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Revised Recommendation concerning the International Standardization of Statistics on the Production and Distribution of Books, Newspapers and Periodicals

1 November 1985


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The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, meeting in Sofia from 8 October to 9 November 1985 at its twenty-third session,

Considering that, by virtue of Article IV, paragraph 4, of the Constitution, it is for the Organization to draw up and adopt instruments for the international regulation of questions falling within its competence,

Considering that Article VIII of the Constitution provides inter alia that ‘each Member State shall submit to the Organization, at such times and in such manner as shall be determined by the General Conference, reports on the laws, regulations and statistics relating to its educational, scientific and cultural
institutions and activities’,

Bearing in mind the work being undertaken jointly by Unesco and other United Nations bodies in developing a Framework for Cultural Statistics (FCS),

Convinced that it is desirable that the national authorities responsible for collecting and reporting statistics relating to the production and distribution of printed publications should be guided by certain standards in the matter of definitions, classification and presentation, in order to improve the international comparability of statistics,

Having adopted for this purpose at its thirteenth session the Recommendation concerning the international Standardization of Statistics relating to Book Production and Periodicals,

Aware that an updating of this Recommendation is required so as to make it more adapted to modern requirements and practices,

Having decided at its twenty-second session that the 1964 Recommendation should be revised,

Adopts, this first day of November 1985, the present revised Recommendation.


The General Conference recommends that Member States should apply the following provisions regarding definitions, classifications and presentation of statistics relating to books, newspapers and periodicals by taking whatever legislative measures or other steps may be required in conformity with the constitutional
practice of each State to give effect within their respective territories to the standards and principles formulated in the present Recommendation.

The General Conference recommends that Member States bring the present Recommendation to the
attention of the authorities and services responsible for collecting and reporting statistics on books, newspapers and periodicals.

The General Conference recommends that Member States forward to it, by the dates and in the form it shall prescribe, reports concerning action taken by them to give effect to the present revised Recommendation.

I. Scope and general definitions

Scope


1. The present Recommendation relates to statistics designed to provide standardized information in each Member State on various aspects of the production and distribution of printed publications, i.e. of books, newspapers and periodicals.

2. The statistics referred to in this Recommendation should cover printed periodic and non-periodic publications which are published in a particular country and made available to the public, and, in general, are publications which should be included in the national bibliographies of the various countries, with the exception of the following publications:

(a) Publications issued for advertizing purposes, provided that the literary or scientific text is subsidiary and that the publications are distributed free of charge:

(i) Trade catalogues, prospectuses and other types of commercial, industrial and tourist advertising.

(ii) Publications drawing attention to the products or services supplied by the publisher even though they may be describing activities or technical progress in some branch of industry or commerce.

(b) Publications belonging to the following categories, when they are considered to be of a transitory character:

(i) Timetables, price-lists, telephone directories, etc.

(ii) Programmes of entertainments, exhibitions, fairs, etc.

(iii) Regulations and reports of business firms, company directives, circulars, etc.

(iv) Calendars, etc.

(c) Publications belonging to the following categories and in which the text is not the most important part:

(i) Musical works (scores or music books), provided that the music is more important than the words.

(ii) Maps and charts, with the exception of atlases; for example, astronomical charts, hydrographic, geographical and wall maps, road maps, geological surveys in map form and topographical plans.

General definitions

3. A publication is considered to be non-periodic if it is published at one time, or, at intervals, by volumes, the number of which is generally determined in advance.

4. A publication is considered to be periodic if it constitutes one issue in a continuous series under the same title, published at regular or irregular intervals, over an indefinite period, individual issues in the series being numbered consecutively or each issue being dated. Individual volumes carrying different titles, even though considered to be in a series, should not be considered as periodic publications.

5. The term printed includes reproduction by any method of mechanical impression, whatever it may be.

6. A publication is considered to be published in a particular country if the publisher has his registered office in the country where the statistics are compiled, the place of printing or place of circulation here being irrelevant. When a publication is issued by one or more publishers who have registered offices in two or more countries, it is considered as having been published in the country or countries where it is issued.

7. A publication is considered as being made available to the public when it is obtainable either by purchase or by distribution free of charge. Publications intended for a restricted public, such as certain government publications, those of learned societies, political or professional organizations, etc., are also considered as being available to the public at large.

