What is ONIX?
ONIX is an acronym for ONline Information eXchange. ONIX is a standard format which publishers can use to distribute electronic information about their books to wholesalers, distributors, resellers, and bookstores. In short, for all those who are involved in book sales, ONIX allows the transmission of information about books between different organizations, even if their infrastructure and business needs are different. The support used in ONIX is an XML file which is a standard in information technology.
ONIX has been developed to fulfill two needs:
• To maintain a richer body of online information
• To provide a communication standard between different users and user groups.
With the advances of the Internet and the explosion of online book sales, the book industry has faced a difficult situation: How can we supply online resellers with the information required by buyers? At a bookstore, the buyer has in hand a book to browse, from its cover page to the author’s biography to the synopsis, and so on; all the promotional information needed by the buyer to make a decision to purchase. On the Internet, the physical book has been replaced by a web page with all the relevant information regarding the book, along with audio or video, extracts in PDF format, and even the whole book in electronic format. Research has shown that the more information consumers have about a book, the more they will be inclined to buy. ONIX gives publishers a way to transmit all this information, in a rigorously standardized fashion, to all their business partners.
Whether you publish five titles per year or five thousand, you need to maintain trustworthy, standardized information about your list, and to communicate it to your trading partners. The ONIX standard has been designed for this purpose. The international EDItEUR group coordinates the development of standards concerning electronic commerce for the book industry, and which has developed the ONIX norms. Immediately after its release, ONIX was quickly adopted as the preferred means of information by the important actors in the chain of book sales transmission, for example by Amazon, Bowker, Nielson, and Ingram, to name just a few.
Unfortunately, ONIX is a complex norm presented in the form of a large XML file, with rigorous and difficult-to-learn syntax and rules: