What are BISAC Codes

Glossary > BISAC codes

💬 Definition of BISAC codes:

BISAC codes, developed by the Book Industry Study Group, help categorize books. They are part of your book’s metadata and tell retailers, libraries, sellers, buyers, and search engines what genre your book falls into. BISAC is the most accepted classification system by most distributors, and it’s updated yearly.

Related questions about BISAC

Why are BISAC categories important?

The classification system indicates where a book should be in online or brick-and-mortar stores. This helps readers find the book they are looking for. A badly classified book can disappoint readers and affect your sales.

How should you pick the best BISAC code?

All classification systems work with broad genres, e.g., fiction or non-fiction. You can select up to three BISAC categories (for Amazon KDP, you need only one), but the first is the main one and should be the most accurate. Once you select a category, you can get more specific, e.g., Fiction/Romance, then even more detailed information, e.g., Fiction/Romance/Historical.

Tips for selecting BISAC codes

You know the broad category your book falls into. Here are a few tips to help you select the best BISAC codes and subcategories.

    • Pick a category that best describes your book. This means you must choose the one that applies to the entire book. If your book is non-fiction but has a few chapters that talk about someone’s dream, for example, which can have details related to the fantasy genre, it doesn’t mean your book is fiction.
    • Be as specific as you can.
    • If possible, pick a less competitive subcategory. This can help you get noticed faster in a highly competitive space like Amazon. 
    • Be consistent. If you’re distributing your book to multiple places, ensure all your BISAC codes match.
    • Check the BISAC codes regularly. These codes change, or new ones are added, so check the list annually.

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