record. Webform supports distinct Website entries for

  • Contributor (appears as part of a specific contributor entry)
  • Publisher (appears as part of the publisher entry – see General Information, above, for details)
  • Product (ONIX 2.1 supports a distinct Product Website entry – see General Information, above, for details)
Optional73PR.8.28 to PR.8.30
Contributor Website 


Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference

Information about HTML use is here. Simple HTML designed for use within ONIX metadata feeds is strongly recommended.

Webform defaults to showing a Text Format of "02" HTML.

If HTML use is a problem submit simple tag-less text using double page returns for paragraphs.

The standard request from trade retailers is that publishers provide support for consumer sales by including a Main Description, information about the author(s) (Biographical Note) and supplying a cover image (handled separately). These are the minimum expectations.

For most books a well chosen excerpt is one of the best support – though for children's picture books or other highly illustrative or designed books several sample interior images may be a better choice.

Webform offers a single entry to handle reviews. Retailers will publish them following "fair use" guidelines so short quotes are best with the quote author, journal name and date as available. Separate quote blocks as paragraphs.

Nonfiction or collections by multiple authors are often best served with a Table of Contents and can include each Chapter and Section Heading or the individual title and its author for collections. Unfortunately not all retailers will use them.

General guidelines:

All books are different so the exact mix of what you supply can vary – you're under no obligation to supply both the Main Description and the Back Cover Copy, for example, and if one is largely a duplicate of the other there's little point. A Table of Contents should provide information to the potential buyer. Length is best judged by looking at similar books but few buyers will read long extended copy, though the excerpt is an exception to that rule. Few retailers will allow unlimited space and descriptions and bios above 300 words are preferred with 600 words exceptional. An excerpt would be best well under 2000 words.

Not every retailer displays everything.

All records should include a Main Description



Code "01"
PR.15.3 Other Text Type Code
Code "02"
PR.15.4 Other text format
PR.15.5 Other Text 

TABLE OF CONTENTOptional, recommended if meaningfulCode "04"
PR.15.3 Other Text Type Code
Code "02"
PR.15.4 Other text format
PR.15.5 Other Text 

BACK COVER COPYOptional if Main Description is supplied.Code "18"
PR.15.3 Other Text Type Code
Code "02"
PR.15.4 Other text format
PR.15.5 Other Text 
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTEInformation about the author is expected if it's appropriate.Code "13"
PR.15.3 Other Text Type Code
Code "02"
PR.15.4 Other text format
PR.15.5 Other Text 
EXCERPT FROM BOOKOptional, recommended if meaningful

Code "23"
PR.15.3 Other Text Type Code
Code "02"
PR.15.4 Other text format
PR.15.5 Other Text 

REVIEW QUOTEOptional, recommended if available.Code "08"
PR.15.3 Other Text Type Code
Code "02"
PR.15.4 Other text format
PR.15.5 Other Text 

Supply Detail

Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference
  • Choose a Suppler
  • Add a New Supplier
  • Delete a New Supplier 

These are used to create a second supplier or select which supplier is available on screen.
Start data entry with Supplier Name

SUPPLIER NAMEThe company that supplies products to retailers and receives payment from them. If you self-distribute this typically matches the Publisher Name. If you have a print distributor name them here. For digital products, retailers typically contact and pay the publisher direct making them the supplier even when another firm handles the actual file distribution.At least one supplier is named for all records.
PR.24.6 Supplier name
SUPPLIER ROLEMost choose 01 "Publisher to retailer". This provides a basic definition of who the retailers are dealing with, choose the most appropriate one.All suppliers93PR.24.13 Supplier role
PACK QUANTITYPrint retailers want to know how many books are in a carton. If unknown or print-on-demand, use "1"Print books only
PR.24.44 Pack or carton quantity
PRODUCT AVAILABILITYMost choose 20 "In stock" or 10 "Not yet available". This provides information about the Supplier's ability to provide the product and is intended to work in tandem with Publishing Status (General Information tab). It applies to both digital and print books. For digital books it refers to the supplier's ability to provide a file for the retailer to sell. For print books it references physical stock available to retailers. Product status metadata at retailers must be updated when it changes.All suppliers65PR.24.22 Product availability
RETURN CODE TYPEFor print books supplied to North America choose 02 "BISAC Returnable indicator code"Print books only - Mandatory for Indigo submissions53PR.24.18 Returns conditions code type
RETURNS CODEChoose the appropriate code to define your return policy in North America. If you haven't developed one choose "C" to show retailers should contact you. Do NOT use "S" as it's for mass market products and allows retailers to pulp unsold copies, returning covers as proof.Print books only - Mandatory for Indigo submissions66PR.24.19 Returns conditions code
ON SALE DATEFor digital products this controls the date that sales begin – usually the same as Publication Date. For print products most leave blank. (In print: this is an embargo date which can function only by the publisher working closely with retailers. If asked to supply one use the publication date)Digital: All suppliers
Print: Optional, leave blank recommended

