Codelists 36 (PDF) appeared in January. It’s a milestone, the last issue compatible with ONIX 2.1. Henceforth codelists issues will contain only the lists for use with ONIX 3.0. It’s taken a long time to try to wean folks off version 2.1. Now they’ll have little choice.
I continue to marvel at what a robust specification ONIX has become. There are few circumstances of type of publication or conditions of sales that ONIX overlooks. And where it does overlook an instance, the committee soon specifies a fix.
An example from codelists 36 is List 21, the “Edition type code.” This is usually used to for example designate abridged editions and large print editions (type sizes 14 to 19pt). Added in this release is “International edition,” “a product aimed specifically at markets other than the country of original publication.” When I consulted to textbook publisher Thomson Learning these were sometimes created for third-world markets where the U.S. retail price was through the roof. The international edition was often printed on cheaper stock to reduce manufacturing costs. Most importantly the pagination was different than in the U.S. version so that the cheapo edition couldn’t easily be substituted in the home market.
Also in codelists 36 is a change to List 71, the “Sales restriction” code. This is used to specify, for example, library or school editions. It can also specify an edition for a specific retailer (imagine a Costco edition). Now you can specify “Exclusive to bricks-and-mortar retail outlets” or “Exclusive to online retail outlets.” The use case isn’t described, but it’s intriguing to imagine what publishers could do if they start to think of creating separate editions for face-to-face physical selling vs. the intangibility of online sales.
Two changes to list 196, covering e-publication accessibility details, make this important category more specific and hence robust.