Using BookNet Canada Products

Q: Should I submit my book to BiblioShare

If you're interested in having your book listed on sites like 49th Shelf and BNC CataList (see below for more information on how books get listed on CataList), both of which use bibliographic data supplied by BiblioShare, then it is in your best interest to have data on your book fed into our system. BiblioShare is a unique service in the Canadian publishing industry that provides data to a number of clients like 49th Shelf. We take the same metadata publishers supply directly to retailers and make it available to other businesses in Canada.

How does it work? BiblioShare collects and disseminates bibliographic data using ONIX, which is the international standard for representing and communicating book industry product information in electronic form. Publishers are generally responsible for creating and distributing ONIX metadata feeds for all their books. 

  1. If you or your publisher are interested in learning more about submitting data to BiblioShare this is a good place to start and we outline things just for small operations and self-published authors here
  2. Ready to create your own ONIX? Check out our handy BNC Webform Tool.
  3. If you use Webform to create your ONIX files, you can export them directly from the tool into BiblioShare. If you choose to use other software, start the process of submitting them to BiblioShare by signing up here.

Q: Can I sign up for SalesData and see the sales for my books?

SalesData's retailer panel is made up of large and small retailers across the country who report their transaction-level print book sales on a weekly basis. Access to BNC SalesData is limited to publishers, retailers, agents, and libraries. At this point in time, we are unable to provide direct access to authors or self-published authors; given the costs and requirements involved in subscribing, a publisher should have at least a few titles being released on a regular basis and selling in the Canadian print trade market before signing for SalesData. If you have an agent or publisher, check with them to see if they are subscribers, though you should keep in mind that they will not be able to provide you with sales information for titles other than your own.

BookNet does have research and other such information that's available for authors, the media, and the public in general:

  • Sign up for BNC eNews, our weekly e-newsletter.
  • The BNC Blog regularly has postings about sales trends and research (including a full history of blog posts).
  • Subscribe to The BookNet Canada Podcast for monthly insights, discussions, and more from the world of Canadian book publishing.
  • We also produce research reports, both free and paid, on sales trends and consumer buying habits.

Q: How do I make sure my book is listed on CataList?

CataList digital catalogues are an affordable B2B solution for publishers, retailers, wholesalers, librarians, and media. Anyone can browse the site for free, but users can only add titles and publish catalogues with a paid publisher account. Other users, like librarians, the media, and retailers, are able to produce their own custom catalogues, create and export orders, and more for free. Though there is no author account type at this time, you can sign up for a publisher account to list your books if you wish. (We recommend reading up on how that works first; having an ONIX feed and sending it to BiblioShare is a good first step — see above for more information on that.) If you have a publisher or distributor, you can check with them to see if they are using the CataList system to ensure your book is being listed. If you are concerned about selling your book to Indigo, it is our understanding that participation in CataList for self-publishers is recommended but not required.


Regarding Bestseller Lists

Q. How do books get on media bestseller lists?

Good question. Bestseller status isn’t based on cumulative or lifetime sales, and there is no set amount a book has to sell to make it a bestseller. It’s more of a competition or race: whoever sells the most copies in a particular time period (usually a week), wins.

BNC SalesData is the service that provides bestseller data for national and regional bestseller lists in Canada, including those published by The Globe & MailToronto Star, and the Retail Council of Canada. Therefore, in order to have your sales counts towards bestseller list rankings, the sales have to be reported by a retailer that contributes data to SalesData. We also require bibliographic data on your book, and SalesData gets all that metadata from Bowker. Learn more about how all that information works in SalesData and where it comes from in this handy guide.

For even more information about bestsellers, read our blog post, What makes a book a bestseller?

Q: I think my book should have been on a bestseller list but it wasn't mentioned. What should I do?

If you think your book should have made it onto a bestseller list, contact your publisher; they can contact the paper in question. If you are self-published, you can contact the paper in question directly. You might also want to check your book's metadata to ensure the record is complete and things like the ISBN, BISAC subject, and the Canadian author marker are being used properly. 

Q: I've sold some copies of my book at an event/fair/launch, and I want to make sure those sales get counted towards bestseller lists. How do I do that?

The best way to ensure your sales count towards bestseller lists is to have a retailer that reports to SalesData manage the sales at your event. You should give yourself at least a month or two of lead time to make sure that this is the case with your retailer, or to get in touch with us if you have any questions. We cannot process sales retroactively.

Otherwise, book sales at an event are considered direct sales. BookNet Canada offers publishers who subscribe to BNC SalesData the option to submit direct sales for reporting in BNC SalesData. However, publisher-reported direct sales will only count towards bestseller lists under the following conditions.

  • The sale(s) must be direct-to-consumer sale(s). The sale(s) must be done by the submitting publisher and not an intermediary.
  • Sales must be reported at a transactional level.
  • Sales must be reported either automatically via a POS, e-commerce platform, or via one of our standard reporting formats.

If you're a publisher who subscribes to BNC SalesData, you can contact salesdata@booknetcanada.ca to learn more about submitting direct sales.


Other BookNet Services

Q: Can BookNet Canada help me publish my book?

Short answer: No. 

BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that develops technology, standards, and education to serve the Canadian book industry. We support publishing companies, booksellers, wholesalers, distributors, sales agents, industry associations, literary agents, media, and libraries across the country. Our services and research help companies promote and sell books, streamline workflows, and analyze and adapt to a rapidly changing market. Learn more about what BookNet Canada does.

Q: Does BookNet Canada offer any services to help authors?

While we don't directly help authors publish or sell books, we do promote standards and provide tools that can aid in the discovery of your books. See above to learn more about submitting metadata for your book(s) to BNC BiblioShare (and using our handy BNC Webform Tool), and how books get listed on BNC CataList. 

We also provide lots of resources and information about the industry that may be helpful with informing your book promotion strategies:

  • Sign up for BNC eNews, our weekly e-newsletter.
  • The BNC Blog regularly has postings about sales trends and research (including a full history of blog posts).
  • Subscribe to The BookNet Canada Podcast for monthly insights, discussions, and more from the world of Canadian book publishing.
  • We also produce research reports, both free and paid, on sales trends and consumer buying habits.

If you have further questions, you can get in touch at info@booknetcanada.ca.