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
5 Interest age / Special interest qualifiers
Do not use “5” on individual books, as it is not a valid qualifier code; select appropriate qualifier code(s) from Section 5 below
5X Contains explicit material
Use for all material (often called ‘young adult’) for mid-teens and upwards featuring topics regarded as unsuitable for some readers, including sex, drug use, violence, swearing. Assign both a Y* and a non-Y* subject code to all such items, in addition to the 5X qualifier. May optionally also be used for any adult material of a sexually explicit nature (which would not have a Y* subject code)

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