In November, 2007, the US Book Industry Study Group (BISG) met and discussed income from the digital supply chain. Digital issues remain at the core of what BISG is currently focusing on as a new type of supply chain, “a digital supply chain”, is emerging. However, if the sale of digital information is to be successful new standards need to be set and ways to identify digital products need to be developed. The common supply chain model for the digital environment involves the ability to sell pieces of books digitally. This results in an explosion of content fragments that need to be identified so that their sales can be tracked..
Managing fragment sales will be far more complicated than monitoring sales of print books, which have at most two or three editions (hardcover, trade paperback and mass market paperback). The challenge is managing hundreds of thousands of pieces of content. What is needed is a system that can manage not only print editions of a work, but an expanding range of digital products that includes audio, e-book, customized texts and various fragment sales such as the sale of book chapters. One proposed solution is the International Standard Text Code (ISTC), which is expected to be introduced next year and will bring together all the different formats of a piece of content under one identification number.