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BEA 2014--Stop Hiding Your Books From Readers

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Originally presented at the BEA Conference in 2014, this presentation covers best practices for creating and sending ONIX metadata.

Originally presented at the BEA Conference in 2014, this presentation covers best practices for creating and sending ONIX metadata.

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  • Good Morning. My name is Rob Stevens Chief Community Officer at Firebrand Technologies.
    Firebrand Technologies is a Software and services company for book publishers. Our primary software is Title Management and our primary services are designed to send publishers metadata to the world for both print and ebooks.
    I’ve been working with Metadata since 2001 and today I’m going to talk about a few of the fields that we feel are important for you as publishers to think about.
  • Today I will be talking about the following data points.
    Publishing Status, Dates, Prices, Supplier, Availability and Related products.
    We will look at ONIX definitions, My recommendations as well as some real life examples.
    I will touch on the technical side of things but try to keep this more about what data you need to be thinking about.
  • From an industry standard point of view the data we’re talking about should be as close to ONIX standards as possible.
    ONIX code lists can be downloaded and or researched at http://www.editeur.org/8/ONIX/
    What is ONIX? In a nutshell it’s a standard file format for book data. XML on steroids. This is the file format which most of the big trading partners accept. For the most part it’s Tags, Codes, Numbers and Text. Not very readable for most people.
    There are others partners you may have though that still take .xls, csv or other formats. From partner to partner even though we have a “Standard” you may need to work with them to understand how they take the data.
    With this said lets start breaking down the data.
  • To your partners the supplier information is very important. Simply put, where is this book may be ordered from. If you are an independent publisher this will probably be your distributor.
  • Publishing Status, Availability and Product Availability are very similar to one another. In our feeds we send the Availability code and the Product availability when used.
  • In an ONIX file the data will be sent as the values you see here. 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, etc.
    The notes are very helpful in understanding the purpose behind the data. This is what it should mean to the trading partners who receive it.
    I highly recommend you review the Descriptions and notes so you understand the language the partners are working with.
    This also will help you to understand how you need to update this data and at what time. Forthcoming, Active, Out of Print. Your title data should flow to the trading partners in a timely fashion with the appropriate Status so they know how to display it.
    What happens if there’s a delay? What happens if the title is canceled? These scenarios are all here but it’s important that you convey the information in a timely fashion.
  • So in this example the Book is active but Temporarily unavailable.
  • The dates you use are also going to help you convey the status of your books.
    The most important date to convey is the Publication date. This is what tells the world when your book can be purchased. Then there is the Embargo date. If your book Legally can NOT be purchased before a specific date then you should send an Embargo date. This may be know by different names at different trading partners so if you’re entering the data yourself you should find out how the partner wants this data communicated. For example some partners will call this the Street date or On Sale Date.
    In simplest terms if you have no legal reason not to put your book in the hands of the public then the Publication date is the date you really want to send.
    Some other dates you may want to keep in mind are: Ship Date, this is a planning date so partners know when to expect inventory Last Date for Return. If your book is returnable do you have a last date for which you will accept returns.
  • Prices as you may understand are very important.
    From an ONIX standpoint there are several price types which you could use.
    For the most part however you’ll probably be sending the Retail price excluding tax. If you plan to use any of the other price types you will want to make sure your trading partners understand your desire and purpose behind these prices as again unless you have a special arrangement with them there systems are probably looking for Retail.
  • Beyond the price. $60. There’s other information you will want to send as well. Is there a discount code?
    Discount codes are just that a single code which you and the partners have an agreement about. You as publishers work with all partners you have to determine a discount structure. The Codes are sent so they understand what discount they will be getting. For example if you send “Short”.
    “Short” will go out to all of your partners for a given title. At Amazon they will see “Short” they will reference their agreement with you and understand what percentage that represents for you. At B&N they will do the same. The point is at each of these partners that code could mean a different percentage. It’s up to you the publisher to coordinate what these codes mean to each partner you work with. If you have multiple discounts with Amazon and you forget to send them a code they will assume the greatest percentage discount they have in your agreement. Please be aware.
    Besides Price type you also have a currency type and you can also send an effective date. Warning many partners will assume that the price you send is active as of the time they receive it.
  • Perhaps one of the more neglected areas of metadata is the Related Products composite. This area allows you the publisher to convey to the world what other products your book is related to. This is where you would relate your print products to your ebooks, or audio books. It’s also where you can relate parts of a product to it’s larger source such as a chapter. So if you sell chapters you can say that this Chapter (by ISBN) “is part” of this book(by ISBN) and This book(by ISBN) “Includes” these chapters. In this way you are telling the world. “Hey, I also have this for sale!”
    This is also where you convey that One product is replacing another one. Be warned, if you say that This book is replaced by this new book then you need be be prepared that if there is any inventory of the first book, it may and probably will be sent back to you. So make sure before you tell your partners that this book is being replaced that you really don’t want to sell that other book anymore.
  • This is what the Related Product composite looks like.
  • This is a lot of information.
    You either need to study your ONIX and learn how to create an XML file or you need to work with a service that will do it for you.
    I’d suggest you focus on knowing what the information is. Know that it’s important to have your supplier information identified. Keep your products status up to date. Make sure your Pub date is correct. If this slips update your status and dates.
  • I work with publishers across US, Canada, and Brazil to successfully list their content for sale on Kobo.com and our various online retailer partners across the world.

