Subject and Regional Classifications

Subject Classification Schemes are used to communicate subject information about a book to retailers, data aggregators, bloggers and ultimately consumers. This information gets communicated through your bibliographic data files and is used to help identify where the book should be shelved in a physical store and how it can be found via search or browse in an online store, catalogue or other discovery platform. BookNet Canada helps maintain and promotes two main types of subject classification schemes for use in Canada and internationally:


BISAC Classification Schemes come in three forms: BISAC Subject Codes, BISAC Merchandising Themes, and BISAC Regional Themes. These codes are widely used in the North American Book Trade.

Learn more about the classification schemes below:


Thema is a new global subject classification system for books, with wide and growing international participation.

Learn more about Thema below:

BookNet Canada's Role

BookNet Canada sits on both the BISAC and Thema subjects committee where decisions are made about what new codes are needed and if old ones should be discontinued. The Canadian Bibliographic Committee works at creating Canadian specific BISAC and THEMA  subjects and regional themes. If you would like to discuss any of the Classification Schemes send us an email at