BIC Subject Categories and Qualifiers

This is BIC’s Subject Categories and Qualifiers Scheme, version 2.1 released November 2010, the standard classification scheme for the UK book trade and some other English language markets, available from

Note that BIC has announced that there will be no further development of the BIC scheme, and that Thema is its preferred subject scheme for current and future use. Browse the latest version of the Thema international, multilingual subject category scheme here.

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Code Description
Y Children’s, teenage and educational
Do not use “Y” on individual books. Select appropriate code(s) from Section Y below
YF Children’s and teenage fiction and true stories
Use YF* codes for all fiction and true stories that read like fiction. With YF* codes, ALWAYS also assign appropriate 5A* Reading Age/Level Qualifier. For fiction anthologies, use YDC “Anthologies (Children’s/Teenage) with appropriate YF* code. For fiction dealing with specific social or personal issues, use YF* code with appropriate code from YX “Personal and social issues” and following. For school editions of fiction texts (ie typically with introduction, critical notes, etc), use YQEF “School editions of fiction texts” with appropriate YF* code
YFA Classic fiction (Children’s/Teenage)
Note: use for novels published before c. 1945 or as indicated by publisher
YFB General fiction (Children’s/Teenage)
Class here: all contemporary non-genre fiction for children and teenagers
YFC Adventure stories (Children’s/Teenage)
YFD Horror and ghost stories, chillers (Children’s/Teenage)
YFG Science fiction (Children’s/Teenage)
YFH Fantasy and magical realism (Children’s/Teenage)
Class here: Harry Potter, etc
YFJ Traditional stories (Children’s/Teenage)
Class here: fairy tales, folk tales, myths and legends told as fiction
YFM Romance and relationships stories (Children’s/Teenage)
YFN Family and home stories (Children’s/Teenage)
See also: YXF “Personal and social issues: family issues” and following for fiction specifically designed to address family issues
YFP Animal stories (Children’s/Teenage)
YFQ Humorous stories (Children’s/Teenage)
Note: Prefer ‘genre’ if possible, eg class humorous science fiction under YFG
YFR Sporting stories (Children’s/Teenage)
YFS School stories (Children’s/Teenage)
YFT Historical fiction (Children’s/Teenage)
Note: use for contemporary novels set in the past, ie set c. pre-1945
YFU Short stories (Children’s/Teenage)
YFW Comic strip fiction / graphic novels (Children’s/Teenage)
Class here: Tintin, Asterix etc. Add YBCH “Picture books: character books” where appropriate. Add 5X “Contains explicit material” or consider FX* codes for explicit or violent material
YFY True stories (Children’s/Teenage)

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