PR.24.35 On sale date
EXPECTED SHIP DATEFor an On Sale Date is to work, retailers need to receive files or stock appropriately in advance to allow them time to process the product for sale. This is optional for digital products, but you should supply digital files in advance of the On Sale Date following retailer guidelines.Optional, but recommended for print products using On Sale Date.
PR.24.34 Expected availability date (ship date)
PriceEvery Supplier entry must support at least one price entry.

  • New

Click here for every new price you need to add.
You must "save" the work in this line by clicking on the "save icon" when you're finished 

Price type

For North America choose 01 Recommended Retail Price excluding tax.

We've noted that many self published authors choose Price Type "03" – possibly thinking this references Agency Price (code 41) .  In the full code (link 58 to the right) 03 is clearly specified as "In countries where retail price maintenance applies by law to certain products: not used in USA".   This code does not apply in Canada either.  Always consult the full code list where the Notes section contains information on use. 

Mandatory for each Price row58PR.24.49 Price type code
PriceOne supplier can support multiple prices, normally different currencies matched to different countries.Mandatory for each Price row
PR.24.63 Price amount
CurrencyMost use CAD "Canadian dollar" / USD "US dollar"Mandatory for each Price row96PR.24.64 Currency code
Discount typeFor North America choose "02" Proprietary discount codeExpected by North American retailers100PR.24.58 Discount code type code
Discount codeA code used to track discount information. See more.Expected by North American retailers
PR.24.60 Discount code value
Tax codeFor North America most leave blank. See more.Never supply tax information on a price excluding tax. Use for European VAT taxes.62PR.24.66 Tax rate 1, coded
Taxable amountFor North America most leave blank.Never supply tax information on a price excluding tax. Use for European VAT taxes.
PR.24.68 Amount of price taxable at tax rate 1
Tax amountFor North America most leave blank.Never supply tax information on a price excluding tax. Use for European VAT taxes.
PR.24.69 Tax amount at tax rate 1
Class of tradeUSA only. Sometimes asked for by retailers as an alternate way of carrying a discount code. See more.Optional
PR.24.56 Class of trade
CountryConfirms the country using the price, typically matched to currency code. If retailers are required to use a foreign currency (say a USD price is provided for use by Canadian retailers) then the Country Code would specify "CA".Recommended: Use a country code matched to the Currency code.
PR.24.65 Country Code

Subject & Audience

Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference
  • drop down select
North American retailers, including Canadian ones, expect a BISAC main subject on all records. Think of it as the best category in a bookstore for this title and a main subjects should be as specific as possible. Codes are hierarchical so FICTION / Romance / Contemporary is self-defined as Fiction and Romance but if the bookstore supports it, the best retailer subject category would be "Contemporary Romance" in Fiction.
Webform supports a single BISAC subject entry. See more, including web pages that may be easier to navigate than Webform's drop down at bisg.org
We strongly recommend that you read and understand the guidelines they provide.
All recordsOutside
PR.13.1 BISAC main subject category
  • drop down select
Most leave blank. A subject region code references the book's subject or it's setting – the region it is about. Think of it as highlighting a title to a bookseller or librarian in that region as a title with content of special interest to the region code provided. (Where an author lives isn't a book's regional subject code, but highlight where the author lives in biographical notes.) Be as specific as possible. A book about Cape Breton will benefit from a Region Code but there's little value in specifying North America unless the book is truly has continental wide content about North America.
Webform supports a single BISAC region entry. See more as part of the BISAC Subject section, including web pages that may be easier to navigate than Webform's drop down at bisg.org.
We strongly recommend that you read and understand the guidelines they provide.
Optional but recommended if appropriate.



Code "11"
PR.13.9 Subject scheme identifier
PR.13.10 Subject code
PR.13.13 Subject heading text
  • drop down select

Most leave blank. Used by UK realtors. See more here Guidelines for BISAC about using the most specific subject possible apply for BIC as well. Note that the drop down + buttons can be opened for more specific subjects. You may find getting a full BIC Subject list helpful for understanding your options.

