EDI Implementation for the Book Trade

Electronic Data Interchange has underpinned efficient supply chain practices in the book industry for many years. Standards evolve and the BIC approved documents linked to below reflect current best practice with invaluable contributions provided by the BIC membership and other industry professionals and organisations.

The specifications and guidelines enshrine the consensus decisions reached on implementation issues at BIC’s regular Technical Implementation Clinics. They provide overall guidance on the use of BIC approved TRADACOMS and EDIFACT messages, as well as details on each individual message.

Given the global nature of the book supply chain, there are implementation guidelines, code lists and transmission structures provided for both the UK TRADACOMS standard maintained by BIC; as well as the international EDIFACT and EDItX XML standards maintained by EDItEUR.

It is important that organisations new to book industry EDI standards talk to BIC members about issues affecting their EDI implementations. If further clarification is needed, please contact the BIC Technical Implementation Clinic via info@bic.org.uk. The clinics are online, drop-in sessions. However, attendance is strictly for BIC member organisations only. More information about the BIC Technical Implementation Clinic is available here.

BIC has a schedule for reviewing its standards and best practice documents and will highlight on the website any documents that are subject to update by a BIC Review Group.

One such set of documents subject to current work is the Industry Returns Initiative. The IRI section captures requirements for this important project to reduce waste in the supply chain.

The latest and most significant update to the TRADACOMS documentation in October 2021 relates to Code List 54 – Price & Availability and Order Acknowledgement Codes.

There are millions of price and availability updates to books in the UK every year, yet key supply chain organisations all cite price and availability (P&A) as a common cause of confusion. Indeed, poor P&A can have a detrimental impact on order management if industry book buyers can’t rely on clear and unequivocal information. The purpose of the revised Code List 54 is to reflect current industry needs and best practice with a reduced set of unambiguous and actionable codes. Several codes have also been deprecated and should be removed from use immediately.

This latest iteration of Code List 54 is available as a separate document below whilst the full set of TRADACOMS code lists is overhauled.   

Code List 54 - Version 11 (Updated October 2021)

On this page:

BIC Tradacoms Trade Implementation Guidelines

BIC EDIFACT Implementation Guidelines

Industry Returns Initiative specifications

Managing FTP file transfers

EDItX XML transaction specifications

HMRC Commodity Codes


BIC Tradacoms Trade Implementation Guidelines

Fully revised and updated June 2007

The Order File (updated January 2013)

The Acknowledgment of Order File (updated August 2008)

The Delivery Notification File (updated August 2010)

The Invoice File (updated August 2019)

The Credit Note File (updated November 2009)

The Statement/Remittance Details File

The Book Trade Price and Availability Updates File (updated August 2010)

Please note that the complete set of Code Lists is under continual review by BIC. Code List 54 (Price & Availability and Order Acknowledgement Codes) has been updated to Version 11 and is available as a separate document below.

Code Lists Version 10 (revised December 2017)

An electronic (text file) code list for TRADACOMS can be obtained, here.

Code List 54 - Version 11 (Updated October 2021)

Tradacoms transmission structure (Fully updated and revised July 2012)

BIC EDIFACT Implementation Guidelines

Implementation guidelines for EDIFACT messages for the book trade are maintained by EDItEUR and can be found here.

A document containing the changes made to the EDIFACT standard since Issue 1.1 can be found here.

An electronic (text file) code list for EDIFACT can be obtained, here.

The first two documents below relate to specific UK usage and provide guidelines on the UK requirements of HM Revenue and Customs. 

EDIFACT Implementation Guidelines - UK Code List, Issue 1, Version 1.3
(July 2014) 

Using the EDItEUR invoice message for UK book trade invoices 
(updated July 2012)

Using the Edifact Taxcon Message for UK book trade invoices and credit notes

Note: At the time this documentation was prepared, use of the Taxcon message was required by HM Revenue and Customs. Effective 1 January 2004, this is no longer a requirement

Changes to trade book supply guidelines since Issue 1.1
April 2010

Industry Returns Initiative (IRI)

In 2018, the BIC IRI Review Task & Finish Working Group (T&FWG) led an extensive review of the IRI Rule Book and associated documents to ensure that they are fit for purpose. This T&FWG was disbanded in June 2018, following the completion of the project, and its output can be found here

BIC EDI Implementation Guidelines for Book Trade Returns, Version 1.4

Issue 1.4 of the BIC EDI Implementation Guidelines for Book Trade Returns covers the use of EDI messaging to handle requests for returns authorisation sent by booksellers to publishers or wholesalers, and responses to such requests.

R1 Overview

R2 Structure of an EDIFACT transmission

R3 Using the RETANN message for returns requests
(revised June 2018)

R4 Using the RETINS message for returns authorisation
(revised August 2018)

R5 Using the RETINS message for returns adjustments
(revised June 2018)

R6 Returns Code Lists
(revised June 2013)

IRI Text file design specification
Version 12, September 2005, revised November 2010

Barcode labelling program for Returns
For PC and Mac with operating manual

Managing FTP file transfers

EDItEUR filenaming conventions for use in FTP file transfers
Version 4, May 2008

EDItX XML transaction specifications

XML versions of all the major transactions in trade applications have been developed. For more details click here