8. The following general definitions should be used for the purpose of drawing up statistics on printed publications:

(a) Title: a term used to describe a printed item (non-periodic or periodic) which forms a separate
whole, whether in one or several volumes;

(b) Circulation: the average number of copies of a printed publication sold or otherwise distributed;

(c) Print-run: the total number of copies of publication printed;

(d) Publishing: production and issue of printed periodic and non-periodic publications for public
consumption.

II. Statistics on Books

scope


9. The book statistics referred to in this Recommendation should cover non-periodic publications corresponding to the characteristics and general definitions given in paragraphs 1 to 8 above.

10. The following types of publication, inter alia, should be included in book statistics:

(a) Government publications, i.e., publications issued by public administrations or their subsidiary bodies, except for those which are confidential or designed for internal distribution only.

(b) School textbooks, books prescribed for pupils receiving education at the first and second level as defined in the revised Recommendation concerning the International Standardization of Educational Statistics adopted by the General Conference.

(c) University theses.

(d) Offprints, i.e., reprints of a part of a book or a periodical already published, provided that they have a title and a separate pagination and that they constitute a distinct work.

(e) Publications which form part of a series, but which constitute separate bibliographical units.

(f) Illustrated works:

(i) Collections of prints, reproductions of works of art, drawings, etc., when such collections form complete, paginated volumes and when the illustrations are accompanied by an explanatory text, however short, referring to these works or to the artists themselves.

(ii) Albums, illustrated books and pamphlets written in the form of continuous narratives, with pictures illustrating certain episodes.

(iii) Albums and picture-books for children.

(iv) Comic books.

Definitions

11. The following definitions are without prejudice to existing international agreements and should be used for the particular purpose of drawing up the book statistics referred to in this Recommendation.

(a) A book is a non-periodic publication of at least 49 pages exclusive of the cover pages, published in the country and made available to the public.

(b) A pamphlet is a non-periodic printed publication of at least five but not more than 48 pages, exclusive of the cover pages, published in a particular country and made available to the public.

(c) A first edition is the first publication of an original or translated manuscript.

(d) A re-edition is a publication distinguished from previous editions by changes made in the contents(revised edition) or layout (new edition) and which requires a new ISBN.

(e) A reprint is unchanged in contents and layout, apart from correction of typographical errors in previous editions and does not require a new ISBN. A reprint by any publisher other than the original publisher is regarded as a re-edition.

(f) A translation is a publication which reproduces a work in a language other than the original language.

(g) A title is a term used to designate a printed publication which forms a separate whole, whether issued in one or several volumes.

Methods of enumeration

12. The statistics to be reported on books should refer to the number of titles published as well as to the number and monetary value of copies printed and distributed.

13. With regard to the enumeration of book titles, the following principles should be followed:

(a) When a work is published in several volumes (not having separate titles) appearing over a period of several years, the work is counted each year as a single unit, whatever the number of volumes published in one year may be.

(b) However, the volume, rather than the title, should be taken as the statistical unit in the following cases:

(i) When two or more separate works are published under the same cover and form a single publication (complete works of an author, selected plays by various authors, etc.).

(ii) When a work appears in several volumes, each volume having a different title and forming a separate whole.

(c) Different language versions of the same title published in a particular country should be considered as individual titles.

(d) Reprints should not be counted in the number of titles, but only in the number of copies.

14. Statistics on copies should, depending on the type of information requested, be shown in the number of copies printed (print-run) and in the number of copies sold or otherwise distributed. The figures on copies should also indicate the value of book production and distribution.

