BIC Launches BIC Realtime for Libraries

 London, UK, 20th September 2019 

BIC Launches BIC Realtime for Libraries – a set of web messages enabling library businesses to exchange instant, on demand information. 

Book Industry Communication (BIC) Ltd, the book industry’s independent supply chain organisation, announced today that it has launched a new set of industry standard APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) through its BIC Realtime for Libraries initiative. 

Using these new XML web communications, library businesses will now be able to communicate with trading partners quicker and more effectively, and get real-time, immediate replies to requests rather than having to depend on processing of data transactions in batches. This is essential to meet the expectations of the next generation who have grown up with modern On Demand services, who expect and require instant access to eBooks and other digital resources, and immediate updates on the progress of orders for physical books and services. 

This new set of XML standards has been developed to enhance existing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)* capabilities within the library community, through the use of additional messages alongside traditional electronic data exchange. It has been created for libraries, library suppliers and data providers in order to enable immediate data exchange and facilitate instant two-way communications relating to product metadata, price and availability, quotes and ordering. 

The 8 APIs now available via BIC Realtime for Libraries are quick to develop, install and test. Additionally, libraries and library-focused businesses can deploy BIC Realtime for Libraries solutions much more cost-effectively than traditional EDI, and trading partners will be able to support and communicate via BIC Realtime for Libraries APIs swiftly and without weeks of testing. 

Karina Urquhart, Executive Director of BIC commented: “BIC has been establishing standards and promoting best practice in the book supply chain for over 25 years. We have long been advocates of EDI and other industry standards which help to improve and evolve workflows for the book industry, to ultimately deliver efficiencies and savings. BIC Realtime for Libraries is the latest initiative designed to advance our library supply chain. With the support of the 19 organisations that have already publicly endorsed this initiative (see below for details) I look forward to seeing the standard become firmly established and hope that libraries, library suppliers and data providers alike will embrace the idea and together make the industry stronger and more efficient. Strong adoption of these 8 API messages will lead to the development by BIC of further messages in the future”. 

The 19 organisations publicly endorsing BIC Realtime for Libraries are as follows: 


Gold Level policy endorsers commit to implementing the BIC Library Web Services within 18 months of publication. Gold Level Endorsers include: 

  • Askews & Holts Library Services 
  • Bertram Library Services 
  • Bibliographic Data Services (BDS) 
  • Bromley Libraries 
  • Civica 
  • Coventry University 
  • Dawson Books 
  • Hammersmith and Fulham Libraries 
  • Imperial College London 
  • Infor 
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Libraries 
  • University of Brighton Library 
  • The University of Liverpool Library 
  • University of Nottingham Libraries 
  • Westminster Libraries 


Silver Level policy endorsers commit to working with BIC to develop these standards-based APIs and bring them to market as soon as is practicable. Silver Level Endorsers include: 

  • Bibliotheca 
  • Nielsen Book 
  • SirsiDynix 
  • University of Oxford Libraries 

Organisations wishing to sign up to either the Gold or the Silver Level of Endorsement are encouraged to contact BIC via 

Want to find out more? 

More information on BIC Realtime for Libraries can be found here. Those wishing to receive a copy of the BIC Realtime for Libraries Implementation Guide should register here

*EDI is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners 


Notes to Editors: 
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