    For those who don’t know Kobo, we’re an:
    - Global Ebook eRetailer
    Over 13 million readers in 190 countries
    3.2 million titles
    68 languages
    Partnered with some of the world’s leading booksellers across the world including WH Smith, FNAC, Mondadori, ABA, Bookworld and more.
    we also produce some popular and award-winning devices
  • Whether you’ve got just a few rights….
  • Or, all the rights. Be sure to send them to us in your metadata.
  • In a world where online retailer, like Kobo, can sell your content anywhere in the world, at any time, you don’t want to run the risk of your book not being available in a market because a territory wasn’t included in your metadata.

  • And, an incomplete territorial rights list means your likely losing sales.

  • So, you’re sending the broadest suite of sales rights in your metadata. But, make sure that you’re not limiting those rights in other ways.

    We often see cases where a title is sent with broad rights, but only one currency that is limited to a specific territory – meaning, that book can really only be sold in one country.

    Make sure that you’re giving us rights explicitly in all of the appropriate fields.
  • Alternatively, we also frequently see cases where publishers send 4 prices in different currencies, but territory rights for just on territory, limiting our ability to sell that book globally. Those extra prices are a nice bonus, but we just can’t use them without the appropriate rights.

    On that note…
  • We’re happy to be getting all those territorial rights, but at what price should we sell your book in South Africa? India? The Philippines? Or, even in Canada?
  • The power and responsibility of setting prices starts with the publisher. This is especially true for publishers with Agency agreements—the power to set prices lies exclusively with the publisher.

    Agency requires that the publisher set the price that the consumer pays in all territories and in all currencies. Your retailers is expecting to get prices in the various currencies that a customer can access your books.

    And, for those in the room for whom Agency doesn’t apply, if you’re expecting that a customer in UK, BR, or PH pay a specific price for your books, you need to tell us that in your metadata.
  • A huge part of optimizing your territorial rights requires that you familiarize yourself with international currencies.

    If you’re a US publisher with an agency agreement in Canada, how will you communicate agency prices for the Canadian market? What if you want to sell a book in Ireland, or New Zealand?

    It seems obvious, right? But, not all publishers recognize and communicate their prices in the correct currency. It is a common mistake, or perhaps oversight, but it’s one that the customer notices.
  • Once you’re familiar with your territories and their respective currencies, take some time to get to know the markets in which you have territorial rights.

    In certain markets you are able to price lower or higher than your home market. For example..
  • This was at last week’s rate.
  • Do some research and get to know the pricing conventions for your markets before setting your list price in alternate currencies, because you never know where you might be over or underselling your content.
  • We’ve talked about this a few times, but I can’t reinforce it enough. Be explicit.
  • I know I just said that you should send us prices for each territory, but it’s not a hard and fast rule.

    Online retailers will convert for you if you’d like. But, before you give us that power consider the fact in allowing the retailer to convert, you’re letting go of some of your pricing strategy. You’re asking the retailer to take part in setting the price.

    Some questions worth asking are: How often does the bank rate get updated? Are all of your retailers working on the same schedule? Are you ok with this? If so, let us know in your metadata
  • If you allow, the retailer will convert for you. But you can’t be ambiguous with your data.
    If you give us five currencies for a book with world rights, what price should we convert from to sell India? The GBP price or the USD price?

    What should we use to calculate the Brazilian Real price? You can set the rules in your metadata, and we’ll follow. This is important to consider, so that you know what to expect when your book is listed for sale in rupees.

