Supply Chain Accreditation

This accreditation scheme enables book industry organisations to demonstrate the efficiency of their supply chains for both physical and digital products.  It aims to reward companies large and small for their investment in automation and for innovative solutions to the supply chain issues they face; and to enable them to be recognised by trading partners and the book industry at large as the best in their class for business efficiency, customer service, environmental concern and innovation.

The scheme is open to any organisation active in the book trade - distributors (including publishers handling their own distribution), publishers who outsource their distribution to third parties, booksellers and wholesalers, and systems and service providers.

For distributors and booksellers, high priority is given to levels of e-commerce, typically including:

  • managing the supply and processing of price and availability information;
  • the ability to send orders electronically and receive and process them without manual intervention;
  • the sending and processing of a high volume of electronic invoices and credit notes;  
  • participation in the Industry Returns Initiative and other industry services.

For publishers - including those who outsource distribution to a third party - it requires:

  • the efficient management of product information, including the dissemination of new title data in electronic format, following the recommendations of the BIC Basic standard;
  • the efficient management of digital assets and their distribution;
  • evidence of efficient product and list management;
  • the use of a distributor already accredited under this scheme.

Companies in these categories should apply by completing the questionnaire below.

Systems suppliers and service providers wishing to apply for accreditation should submit a free-form application stating (in no more than 1000 words) why they believe they should be accredited and appending a list of the services or systems they provide. It will be necessary to demonstrate that the systems and services provided are of high quality and reliability and contribute directly to a more efficient supply chain. Particular note will be taken of adherence to BIC and other trade standards and interoperability with other systems and services. The apprpriate form can be found at the bottom of this webpage.

Accreditation is granted largely on the basis of self-assessment, supported by the evidence of trading partners and systems suppliers, and will be judged by an independent BIC review group. The group will be assessing applications as far as possible against quantitative criteria agreed by the review group, but qualitative considerations will also be taken into account.

Applicants may be interviewed about their applications and asked specific questions about any details which are unclear either before or immediately after the judging process. Unsuccessful applications will be held in strict confidence, though feedback and advice, if required, will be provided.

The successful applicants will be entitled to display the BIC Supply Chain Excellence logo in their business where it relates to supply chain e-commerce and to the systems or services for which the company was accredited.

Accreditation will be granted for the calendar year in which applications are reviewed and may be renewed annually provided that criteria applied each year continue to be met.

For those demonstrating exceptional commitment to e-commerce, there is the opportunity for Commended status. This is granted at the discretion of the review group on the basis of information provided by participants.  


Why should I apply?

The BIC Supply Chain Excellence logo will demonstrate:

  • To your trading partners that you are capable of doing business with them in an efficient industry-standard manner;
  • To potential publishing clients (if you are a distributor) that you have adopted industry standards for supply chain best practice and can provide a state of the art service in all areas of your business;
  • To customers (if you are a publisher) that you are committed to the quality of the product metadata you make available to them;
  • To your shareholders that you are making best use of electronic trading and keeping operational costs to a minimum;
  • To the wider trade and public that you are an organisation committed to minimizing waste and respect for the environment;
  • To existing and potential clients (if you are a systems of service provider) that you support industry standards and offer services consistent with the highest standards of book trade efficiency;
  • To your competitors that you are a force to be reckoned with.


BIC’s Refreshed Supply Chain Excellence Accreditation (SCEA) Scheme 2018 

The UK book industry’s supply chain doesn’t stand still. In recognition of this, the current SCEA scheme is being refreshed to ensure it remains relevant, reflects the latest developments, BIC’s priorities and structures and is fit for purpose. BIC will be piloting the new SCEA scheme in December 2018 with organisations that have been actively involved in its refresh. This project group includes publishers, booksellers, distributors, library suppliers and service providers.

Following a successful pilot, BIC will be accepting applications under the new scheme on a quarterly cycle starting in May 2019. The application deadlines for 2019/2020 are:

  • Wednesday 1st May 2019 
  • Thursday 1st August 2019
  • Friday 1st November 2019
  • Monday 3rd February 2020


The current accreditation scheme only receives applications/renewals on an annual basis and so to manage the transition to a new quarterly cycle, BIC will email currently accredited organisations directly to apply in 2019/2020 as follows: 

DISTRIBUTORS: Currently accredited Distributors will be invited to apply to the new scheme by Wednesday 1st May 2019.

PUBLISHERS: Currently accredited Publishers will be invited to apply to the new scheme by Thursday 1st August 2019.

SERVICE PROVIDERS: Currently accredited Service Providers will be invited to apply to the new scheme by Friday 1st November 2019.

BOOKSELLERS & LIBRARY SUPPLIERS: Currently accredited Booksellers and Library Suppliers will be invited to apply to the new scheme by Monday 3rd February 2020.

Should any organisation wish to defer their application to the following quarter (regardless of organisation type) this will be permitted once and will only be possible during this transition period. 

Currently accredited organisations will remain accredited under the current scheme until their application to the new scheme is accepted. If organisations want to update their marketing information and require a new logo for 2018 please contact

Currently unaccredited organisations wanting to apply to the new scheme should contact BIC directly at New applications to the current scheme are not being accepted. 


List of currently accredited organisations