Classification

15. Statistics on the production of book titles and copies should, in the first place, be classified according to 25 subject groups based upon the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC). The figures given in parentheses refer to the corresponding UDC headings: 1. Generalities (0); 2. Philosophy, psychology (1); 3. Religion, theology (2); 4. Sociology, statistics (30-31); 5. Political science, political economy(32-33); 6. Law, public administration, welfare, social relief, insurance (34,351-354,36); 7. Military art and science (355-359); 8. Education (37); 9. Trade, communications, transport (38); 10. Ethnography, manners and customs, folklore (39); 11. Linguistics, philology (4); 12. Mathematics (51); 13. Natural sciences (52-59); 14. Medical sciences, public health (61); 15. Technology, industries, trades and crafts(62, 66-69); 16. Agriculture, forestry, stockbreeding, hunting, fishing (63); 17. Domestic science (64);
18. Commercial and business management techniques, communications, transport (65); 19. Town planning, architecture (70-72); 20. Plastic arts, minor arts, photography (73-77); 21. Music, film, cinema, theatre, radio, television (78, 791-792); 22. Entertainment, pastimes, games, sports (790, 793-799); 23. Literature (8): (a) History of literature and literacy criticism, (b) Literary texts; 24. Geography, travel (91); 25. History, biography (92-99). School textbooks, children’s books, government publications and university theses, already identified in the above-mentioned 25 subject groups should also be counted separately in the four following additional groups: (a) school textbooks,(b) children’s books, (c) government publications and (d) university theses. Comic books are to be counted as a separate category and are not to be reclassified and counted again within the 25 subject groups.

Each of these groups should be subdivided as follows:

(a) According to the number of the publication’s pages into: books and pamphlets.

(b) According to language: for the total production of publications, by language of publication and, for translations only, by original language. Bilingual or multilingual works should form a separate group, namely: ‘works in two or more languages’.

(c) According to order of publication into: first editions, and re-editions.

16. With regard to the reporting of statistics on book sales and on the international trade of books, the following classification for the different types of books should be used:

Fiction
School textbooks
Children’s books
Government publications
Scientific books including university theses, which should be further subdivided into:
Generalities
Philosophy/Psychology
Religion/Theology
Social Sciences
Linguistics/Philology
Pure Sciences
Applied Sciences
Arts
Geography/History.

17. Selling points (retail outlets) should be classified as follows:

Bookshops
Department stores
News-stands/Bookstalls
Stationers
Book clubs
Mail order
Direct from publisher
Other.

Presentation of statistical data

18. Statistics on the types of data indicated below should be drawn up annually for data on book production and biennially for data on book distribution, and the information given should conform as far as possible to the definitions and classifications set forth in the preceding paragraphs. Any discrepancies that may appear between these definitions and classifications and those customarily used at the national level should be pointed out. The types of data to be compiled and reported are:

(a) Total number of titles, classified by subject (UDC) and a distinction being made, in each subject, firstly, between books and pamphlets, and, secondly, between first editions and re-editions.

(b) Total number of copies, classified by subject (UDC) for (i) books and (ii) pamphlets, a distinction being made between copies of first editions (and their reprints) and copies of re-editions (and their reprints).

(c) Total number of titles, classified both by subject (UDC) and by language of publication.

(d) Total number of copies, classified by subject (UDC) and by language of publication.

(e) Total number of titles, classified both by subject and by original language (statistics of translations).

(f) Total number of copies, classified both by subject and by original language (statistics of translations)

(g) Exports and imports of books, in terms of value (in national currency) and by trading countries.

(h) Retail sales of books by number and type of retail outlets as well as by volume and value of retail sales.

(i) Volume of retail sales by type of retail outlet (see classification in paragraph 17) and type of book (see classification in paragraph 16 above).

(j) Value of retail sales by type of retail outlet (see classification in paragraph 17) and type of book (see classification in paragraph 16 above).

III. Statistics on newspapers and periodicals

Scope


19. Statistics of the newspapers and periodicals referred to in this Recommendation should cover all periodic publications corresponding to the characteristics and general definitions mentioned in paragraphs 1 to 8 above.

20. The following types of publications, inter alia, should be included in statistics of newspapers and periodicals:

(a) Government periodicals, i.e. periodicals published by public administrations or their subsidiary bodies, including compilations of laws, regulations, etc., except for those which are confidential or designed for internal distribution only.

(b) Academic and scientific journals, i.e. university journals, the publications of research institutes and other learned or cultural societies, etc.

(c) Periodicals of professional, trade union, political or sport organizations, etc., even if they are distributed only to their own members.

(d) Publications appearing annually or less frequently.

(e) Parish magazines.

(f) School magazines and school newspapers.

(g) ‘House organs’, i.e. publications intended for the employees of an industrial or commercial firm or some similar enterprise or for the clients of the firms.

(h) Entertainment, radio and television programmes, if published in magazine or quasi-magazine form, i.e. with literary texts presenting or commenting on some of the programmes.

