Kobo gives us some examples of how data issues can impact your book sales in the digital market.
#bksummit10 “Bad metadata = avg. delay of 10 days to market” - @mtamblyn @kobo
10 days?!? Can you really afford to lose those sales? Sending good quality metadata in the first place will help you get your books to your readers on time. And that’s what we all want, right?
I asked Michael to list the most common metadata issues they see at Kobo. Here is his list (in order):
- ISBN: Difference in ISBN between ONIX file and epub file.
Often, if an ISBN has not yet been assigned to an epub file, the print ISBN will be used temporarily in the epub file. But you need to remember to update the epub file once you’ve assigned an ISBN.
- Price: Missing.
This one was surprising to me and, to be perfectly honest, is just sloppy.
- Territorial Rights: Missing or incorrect information.
The impact of incorrect rights information is huge. If Canada is not listed in the Rights Country element in the ONIX file, then the book cannot be sold in Canada.
I’m intentionally being vague in this example and am not listing the title or publisher being discussed…
A metadata issue came up again on Monday when I saw a friend tweet about a title not being available on Kobo that should have been. The publisher weighed in saying yes, that title should be available for purchase in Canada… but this is what is being displayed on the Kobo website when you click through to the title listing:
…we do not currently have the rights to offer this content for browsing or purchasing in Canada.
What does that mean? Obviously I don’t have access to their data file, but my ONIX- filled brain immediately went to incorrect rights information. The publisher says it should be available, but Kobo thinks it’s not. Is Canada listed in the Rights Country? Probably not.
It is the publisher or distributor’s responsibility to make sure that the data they provide is accurate. We can get away with sloppy data when it comes to print books: if the books make their way to the retailer, the retailer gets to put them on sale (unless the title is embargoed, which is a different topic all together…). But when it comes to digital versions, all the power lies in your metadata—so you need to make sure it’s right.