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I'm preparing my book for print-on-demand distribution with CreateSpace. As part of the process, I'm being asked to select a BISAC Category for my book.

My book is a non-fiction book which covers a few different topics, so there's no single obvious choice.

How important is it that I select the correct BISAC Category? How does it influence where and how my book might be seen?

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How does it influence where and how my book might be seen?

It is the first step to get visible to the readers at all. It is the 'genre' of your book.

Just look how you yourself by books. In a store the books are 'categorized' by aisles. If you want a book about Microsoft Word you go to the aisle with the sign "Computer". If there is one with the more specific category "Software" you would choose that one. Never ever would it come to your mind to look in the "Gardening" corner.

The same is true in an online shop (like Amazon). The categories/genres are the entry points to search new books (if you do not have an author or a title already in mind). Even if you do not click through the categories, you can define them in your search phrase.

So this meta information is one of the corner stones for the visibility of your book. It's the way books are categorized, it's the way people search for new books.

  • Thank you for responding. I haven't searched for a book by category since ten years ago when I was last physically standing in a bookstore. In any case, what I'm asking is, where these BISAC categories are used, because, for example, Amazon asks for its own separate categories. – Questioner Oct 25 '14 at 2:49
  • Looks like it's been around for a fair amount of time and though not always facing customers, is used for indexing internally (or sometimes even basic acceptance) according to this non-investigated reference – Sylas Seabrook Oct 26 '14 at 5:03
  • When I submit my ebooks retailers and distribution channels, some of them (I forget which) ask for BISAC categories. Those become a navigation hierarchy on the retailer's web site. As a reader I hardly ever use those category hierarchies (BISAC or otherwise), but now and then I want to look at e.g. bestselling political thrillers. – Dale Hartley Emery Nov 24 '14 at 0:32

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