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
F Fiction and related items
Do not use “F” on individual books; select appropriate detailed code(s) from Section F; For fiction anthologies, use DQ “Anthologies” with appropriate F* code to indicate genre where appropriate
FA Modern and contemporary fiction (post c. 1945)
Note: use for non-genre fiction first published c. 1945 onwards
FC Classic fiction (pre c. 1945)
Note: use for all non-genre fiction first published before c. 1945; see also “classic” headings for genre fiction below
FF Crime and mystery
FH Thriller / suspense
FJ Adventure
FK Horror and ghost stories
FL Science fiction
FM Fantasy
FP Erotic fiction
FQ Myth and legend told as fiction
See also: JFHF “Folklore, myths and legends”
FR Romance
FT Sagas
Note: includes family sagas. For eg Norse sagas, see FQ “Myth and legend told as fiction”; HRKP “Ancient religions and mythologies”; JFHF “Folklore, myths and legends”
FV Historical fiction
Note: use for contemporary novels set in the past, ie set c. pre-1900, regardless of genre, except prefer FFH for mysteries set in the past; similarly, prefer FJH for adventures and FRH for romances set in the past
FW Religious and spiritual fiction
Note: use for fiction designed to promote a particular religious or spiritual message; use with appropriate HR* or VX* code
FX Graphic novels
See also: FZG “Graphic novels: history and criticism” for general background and companion works
FY Fiction: special features
FZ Fiction-related items

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