Definitions

21. In compiling statistics of periodic publications, the following definitions should be used:

(a) Newspapers are periodic publications intended for the general public and mainly designed to be a
primary source of written information on current events connected with public affairs, international questions, politics, etc. They may also include articles on literary or other subjects as well as illustrations and advertising. This definition includes:

(i) Daily newspapers, i.e. newspapers mainly reporting events that have occurred in the 24-hour
period before going to press.

(ii) Non-daily newspapers which give news covering a longer period but which, either owing to their local nature or for other reasons, provide their readers with a primary source of general information.

(b) Periodicals are those periodic publications which are either concerned with subjects of general interest or else mainly carry studies and factual information on such specialized subjects as legislation, finance, trade, medicine, fashion, sports, etc. This definition covers specialized journals, reviews, including those reviews dealing with current events whose aim is to select, condense or comment on facts which have already been reported in newspapers, magazines and other periodicals, with the exception of the publications mentioned in paragraph 2 of this Recommendation.

Methods of enumeration

22. Statistics of newspapers and periodicals should show the total number of publications (in terms of titles), the number of copies printed and the circulation.

23. In enumerating the total number of periodic publications, the following principles should be adopted:

(a) The following should not be considered as separate publications:

(i) Provincial or local editions of the same newspaper without substantial difference in news or editorial content. A mere difference in title or in the local news pages is not sufficient for the publication to be considered as a separate newspaper.

(ii) Supplements not sold separately.

(b) On the other hand, publications in the following categories should be considered as separate publications:

(i) Provincial or local editions differing substantially from the main publication in news or editorial content.

(ii) Supplements sold separately.

(iii) Special editions (such as Sunday newspapers, etc.).

(iv) Morning and evening dailies, provided they have separate titles or constitute separate legal entities.

(v) Different language editions of the same publication, if published in a particular country.

24. Circulation figures should show the average daily circulation or the average circulation per issue in the case of non-daily publications. These figures should include the number of copies:
(a) sold directly,

(b) sold by subscription,

(c) mainly distributed free of charge. Circulation figures should refer to the number of copies distributed both inside the country and abroad.

25. The number of copies printed should, unlike the circulation figures, also include the number of unsold copies (returns).

Classifications

26. Periodic publications should, first of all, be subdivided into newspapers and periodicals. Statistics relating to newspapers should, as far as possible, be classified as follows:

(a) By language: publications issued in bilingual or multilingual editions should be placed in a separate category.

(b) By frequency:

(i) Dailies, i.e., newspapers published at least four times a week.

(ii) Non-dailies, i.e., newspapers published three times a week or less frequently. A further distinction should also be made between non-dailies published two or three times a week, once a week or less frequently.

27. Statistics relating to periodicals should be classified as follows:

(a) By language; publications issued in bilingual or multilingual editions should be placed in a separate category.

(b) By frequency; periodicals which appear:

(i) At least four times a week.

(ii) From one to three times a week.

(iii) Two or three times a month.

(iv) From eight to twelve times a year.

(v) From five to seven times a year.

(vi) From two to four times a year.

(vii) Once a year or at longer intervals.

(viii) Irregularly.

(c) By type; for a breakdown of international statistics on periodicals, the following classification system should be used:

A. Periodicals aimed at the general public:

(i) Illustrated magazines providing news and reporting:
- magazines whose main purpose is to report and comment upon current events and which devote considerable space to pictures;

(ii) Political, philosophical, religious and cultural publications:
- publications whose main purpose is to take part in the flow of ideas, political discussion and cultural research, and which may well have a specific political or partisan focus;

(iii) Women’s and men’s magazines and family magazines:
- publications aimed at a specifically female or male readership, lacking any specific political focus (hence excluding feminist reviews, classified under (ii)), and devoting
considerable space to pictures;
- publications whose main purpose is to provide practical, legal and technical information on matters of everyday life (health care, food, consumerism, taxation, etc.);

(iv) Radio, television and cinema magazines:
- publications whose main purpose is to provide radio, television and cinema times and programmes (together with commentaries) and to provide information of topical interest on these media and the way, in which they function;

(v) Publications devoted to tourism, travel, leisure and sports:
- publications devoted to intellectual pastimes, hobbies and games and whose main purpose is to provide information on a specific activity engaged in as a hobby or to serve as
an aid thereto;

(vi) Popular historical and geographical publications;

(vii) Popular scientific and technical publications:
- publications mainly designed to provide an open-ended readership (not defined by their training, qualifications or occupation) with simplified information on the evolution of science and technology, regardless of the discipline involved (mathematics, natural sciences, medicine, electronics, etc.);

(viii) Publications for young people and children, comics and picture magazines;
(ix) Periodicals not elsewhere classified, including periodicals published by public administrations or their subsidiary bodies (aimed at the general public).

