EDI Implementation for the Book Trade

These specifications and guidelines enshrine the consensus decisions reached on implementation issues at BIC's regular Technical Implementation Clinics. They provide overall guidance on the use of the BIC-approved TRADACOMS and EDIFACT messages in the book trade and attempt to define a code of good practice to be adopted by buyers and suppliers implementing EDI in this sector. The guidelines also provide a detailed specification of each individual message.

It is very important for organisations which are new to implementing EDI in the book trade, to talk to other BIC members and discuss any issues affecting their EDI implementation. If any further clarification is needed, please contact the BIC Technical Implementation Clinic: info@bic.org.uk. NB: This Clinic is comprised of a series of drop-in sessions which are held on a quarterly basis in London - it is possible to attend each session in person or via conference calling facilities however attendance is strictly for BIC member organisations only. Find out more about the BIC Technical Implementation Clinic here.


On this page:

BIC Tradacoms Trade Implementation Guidelines

BIC EDIFACT Implementation Guidelines

Industry Returns Initiative specifications

Managing FTP file transfers

EDItX XML transaction specifications

HMRC Commodity Codes


BIC Tradacoms Trade Implementation Guidelines

Fully revised and updated June 2007

The Order File (updated January 2013)

The Acknowledgment of Order File (updated August 2008)

The Delivery Notification File (updated August 2010)

The Invoice File (updated August 2019)

The Credit Note File (updated November 2009)

The Statement/Remittance Details File

The Book Trade Price and Availability Updates File (updated August 2010)

Code Lists Version 10 (revised December 2017)

An electronic (text file) code list for TRADACOMS can be obtained, here.

Tradacoms transmission structure (Fully updated and revised July 2012)

BIC EDIFACT Implementation Guidelines

Implementation guidelines for EDIFACT messages for the book trade are maintained by EDItEUR and can be found here.

A document containing the changes made to the EDIFACT standard since Issue 1.1 can be found here.

An electronic (text file) code list for EDIFACT can be obtained, here.

The first two documents below relate to specific UK usage and provide guidelines on the UK requirements of HM Revenue and Customs. 

EDIFACT Implementation Guidelines - UK Code List, Issue 1, Version 1.3
(July 2014) 

Using the EDItEUR invoice message for UK book trade invoices 
(updated July 2012)

Using the Edifact Taxcon Message for UK book trade invoices and credit notes

Note: At the time this documentation was prepared, use of the Taxcon message was required by HM Revenue and Customs. Effective 1 January 2004, this is no longer a requirement

Changes to trade book supply guidelines since Issue 1.1
April 2010

Industry Returns Initiative (IRI)

In 2018, the BIC IRI Review Task & Finish Working Group (T&FWG) led an extensive review of the IRI Rule Book and associated documents to ensure that they are fit for purpose. This T&FWG was disbanded in June 2018, following the completion of the project, and its output can be found here

BIC EDI Implementation Guidelines for Book Trade Returns, Version 1.4

Issue 1.4 of the BIC EDI Implementation Guidelines for Book Trade Returns covers the use of EDI messaging to handle requests for returns authorisation sent by booksellers to publishers or wholesalers, and responses to such requests.

R1 Overview

R2 Structure of an EDIFACT transmission

R3 Using the RETANN message for returns requests
(revised June 2018)

R4 Using the RETINS message for returns authorisation
(revised August 2018)

R5 Using the RETINS message for returns adjustments
(revised June 2018)

R6 Returns Code Lists
(revised June 2013)

IRI Text file design specification
Version 12, September 2005, revised November 2010

Barcode labelling program for Returns
For PC and Mac with operating manual

Managing FTP file transfers

EDItEUR filenaming conventions for use in FTP file transfers
Version 4, May 2008

EDItX XML transaction specifications

XML versions of all the major transactions in trade applications have been developed. For more details click here