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Book Metadata – The Key To Discoverability

Posted on: November 12th, 2020 by Publisher Services

book metadata


Book metadata is essential embedded information that helps readers discover your book.  Metadata enables booksellers, libraries, and search engines to communicate to potential buyers all the specifics about your book.  Optimizing this information will improve the likelihood to match your book to buyers.  As the underlying identifier, your ISBN is the starting point to begin providing metadata. When you purchase an ISBN via Publisher Service, from either the Self Publisher Program ($55) or Publisher Program ($129), you get access to a title management portal. The information you provide about your book will be pushed through the Global Books in Print Database and our search engine,  Universal search engines, such as Google, index these sites, and then try to match results to best fit the query and demographics of a potential buyer.

Metadata is now integrated into every main online or application for varying industries and not just books. Music services, such as Pandora and Spotify, are great examples of how granular data is used to enhance the user experience by curating music based on search and individual preferences. For example, if you searched and played the Beatles song, “Let It Be”, in Spotify, the service would then match other music based upon the genre (60’s Rock) and artist (Beatles, Paul McCartney, John Lennon).

The information making up book metadata is very similar and includes the following;

  • ISBN of a title
  • Title and subtitle
  • Genre and subgenre (optional)
  • Book subject
  • Short and long descriptions
  • Author and other contributors
  • Year released
  • Books target market
  • Image of book cover
  • Price

If this information looks familiar, it is because it is EXACTLY the data that our publishers enter into the Title Management portals available from all of our ISBN Packages.  Book metadata is pushed through numerous platforms ranging from Amazon, Google, Libraries – Everywhere!

So the obvious question is then, “How does one go about creating optimized book metadata”?   Simple answer is “Research”.  When you are ready to start focusing on marketing your book, you need to do a comprehensive search on various platforms for competing books.  Once you identify a few competitors or similar books, go online to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and search your genre.  Once you find books in your genre which you have identified as similar, you can begin to see the content they used and then craft your own unique descriptive data. Also look for specific words and then type them into Google’s keyword planner tool.   Using this resource will enable you to identify the right keywords which are most relevant to your book.

Another recommendation is that you are consistent with the metadata information you publish. Try to use identical wording when entering this information on varying platforms, such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  Even using similar wording on your press releases and outreaches is a good practice.  Metadata management is also ongoing so you should periodically review how your book is being displayed on results.   The information entered through our Title Management Portals is constantly pushed to the Global Books in Print Database, so you should periodically review the content you have entered and tweak for improvement.