The trials of an Onix evangelist

Just one of those days – had to go from New York and organise getting home and seeing existing clients. Got up at 4am in Manhattan got a cab to JFK to catch 7.15 flight to Boston and then because of low cloud sat in holding pattern over Boston (for an hour) and then had to go to Rochester in Vermont to talk to a publisher (Inner Traditions/Bear Company). So got only bus could get from airport thinking I can get taxi from nearest town and ended up in Hanover (New Hampshire) with no ride. So a night in the Hanover Inn beckons in the snow.

I bet the guys from Quality Solutions and Vista don’t have to do this stuff!


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Again, how long have we been at this Onix thing?

Came across this article from Book People in the UK with a contribution from Anko -April 2003 feels like a very long time ago:

‘Next stop: ONIX compliance
Gary Bowerman, marketing director, Anko Publishing Software, warns publishers to prepare now.
Amid the frenetic talk at this year’s London Book Fair, several salutary statistics were circulating. Here are three that might make you wince:
• Typically, 20% of a publisher’s titles make up 80% of its revenues.
• Seven out of 10 books published are unprofitable.
• Nearly 30 out of every 100 books a publisher pays to print go unsold.
Such figures explain the LBF’s “It’s time to talk business” sub-title. Whether you sit on the “with a pinch of salt” or the “no smoke without fire” side of the statistical fence matters little. Publishing is experiencing a sea change.
Technological advances. Shifting patterns of consumer demand. Uncertain economic times. Blame whichever causal factor you prefer, but this year’s buzz phrases – “lower costs”, “reduced wastage”, “more efficiency” and “shorter print runs” – tell their own story, and that hitherto unpalatable term “print-on-demand” was hotter than ever.
However, one topic conspicuously absent was the ONIX (online information exchange) standard. As e-commerce asserts greater influence and improved product information is required throughout the publishing supply chain, the common ONIX “language” for bibliographic information will impose itself upon publishers. Late last year, a leading US book retailer was reportedly preparing to charge publishers US$12 per title for imperfect title data. In the UK, the BIC is committed to promoting ONIX as the “standard means of communication of product information across the UK book trade”.
The technical smokescreen surrounding ONIX and uncertainty as to when it will become fully operational as a standard remain confusing, but the reality is stark. Publishers must prepare for ONIX. Now. Bibliographic information delivery to the entire publishing supply chain will soon have to be ONIX-compliant. And that involves both advance planning and data conversion.
For more information on ONIX and the Anko ONIX Generator software, visit Anko online at http://www.anko.co.uk or e-mail enquiries@anko.co.uk’.

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New Barnes & Noble fields from Feb 2006

B&N would like you include the following additional fields in your Onix fields from February 2006:

1) Barcode Indicator
2) Replaces ISBN
3) Carton Quantity

Of course in both the Anko Title Manager and the Anko Publishing Manager we have these fields for you to add to your Onix messages if appropriate.

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ISBN 13 – Much ado about what exactly?

Really what is the fuss – it ain’t so hard – Mostly just the EAN 13 that everyone had anyway. So very tired of reading articles making such a fuss (this one on the BISG from Publishers Weekly being a prime example – http://www.bisg.org/news/pub_weekly_isbn13.html).

Both our book publishing systems (the Anko Publishing and the Anko Title Manager – http://anko.ie) of course generate and validate your ISBN 13s for you straight out of the box.

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I do love Toronto

Just preparing to leave Toronto – Great city – Fantastic publishers – Fantastic standards organisation (BookNet) – Even not so cold today (-19 with wind chill yesterday (that is officially cold in case you had any doubt)). Not a very typical ‘Toronto’ shot but I liked it for some reason. Think is part of the university or something.

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Canadian publishers

Had a great meeting with the BookNet Canada people (http://www.booknetcanada.com – has lots of helpful stuff for those wishing to step up to the Onix plate) here in Toronto. Was interesting that for publishers there seems to be much more impetus to become Onix compared to the UK. In particular, quite a lot of publishers receive of degree of government/arts council support and it seems continuing support is dependent on Onix compliance. In addition, the largest bibliographic data receiver here is Indigo and it seems they are going to penalise those who don’t or can’t comply.

So, to try and help out we have added to the Anko Title Manager (http://anko.ie for free download) a built in importer for the BookNet Canada/Indigo standard spreadsheet. As well as validation for their Onix requirements – all for $240.

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The year in Onix

Below is the missive sent out to the Onix group at the turn of the year from the Onix committee:

‘The purpose of this email is to outline some development plans for ONIX in 2006, which were agreed by the ONIX Books International Steering Committee at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

As you know, Issue 5 of the ONIX Books Code Lists was published at the end of November. We expect that Issue 6 will follow in about six months time.

We are currently working on a very limited Revision 03 to ONIX Release 2.1, which should be published around the end of this month. It will add a few new capabilities to Groups PR.24 and PR.26 that have been requested to meet needs that are specific to the Australian and Spanish ONIX implementations. We expect that users elsewhere will ignore this revision, whose sole purpose is to allow these implementations to proceed without having to wait for a new release.

Work is also starting on Release 3.0, which will be a major release. It is tentatively scheduled for publication in September 2006, but this timetable may well be extended. The two aims in Release 3.0 are (a) to eliminate “deprecated” data elements, so that eventually the receivers of ONIX feeds will no longer need to support multiple options, and (b) to improve ONIX functionality in a number of specific areas that have been identified as less than satisfactory in the light of user experience.

Those of you who participate in the ONIX groups that now exist in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK and the US will already be aware of these plans. If you are in one of those countries, but are not in touch with the relevant national group, we encourage you to establish contact. Every
stage of the work on Release 3.0 will be based on detailed consultation with national groups, under the policy direction of the International Steering Committee.

While the national groups must be the channel through which requirements for Release 3.0 are defined and a consensus is built, we will try from time to time to report progress to the listserv at large.

So, in summary, ONIX Release 2.1 will remain unchanged for most users through 2006, with the exception of code list updates; but towards the end of the year, we plan to publish Release 3.0, and we expect that national groups will encourage users to implement the new release in

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Onix updates no problem!

Been reviewing the current and proposed changes to the Onix standard and the issues these may raise for our principal book publishing management software (Anko Publishing Manager) and really pleased that we can handle all the updates simply by supplying some updated text files to be placed in the application folder.

And we have update functions for the updated codelists and any knock on effect this may have for the BIC and BiSAC categories.

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A long day …

Due to shambles of flight organisation ending up with possibly most circuitous route to get from Boston to Toronto – so nightmare day ahead.

And this is view from my hotel room – doesn’t bode well for day at mercy of airlines.

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I don’t mean to be rude …

But look at our stuff from some previous posts below and look at the ‘best’ the competition in Newbury Port can offer. I mean really! You’d think for all that money it would at least look good ….

Vista Screenshot

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