NOTE: BIC Subjects are being replaced by Thema Subjects

Optional but recommended if selling in the UK



Code "12"
PR.13.5 Main subject scheme identifier
PR.13.7 Subject code
PR.13.8 Subject heading text

BIC VERSIONMost leave blank. Supply if you know the version of BIC you are using.OptionalOptionalPR.13.6 Subject scheme version


A new international subject system, similar to BIC. See more here Guidelines for BISAC about using the most specific subject possible apply to Thema as well. Note that the drop down + buttons can be opened for more specific subjects. You may find a full Thema Subject list helpful.Recommended all records



Code "93"
PR.13.5 Main subject scheme identifier
PR.13.7 Subject code
PR.13.8 Subject heading text 
THÈMES ÉLECTREMost leave blank. This is a subject code system used to support French language retailer, only recommended if selling to appropriate retailers for support of a French langauge book.Optional



Code "28"
PR.13.5 Main subject scheme identifier
PR.13.7 Subject code

Use a semicolon ";" as the delimiter between keywords and key phrases. Recommended as used by retailers. We strongly recommend reading BISG's Best Practices for Keywords in Metadata as it provides clear guidelines for what retailers need to support subject based searches. A SEO approach using keywords that don't describe the book's subject is NOT recommended and will likely cause your keywords to be ignored.

Recommended all records27PR.13.9 Subject scheme identifier
PR.13.13 Subject heading text
AUDIENCE CODEAll records must have a primary audience code. Trade books (general audience) are covered by values 01 to 03. If a book shouldn't be JUV or YA then it's "General Trade". Audience and Audience Range are seldom displayed to consumers but they are used by retailers and librarians to isolate book lists as part of a broad category.All records28PR.14.1 Audience code
  • FROM
  • TO

Use if Audience is JUV or YA. Most provide Code "17" Interest Age.

As noted in Audience, this value is used primarily by retailers and librarians and a narrow 3 year range is expected in most cases. Do not provide ranges like 0 to 99 as they can actually prevent accurate selection of your book. If necessary an open ended FROM statement can be used even if it's not a best practice recommendation.

NOTE: The following options are specific to data entry on Webform and will create a correctly formatted Audience Range ONIX output. (Our programming will create a correct "exact" value in ONIX if you use it as below but this is not a description of how the standard works.)

  • FROM: lower value TO: higher value (typical and used in most cases)
  • FROM: used on it's own is understood as "this value and higher."
  • TO: used on it's own is understood as "up to this value."
  • EXACT: Put the same value in both From and To. Typically used for a book used for a specific grade 

All Juvenile or Young Adult titles should carry and Audience Range



PR.14.7 Audience range qualifier
PR.14.10(2) Audience range precision
PR.41.11(2) Audience range value

Measure & Extent

Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference

HEIGHT is the length of the book's spine
WIDTH is the width from the book spine to book's opening side
THICKNESS is "depth" or the width of the spine
WEIGHT is the book's weight

Estimates can be provided prior to publication but you should update the metadata once the estimates are confirmed.

All physical products need to provide the size that the retailer receives – normal book measures as above but if the product being sold is in packaging then the size of the product as delivered to the retailer.

Use the units most requested by your trading partner – centimeters and grams or kilograms is a safe default.

There is no need to provide measures for digital download products as files have no dimensions.

Required for all physical products48Code "01"
PR.22.1 Measure type code 

unit drop down select

50PR.22.3 Measure unit code
WIDTHRequired for all physical products48Code "02"
PR.22.1 Measure type code
unit drop down select50PR.22.3 Measure unit code
THICKNESSRequired for all physical products48Code "03"
PR.22.1 Measure type code
unit drop down select50PR.22.3 Measure unit code
WEIGHTRequired for all physical products48Code "08"
PR.22.1 Measure type code
unit drop down select50PR.22.3 Measure unit code
DURATIONFOR AUDIO BOOKS ONLY – The running time for the entire product.  (Note that you can select other values in the dropdown but this field is locked to "Duration" for audiobooks).Required for audio products
(physical or digital)
23Code "09"
PR.12.4 Extent type code
unit drop down selectAs requested by your trading partner but we understand Audible.com requests the value as Code "25" minutes.24PR.12.6 Extent unit
FILE SIZEFOR DOWNLOADABLE PRODUCTS ONLY.  Normally the best measure understood by consumer is a page count (same as the one on the General Information tab), but file size may be helpful to retailers.  See unit drop down for optionsRecommended for digital products.23Code "22"
PR.12.4 Extent type code
unit drop down selectCodes 18 Kbytes or 19 Mbytes expected (you can also use Code 17 Bytes, but that atypical).24PR.12.6 Extent unit


Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference

If your book doesn't include illustrations (it's just text) leave this tab blank.

If the "Type" code fully describes the illustrations there's no need to use description – a type code and a number are much more useful as metadata. Webform only supports a single code so if your book contains multiple types of illustrations use "00" and provide a description.

