Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Here is a delightful missive from Nielsen Bookdata, who maintain the most widely used bibliographic database in the UK. A book has no real existence until it is registered with NBD, and there is a fiendish system of categories and sub-categories into which each book must be placed. NBD is here reporting on an updated version of these categories, recently released.

Howard Willows, Senior Manager Data Development of Nielsen Bookdata, the editor of the scheme notes: “Overall, perhaps the most significant additions are categories for Fantasy Romance, in both adult and teenage sections. The term 'Young Adult' has been replaced by 'Teenager' throughout, as research showed that 'Young Adult' carried connotations of explicit material that was not always justified or intended. The Computing section has been overhauled and updated, and finally recognises the concept of Social Networking.

Other signs of the times include new categories for Budget Cookery, Outsourcing and Energy Efficiency. We already had a heading for Financial Crises & Disasters.

Examples of modifications of headings include changing Global Warming to Climate Change and extending Olympic Games to include Paralympic Games.

The other additions and changes taken individually are perhaps not particularly eye catching (though mathematicians will be thrilled to see that Bayesian Inference now has its own category)."

This brought to mind other categories that may be necessary to reflect modern social and writing trends. We surely ought to have:

Autobiographies of sportspeople who have not reached 25 and have therefore had no real lives to of which to speak

Pointless, saccharine, animal-based books which only sell to desperate shoppers on Christmas Eve

Over-priced extracts, repackaged under a spurious theme, (often a contrived anniversary) which are already available from the same publisher much more cheaply.

Your suggestions welcome.


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