This project has a mandate to define, document and promote best practice for the import and export of physical books and related products to and from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The guidelines will reflect the needs of stakeholders including manufacturers, printers, publishers, distributors, wholesalers, freight forwarders, retailers, standards organisations, data aggregators and other third parties.

The recommendations will address issues captured at BIC’s successful Business Across Borders Workshop held in September 2022. These were detailed in the Business Across Borders Workshop Report, published in November 2022.

The Workshop highlighted the need for greater supply chain resilience by addressing the challenges that UK and Ireland businesses face when importing and exporting books globally. BREXIT has complicated doing business with former EU partners. Ireland remains in the EU and there is no physical border on the island of Ireland. However, it isn’t as simple as replicating pre-BREXIT processes in a post BREXIT world. For those unfamiliar with doing business beyond the confines of Europe, they have no experience of non – EU trading protocols which are now the norm for the single market too. Key challenges to address include the transactional role that metadata plays, supply chain roles and responsibilities, requirements by market, legally required documentation, the provision of worked examples and a glossary of terms.

Project Group and Lead

The project group is made up of BIC member volunteers from across the industry and is led by Stephen Long, an independent consultant with over 30 years book industry experience. The project will run from September 2023 until June 2024 and meet regularly online. Completion of the project will be followed by a period of adoption and review.

Project Brief

More information can be found in the Project Brief.

Project monthly report

View the monthly project report.

Project Outputs

  • Supply Chain Maps. Each map focuses on a specific aspect of the import and export supply chain:
    – ‘Metadata’ highlights how product information flows between the different organisation types, from product idea through to the end recipient.
    – ‘Book and Related Product’ captures key interactions between publisher and packager right through to printer, manufacturer and distributor.
    – ‘Business to Business and Direct to Consumer’ takes a closer look at the journey the book or related product takes once it leaves the warehouse for export.
  • Glossary. This a practical guide to key terms, abbreviations and acronyms in the book industry import and export supply chain. Not all terms have the same meanings in international trade more generally.
  • Metadata. Product information isn’t just about discoverability and sales. This document captures those data elements, such as HS codes, sales rights and market availability information that are critical to creating viable product records for the international market.

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