April 1 – 15, 2004

April 1, 2004
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April 1-15, 2004 Edition GENERAL NEWS Book Industry Reaffirms Policy

Calling for Single Bar

Code for All Books

NEW YORK, NY/03/22/04—The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) recently reaffirmed the Product Identification Policy Statement approved by its Board of Directors and general membership in September 2003. Jeff Abraham, BISG Executive Director, stated “We are now moving from the development and confirmation phase to the education and implementation phase.”

In approving the policy last September, the board had asked that additional research be done to assess the status and needs of mass merchandisers affected by it. To carry out the directive, BISG surveyed retailers, distributors and wholesalers, representing thousands of retail outlets. A summary of the survey results is available online at: www.bisg.org/docs/EAN_UPC_Survey_Results.pdf

The respondents indicated a “high degree” of awareness that retailers in the United States must be capable of scanning and processing 13-digit bar codes by January 1, 2005. Approximately 70% of respondents stated that they would be prepared for the changeover by the target date, and thus would be capable of scanning the Bookland EAN bar code now printed on almost all hardcover and trade paper books. This result supports the Policy element calling for an end to the practice of including a second bar code, an item-specific UPC, on books.

Special attention was paid to the recommended transition away from the Price Point UPC bar code on the back cover of mass market paperbacks. This bar code provides only price at point of sale, in contrast to item-specific bar codes that identify the item being sold. Although a number of publishers and wholesalers had expressed concern that the Price Point UPC is the required marking throughout general retailing, survey respondents reported widespread over-stickering of that bar code.

“Many of the wholesalers and distributors supplying books to general merchandise retailers indicated that they already sticker over the UPC price point bar code with another type of proprietary bar code to gain item identification,” acknowledged Abraham. The survey further reported that a majority of the respondents would do little or no over-stickering of the Bookland EAN bar codes on the back cover.

The BISG policy confirms the continued use of the Bookland EAN on the inside front cover of strippable paperbacks.

The approved BISG Policy Statement is available online at www.bisg.org/docs/BISG_policy_001.pdf. It endorses the use of the Bookland EAN as the only barcode to be used to identify books — replacing the price-point UPC where it is currently used. The policy endorses the 13-digit ISBN as proposed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), with an implementation date of January 2007. Additionally, the Policy recommends that companies in the publishing industry become compliant with the Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN), which would allow trading partners to specify packaging information when placing electronic orders.

About BISG:

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is a not-for-profit research, policy and standards organization whose members come from every sector of the publishing community. The Study Group is a forum for managing change and enabling interaction among publishers, booksellers, librarians, wholesalers, manufacturers, authors, and suppliers. For more information, visit www.bisg.org.

Largest Christian

Publisher Aims

Bible-zines at Hip Teens

NASHVILLE, TN/ 03/25/04—Thomas Nelson, the world’s largest religious publisher, has launched a line of Bible-zines through its Transit Books teen division to appeal to hip Christian teenagers. Revolve, the first in a series of slick, four-color magazines offers a repackaged version of the New Testament for teenaged girls. Another Bible-zine called Refueled is designed for boys and will be launched in April 2004.

Revolve, which has been a smash hit since its July 2003 launch, has no commercial advertising. The easy-to-read magazine includes biblical passages which answer teens’ tough questions, trendy advice columns and a prayer calendar. Bible text is woven throughout the pages, and articles address even the toughest issues such as rape and sex.

According to Nelson executives, the company has found a way to make the word of God exciting, relevant, and fun for young women and young men.

Marvel Comics’

Ultimates Series

Takes Sabbatical

03/22/04—Marvel Comics has temporarily halted publication of its comic book series, The Ultimates, after being plagued with numerous delays. The company said it would relaunch the title later, after six issues of the series are completed. The delay, which will take place after issue #13 is released in March 2004, will enable the publication to get back on a monthly schedule.

Creators of the series said they are refocusing and retooling the first issue of Ultimates Volume 2, #1, to make it “bigger, badder, and bolder,” and will release the publication when the company can insure monthly delivery.

Borders Opens

Two More Stores

in Washington State

03/25/04—Borders Books & Music has announced it will open two new stores in the state of Washington late this summer.

One store will embrace 25,000 square feet and will be located in Alderwood Mall at 184th Street and Alderwood Mall Boulevard in Lynwood Washington. The other store will comprise nearly 19,000 square feet and will be located in Vancouver, at 164th and Mill Plain Boulevard in Mill Plains Plaza, serving the Portland area.

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