    Let’s take a look at some examples.
  • Actual INR list price = 1623 INR. A difference in 863 INR (or $14 USD) from the converted USD to INR price. Leaving a lot of money on the table when allowing the retailer to convert from USD.
  • Actual BRL list price = 24.99 BRL. Not a huge difference from the USD converted price, but the BRL price is nearly doubled when converted from GBP.

    Of course, this is a very simplistic example of a very nuanced discussion, and doesn’t take into account discounting strategies. However, it does illustrate that choosing the appropriate currency from which to convert into a specific sales territory also requires careful consideration.


  • 1. Stop Hiding Your Books From Readers! Ensuring Your Metadata Offers Maximum Discoverability BEA Conference 2014
  • 2. Speakers • Patricia Payton Senior Manager of Publisher Relations and Content Development, Bowker • Wendell Lotz Vice President Metadata, Ingram Content Group, Inc. • Clark Fife Director Of Metadata, Macmillan US • Robert Stevens Chief Community Officer, Firebrand Technologies • Patricia Simones Us Operations Manager, Kobo
  • 3. Stop Hiding Your Books from Readers! Ensuring Your Metadata Offers Maximum Discoverability BEA 2014 Wendell Lotz Vice President | Metadata
  • 4. Elements  Five elements that work together – Title – Subtitle – Series – Edition – Language
  • 5. Title  Source is the title page  Do NOT put format in the title field  Best expressed in elements – Title Prefix – Title without prefix – Many books do not have subtitles
  • 6. Collections  Big advancement in Version 3.0  Types – Ascribed – Publisher  Covers Series, Sets, and Serials  All the elements of a title  Introduction of ‘Master Brand’
  • 7. Sample Brands  Princess  Star Trek  Disney  <x409><Title Element Level>
  • 8. Collection Example <Collection> <CollectionType>10</Collection Type> Publisher Collection <Title Detail> <TitleType>01/>TitleType> Distinctive Title <Title Element> <TitleElementLevel><02/>TitleElementLevel> Collection Level <TitleDetail/> </Collection> <TitleDetail> <TitleType><01/>TitleType> <TitleElement> <TitleElementLevel><02/>TitleElementLevel> Product <PartNumber><Volume X/>PartNumber> <TitlePrefix><The/>TitlePrefix/>TitlePrefix> TitleWithoutPrefix><World’s Best Travel Guides/</TitleWithoutPrefix> </TitleElement> </TitleDetail>
  • 9. Improved Sender Control – New for 3.0 • Example 1 – Warriors, Power of Three, The Sight, 1 OR – The Sight (Warriors, Power of Three, Vol 1) • Example 2 – Lonely Planet Disney World 2015-16 » OR – 2015-16 Disney World (Lonely Planet)
  • 10. Subject Assignment Five (of 14) key rules Ingram uses in its review of titles  First BISAC – assign where the book is most likely to be in a bricks and mortar store – Alternatively, where you want it to chart  Do not use parent and child terms on the same book  Consistency across formats  Children’s books beg for multiple codes: Topic, protagonists, format i.e. chapter books  Avoid General/ Be as specific as the authorized list allows
  • 11. Subjects  Base assignments on content not sales potential  The author’s background or prior books may provide a clue  For backlist, consult the Library of Congress record for either LC Class or Dewey Ex: The Manager’s Handbook LC Class: HD 31 Dewey: 658 – Ex: ADKAR : a model for change in business, government and our community LC Class: 658.8 Dewey: 658.406
  • 12. What else is new?  Key words – Guidelines <b067><20>  Common core - Guidelines out soon  Regional themes -- not new but seldom used • <b067><11>
  • 13. Thema  International  Similar to the BIC structure  7 parts  Maps by BISG  Already adopted in Norway, Germany, and parts of the Arab World
  • 14. Audience/Reading Levels  Audience – The broad audience that the book is targeted to • General/Trade • Children/Juvenile • Young Adult • Primary and secondary/elementary and high school • College /Higher education • Professional and scholarly • Adult education
  • 15. Audience/Reading Levels • Audience – Reading Level – Interest Level – Grade Level • Complexity – Lexile – Fountas and Pennell (GRL) – ATOS (Accelerated Reader)
  • 16. Wendell.lotz@ingramcontent.com
