In addition to book descriptions and citations, your metadata can include other types of long-form descriptive copy. In this training video, Joshua Tallent talks about the value of including both a Table of Contents and a book first chapter excerpt in your metadata. These two metadata elements allow consumers to make a more informed decision about purchasing your book.
- [Instructor] In addition to the description, author bio, and reviews, you can include other textual information with your metadata. There is no guarantee that retailers will use this information, and the actual usage is pretty inconsistent. However, providing data is a good practice, and you'll be prepared if and when the retailer does decide to use it. Let's look at our ONIX file. In our ONIX file, an easy addition to your metadata is the book's table of contents. You should already have this readily available at the time of the book's publication, and probably even earlier than that.
You can either just include the table of contents as text in paragraphs, or you can include it in a structured format like an ordered list as you see here. This ties in nicely with the structured table of contents you have to include in an eBook. It should be pretty easy to copy the contents from there and use it in your metadata. If we scroll down, we can also see the excerpt of the book. Whether you're buying a book in a book store, or borrowing one from the library, the physical book selection process normally looks very different from the online selection process. That being said, consumers still want to have the same kind of experience regardless of where they are purchasing the book.
You can assist in this process by including the excerpt in your metadata. Take a trip with me to my library. We're looking for a book, but we really don't know what we want to read. When we walk up to one of the many shelves of books available, we're probably going to do exactly what most people do. Look at the spine of the books until something sticks out. Once we pick out something, what comes next? Well, we look at the cover of the book, we read the book description, and maybe even read a little bit about the author. If this is a non-fiction title, we'll flip to the table of contents, and then back to the index to see if the topics that we're hoping to read about are included.
Assuming the book has met this base level of approval, and it's still in our hands, what comes next? Reading some of the text. We take the book over to one of those comfy chairs or an open table, lean against the wall, or just plop down on the floor, and start reading the book right there. Why? Because we need to know if this is the book that we want to take home with us. Reading through a section of a book tells you a lot about the contents, and can help you decide much more easily about getting that book or not. If we look at the same book in my library's catalog, we see that the only option we have for reading some of the book is by using the Google preview tool.
My library is assuming that the books and their holdings will all be in the Google Books program, but that's not necessarily the case. It also means that I can't read the excerpt on my phone, because the Google preview tool is not available on the mobile site. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble displays an excerpt of the book right on the product page, both on the main site and on the mobile site. Excerpts are a valuable addition to your metadata, and I highly recommend that you include them. There are a few additional text pieces that you can also include, such as promotional headlines, feature text, and a publisher's legal notice, but those are not common, and I have not seen them in use on any retailer.
Also it is best practice to limit each of these text pieces to 25,000 characters or fewer. That's around 3,500 words in English.
- Understanding XML markup and the ONIX file structure
- Assigning subject categories in the metadata
- Adding keywords
- Adding descriptive text such as book descriptions, bios, and reviews
- Providing height, width, weight, page count, and other physical specifications
- Specifying price
- Adding images and ebook data