Webform uses the Illustration composite rather than PR.12.7 or 12.8 elements to provided the metadata.

Required for illustrated books25

PR.12.9 Illustration or other content type code

DESCRIPTIONIf the Type Code is "00" is used, or the code doesn't fully describe the illustrations, a short statement (under 100 characters) can provide additional information.Optional
PR.12.10 Illustration or other content type description
NUMBERNumber only – and it represents the number of illustrations described by the "Type" codeExpected for illustrated books
PR.12.11 Number of illustrations

Related Product

Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference

Related Product information is optional, but strongly recommended in the following use cases.

Related Product is one of the most important data points for retailers as it provides a way to associate the current record's ISBN and product record with another ISBN and its product record.

The primary uses would be:

  • Codes 03 / 05 Replaces / Replaced by – to create linkages between editions
  • Code 23 to provide information to retail buyers about "similar" products for comparison purposes.
  • Codes 27 / 13 to create linkages between print and digital formats of a book
    (General Information / Work Identifier is an alternative means to link formats of a book.)

A detailed explanation of Related Product and Edition is here.

Retailers who have records for the related product ISBN only need that ISBN reference, but most retailers specialize in print or digital sales. Therefore Product Form plus Product Form Detail (print ISBN) or Product Form plus Epublication Type (digital ISBN) are provided to supplement the retailer's information and clarify the related product ISBN.

Webform supports three instances of Related Product information and other codes can be supported though we'd recommend the above ones first.

Mandatory if Related Product provided.51PR.23.7 Relation code
ISBN 13/EANISBN-13 is mandatory if Related Product provided.
No hyphens in ISBN!

Code 15
PR.23.10 Product identifier type code

PRODUCT FORMRecommended for all Related Product entries7PR.23.16 Product form code
PRODUCT FORM DETAILRecommended for print product ISBNs78PR.23.17 Product form detail
EPUBLICATION TYPERecommended for digital product ISBNs10PR.23.27 Epublication type code


Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference
General instructions

Websites are associated with specific functions described in an ONIX record. Webform supports three options:

  • Contributor. Normally the personal website for the contributor and not necessarily specific to the book.
  • Publisher. Normally the generic website for the publisher and not necessarily specific to the book
  • Product. A URL devoted to the specific product being described in the ONIX record

Retailers will not link to a website selling a book they offer for sale.

Website role

Each Contributor listed in the Contributor tab can have their own website listing. Click on the Pencil to begin.

  • Website role: Most select Code 06 or 07 from dropdown
  • Website: Use the full working URL including http:// Do not include spaces within a URL.
Recommended if available73

PR.8.28 Website purpose

PR.8.30 Link to website


A single entry listing the Publisher's website.

  • Website role: Most select Code 01 from dropdown
  • Website: Use the full working URL including http:// Do not include spaces within a URL.
Recommended if available73

PR.19.12 Website purpose

PR.19.14 Link to website


A single entry listing a website devoted to the book being described in the ONIX record.

  • Website role: Most select Code 02 from dropdown
  • Website: Use the full working URL including http:// Do not include spaces within a URL.
Recommended if available73

PR.16.15 Website purpose

PR.16.17 Link to website

Prize & Promotion

Webform labelCommentsMandatory?ONIX
ONIX Manual reference

Webform supports multiple instances of Prize entries – start each with the +New button.

If you list a prize as an initial achievement code and it moves up the chain (long to short list, short list to winner, etc.) then we recommend that you update the entry. Don't list an award twice (an exception would be actually winning an award twice normally in separate years or judged by separate juries. There has to be some reason for retailers and consumers to see it twice)


The Prize name goes here. Try to follow the standard name commonly associated with it to make it easy for retailers to group

Recommended all products when appropriate.
PR.17.2 Prize or award name
PRIZE YEARYYYY year entry for when prize was awardedOptional but expected for most prizes.
PR.17.3 Prize or award year
PRIZE COUNTRYA single Country Code for the country where the prize was awarded.Optional but expected for most prizes.91PR.17.4 Prize or award country
PRIZE CODECode specifying the achievementOptional but expected for most prizes.41PR.17.5 Prize or award achievement code

A free text area to record information about promotions and other information of interest to retailers. It is not typically displayed to consumers, so the intended audience is your trading partners. The expected size would be 1000 characters or less (not a hard limit).

HTML should not be used but you are welcome to use page returns to provide a veneer of formatting. The recommended (and safest) way to present lists would be to use hyphens:

The author will be appearing in the following cities:
- Boston May 25
- Montreal June 1
- Calculta August 18


PR.26.1 Promotion campaign information