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Ebook Metadata

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Making the most of metadata

Metadata is the digital equivalent of a book cover. Metadata makes it possible for users or digital bookshops to categorise your book appropriately. Online book stores make suggestions along the lines ‘If you liked that, then you might like this’ by matching the keys in the embedded data.

Every ebook converter has the facility to add or edit metadata. You are strongly advised to try and embed as much as possible into the source file as editing the metadata directly in the files is not easy. As noted earlier, most conversion software will also help if the book has already been published by searching the web for existing metadata.

File names

A good example of this need to plan ahead comes when you have to save your file. Obviously your book file must have a unique file name. But it makes sense to include metadata inside your filename.

It is good practice to start your filename with a letter so you might devise a schema that starts with your author-name and includes the book's ISBN. It is also useful if you can see which version of the book the file relates to. You can add edition numbers in the file name.


Keywords increase the visibility of your books. The Kindle Store lets you add "Search Keywords" to your titles. They recommend up to five keywords that relate to the content of your book. Make the words specific. Try searching for a book like yours and see the keywords which have been used. 

Vital metadata

  • Title: Book Title Goes Here. MANDATORY FIELD .
  • Creator: Author’s name. (No options for multi names here)
  • Identifier: MANDATORY FIELD The OPF mandates only that the Identifier must be in the metadata and that it must be unique.
  • Copyright: Your copyright statement
  • Publisher: Use your publisher name
  • Date: Date of publication of the ebook (other publication dates can go on the publisher’s page
  • Language: Language code ISO639. MANDATORY FIELD
  • Filename: This is the actual filename used to save files. MANDATORY FIELD

Optional metadata

  • Contributor: You can list other contributors (but not the author)
  • Subject: Keywords are best as this is how books are found
  • Source: A source statement
  • Type: e-book
  • Format: epub or mobi
  • Relation: leave blank
  • Coverage: Global
    • localisation allows a local language to be used)
  • Cover TOC Localization Text: Cover
  • Contents TOC Localization Text: Contents




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