B. Periodicals for a specific readership:

(i) Professional journals, viz. technical, scientific and research;

(ii) Trade union, political party, association journals, etc.;

(iii) Mutual benefit society journals;

(iv) Business house organs;

(v) Parish magazines;

(vi) Certain periodicals published by public administrations and their subsidiary bodies, for a restricted readership.

Presentation of statistical data

28. Statistics on the types of data indicated below should be drawn up every two years and relate to each of the two years preceding the survey year. The information given should conform as far as possible to the definitions and classifications set forth in the preceding paragraphs. Attention should be drawn to any
differences between such definitions and classifications and those customarily used at the national level.

The types of data to be reported are:

(a) Newspapers and periodicals: total number of periodic publications and their circulation, classified by frequency and by main language of publication.

(b) Periodicals: number of titles and circulation, classified by frequency and by type (see classification in paragraph 27 above).

(c) Periodic publications: total number of titles, circulation, returns and publishing turnover by type of publication.

(d) Exports and imports of periodic publications in terms of value (in national currency) and by trading countries.

IV. Statistics on the publishing industry

scope


29. The statistics on the publishing industry referred to in this Recommendation are intended to provide information on a standardized basis about enterprises engaged in the publishing and printing of books, newspapers and periodicals.

Definitions

30. The following definitions should be used for the drawing up of statistics on the publishing industry:

(a) Publishing house: an enterprise of whatever legal status whose predominant business activity is (in terms of turnover) publishing.

(b) Other publishers: institutions for which publishing is a subsidiary activity.

(c) Publishing turnover: the value of business activity (expressed in national currency) which is attributable to publishing.

(d) Printing house: establishment in which printing is done.

(e) Printing turnover: the value of business activity (expressed in national currency) which is attributable to printing.

(f) Publishing personnel: all persons engaged in publishing activities of a given enterprise, including employer(s), employees and self-employed. Part-time personnel should be reported in full-time equivalent.

(g) Printing personnel: all persons engaged in the printing activities of a given enterprise, including employer(s), employees and self-employed. Part-time personnel should be reported in full-time equivalent.

Enumeration and classification of data

31. Statistics of publishing and printing houses should show for the country the total number of enterprises engaged in publishing and/or printing activities.

32. In reporting statistics on publishing houses, a distinction should be made between:

(a) publishing houses strictly speaking, i.e. enterprises either private or public whose main business activity is publishing of printed matter, and

(b) other publishers, i.e. institutions (academies, universities, faculties, scientific, political, religious, sports and other organizations, economic and commercial institutions, etc.) for which publishing is a subsidiary activity. With regard to the first category, i.e. publishing houses, there should be a further subdivision according to the type of printed matter published:

aa. publishers of books only

ab. publishers of newspapers only

ac. publishers of periodicals only

ad. publishers of books and periodic publications.

33. The number of printing houses should be similarly subdivided into enterprises which print exclusively books or newspapers or periodicals, and those which print two of these types of publication or all three at the same time. The total output of printing houses is to be measured in terms of copies printed (print-run) and turnover.

Presentation of statistical data

34. Statistics on the types of data indicated below should be compiled biennially and the information given should conform to the definitions and classifications set forth in the preceding paragraphs. These types of data are:

(a) For the different types of publishing houses (as described in paragraph 32), the following information should be given: number of enterprises, personnel, publishing turnover (from sales and from advertising) and number of titles published, separately for books, newspapers and periodicals.

(b) For the different types of printing houses (as described in paragraph 33) the following information should be given: number of enterprises, personnel, as well as volume and value of production, separately for books, newspapers and periodicals.


UNESDOC - (PDF) English
- French - Spanish - Russian - Chinese - Arabic
Date of adoption 1985
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