  • 17. Descriptive Fields Book descriptions and author biographies are the most important places to make the case for your book. But they are also the biggest opportunities to affect how your book is found online. • Think about web copy before jacket copy • Don’t write context-dependent copy • Write evergreen copy
  • 18. Book Description Before you write your description, you need to think about the language you plan to use: • What are the most important words related to my book? • What kinds of searches do I want my book to be found in? • What words will readers use to find my book?
  • 19. Keywords to Consider Research your keywords and try to find the language that will reach the best possible audience for your book • Full title & subtitle of your book • Names of all the major contributors • Basic words about the book – e.g. “novel”, “essay”, “collection”, etc. • Subject keywords • Genre keywords • Audience keywords – Ages – “expert”, “beginner”, etc. • Tone & emotion keywords – What’s the mood of your book? – How will your book make the reader feel?
  • 20. Description Pitfalls • Time-sensitive information – “… is currently working on the sequel ….” – “ … is the author of seven novels … “ – “… also available as an audio book ..” • Too-short descriptions • Not starting with the most important information Avoid Including: • Comparative titles and authors • URLs and 3rd party links
  • 21. Author Biography Always Include • The author’s name • Basic keywords: – e.g. “author”, “writer”, novelist”, etc. • The name of at least one book Good to Include • Professional qualifications • Awards • Praise & Publications Author Biographies are like resumes!
  • 22. Strike the Right Balance SEO and keyword research will help searchers find your book. But once they do, you have to provide good, readable descriptions that makes the sale. • What your book is about • What a reader will take away from the experience of reading your book • What makes your book is different and better than all the rest
  • 23. Where Publishers, Content and Readers Meet
  • 24. • Supplier • Publishing Status • Availability • Dates • Prices • Related Products
  • 25. ONIX http://www.editeur.org/8/ONIX/
  • 26. • Supplier
  • 27. • Publishing Status
  • 28. • Publishing Status
  • 29. • Availability
  • 30. • Availability
  • 31. • Product Availability
  • 32. • Pub Status/Availability/Product Availability
  • 33. • Dates
  • 34. • Prices
  • 35. • Prices
  • 36. • Related Products
  • 37. • Related Products
  • 38. So how do you manage all of this?
  • 39. Stop Hiding Your Books From Readers!
  • 40. Patricia Simoes Manager, Publisher Operations Kobo Inc.
  • 41. Five Easy Steps to Optimize Your Territorial and Sales Rights
  • 42. 1. Know your rights!
  • 43. <SalesRights> <SalesRightsType>01</SalesRightsType> <RightsCountry>AU BR CA IN PH US</RightsCountry> </SalesRights>
  • 44. <SalesRights> <SalesRightsType>02</SalesRightsType> <RightsTerritory>WORLD</RightsTerritory> </SalesRights>
  • 45. Kobo sells books in 190 countries.
  • 46. Without territorial rights metadata, you’re losing sales.
  • 47. 2. Don’t Limit Yourself!
  • 48. <SalesRights> <SalesRightsType>02</SalesRightsType> <RightsTerritory>WORLD</RightsTerritory> </SalesRights> <Price> <PriceTypeCode>01</PriceTypeCode> <PriceAmount>6.99</PriceAmount> <CurrencyCode>USD</CurrencyCode> <Territory>US</Territory> </Price>
  • 49. USD, CAD, GBP, AUD + US = Sales only in 1 country: US
  • 50. 3. Send us prices!
  • 51. Thanks for those rights, but what price should we use? $ $ R$ R $ $ € £ र ¥ ₱
  • 52. A single title can have multiple rights, but are you sending prices in multiple currencies?
  • 54. 4. Know your markets.
  • 55. Books are much more expensive in Australia.
  • 56. US list price 12.99 USD
  • 57. Straight currency conversion 14.07 AUD
  • 58. List price in AU 16.95 AUD. Publisher gets an extra 2.88 AUD per book.
  • 59. 5. Be explicit.
  • 60. And, strategic.
  • 61. It isn’t necessary to set prices for all territories, or even for your entire list.
  • 63. US 12.99 USD = 760 INR UK 11.99 GBP = 1180 INR IN List Price = 1623 INR
  • 64. US 12.99 USD = 28.89 BRL UK 11.99 GBP = 44.88 BRLBR List Price = 24.99 BRL
  • 65. Five Easy Steps to Optimize Your Territorial and Sales Rights 1. Know your rights 2. Don’t limit yourself 3. Send us prices 4. Know your markets 5. Be explicit
  • 66. Questions? Patricia Simoes psimoes@kobo.com