10 Reasons I Hate Your Ebook Metadata

You’re in charge of the ebook metadata for your ebook store or publisher.

I run Luzme, the ebook search site.

Why don’t you make it easy for me to put your ebooks in front of readers who want to buy them?

Here’s 10 ways you make it hard!

(I won’t share the names to protect the guilty, but these are all true examples of metadata mistakes from major-name stores)

In common with many ebook stores, you provide me with a datafeed of your books, either directly or via an affiliate network. So that should be straightforward, right? Nope.

10 Metadata Mistakes

My initial false sense of optimism is quickly dashed when I look closer at the datafeed and find:

  1. The data is incomplete. You really think a truncated title, no author name and just your internal reference code is enough for me to be able to tell which book it is?

  2. The data still has development data in it, so half the links point to a website inaccessible by anyone but your dev team.

  3. You provide me with accurate title/author/isbn data, but you don’t think I need the price to go with it.

  4. You do provide me with the basic set of title/author/isbn/price data, great! But, you only update the datafeed once a quarter and the website changes every day. So it’s permanently out-of-date.

  5. You provide me with a great set of data for title/author/isbn/price data, huzzah! But, the links you’ve included in the datafeed just don’t work, so I’ve no way of sending the readers who want to buy from you in your direction.

  6. You don’t want to pay for an ISBN for the ebook version, so you’ll just reuse the one from the hardback. Or the paperback. Or maybe today to make it even more fun, you’ll use the one for the 20-unit display pack.

  7. You use the same ISBN for different language versions of the same book - English, Spanish, what’s the difference?

  8. Your author has decided to sell the book DRM-free to make it accessible to the maximum number of people who want to buy it. But you don’t think that’s worth mentioning, so you lose the sale to a Kindle user who thinks they can only buy from Amazon, even though they would have preferred to buy from you.

  9. You sell around the world, every country sees the book for sale in its own local currency with its own price. But your datafeed only gives the local price in the USA, because hey, does anyone live outside of America?

  10. You sell your books around the world, some with geographical restrictions. But you don’t think it’s important to put this info in your datafeed. So eventually I give up trying to provide your books as search results to people from outside the USA, even if you are willing to sell it to them…



P.S. Metadata should be accurate, timely and available. I’m writing a short guide to how you can do it better. If you’re interested, please sign up here