Help Desk: Publisher & Author Guidelines

Barnes & Noble ONIX Guidelines
Because different publishers store their data in different ways, Barnes & Noble has coded its system to accept all versions of ONIX and all tag variations. However, although all tag variations are accepted, certain tags are preferred. Below is a listing of these tags.
All items listed as "required" relate to data issues and are not specific to ONIX; they will be enforced regardless of the file format. Please note that a requirement is exactly that -- while we understand that occasional mistakes are unavoidable, a preponderance of these issues will result in the file being returned to the data provider with a request for corrections.
Please remember when creating your ONIX files that ONIX has had several releases, and you must state in the message header of the file which release has been used. Later releases of ONIX are preferred to earlier releases. Likewise, while short tags and reference tags are both accepted, short tags are preferred.
New ONIX providers: Please see File Transmission Procedures following the Preferences.
Barnes & Noble ONIX Tag Preferences
  • The <title> composite is not preferred.
  • Please make an effort to strip edition information out of the title and place it in the proper tag.
  • Titles must be in title case (no all-caps).
  • The full title is required -- no truncations or abbreviations.
  • No HTML in titles. Title searches will be adversely affected by the presence of HTML.
  • <b039> and <b040> are preferred. If this option is not available, <b037> is preferred over <b036>.
  • The contributor prefix (such as "Dr.") should appear in <b038>; the contributor suffix (such as "Ph.D") should appear in <b248>.
  • A separate instance of the contributor composite should be used for each contributor (for example, <b039>Mary-Kate and Ashley</b039><b040>Olsen</b040> is not correct).
  • <b059> is preferred over the <language> composite.
  • Barnes & Noble accepts BISAC subject codes only (<b067> code 10); do not send keywords or proprietary subject codes.
  • Audience code is important for properly identifying children's books on the Barnes & Noble web site.
  • <b058> is preferred over <b056> for customer readability.
Content Items:
  • <d101> and <d102> codes 01, 17, 18, and 31 are considered by Barnes & Noble to be the same content item.
  • <d100> and <d102> code 02 are considered by Barnes & Noble to be the same content item.
  • CDATA declarations and standard HTML (<I> instead of &lt;I>) are preferred.
  • HTML (bold, italics, line breaks) is required in all content items wherever necessary; it is particularly important for paragraph breaks.

Barnes & Noble ONIX File Transmission Procedures
All ONIX files submitted to Barnes & Noble for the first time undergo a testing phase before they are accepted into production. Once files have been accepted into production, further testing will not be needed unless serious data issues come to light. Please note, however, that even in production no files are automatically loaded into the Barnes & Noble database; each file is reviewed before being loaded, and this can cause occasional delays in file processing.
  • Send a small sample file (approximately 50 ISBNs); do not send a full file. The sample file will be analyzed, and as soon as possible a communication will be returned to the provider with either requests for specific corrections or an approval for moving the file into production.
  • Once files have been moved into production, data transmissions should begin with a full file, followed by deltas (updated records only) on a mutually agreed-upon schedule. Full files will be requested once or twice a year, depending on publishing schedule.

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