Sell More Books with Better ISBN Metadata

Sell More Books with Better ISBN Metadata

Aerio Staff

Your book is a special little snowflake. How do we know? Your ISBN told us.

It is said that no snowflake is ever exactly the same. While we can’t catalog each snowflake that falls on the planet, there is a way to uniquely identify every book on the planet. If you want your unique little snowflake to stand out in a blizzard of books, you need to not only purchase an ISBN, but also make sure your ISBN metadata is optimized for search.

Why You Need an ISBN

Every book available on the market today has an ISBN. The purpose of your ISBN is twofold: it acts as your book’s unique identifier and it also plays an important role in your overall book metadata.

How to Get an ISBN

It may be tempting to purchase an ISBN through a third party at a discounted rate or even take them up on their offer for a free ISBN, but we highly recommend buying it yourself.


  1. Whoever buys the ISBN controls it. That includes editing or updating the important metadata contained within your book’s unique identification code. ISBN metadata makes sure that everyone from you to retail bookstores has accurate information on the book.
  1. ISBNs purchased from third-parties could contain inaccurate ISBN metadata. If you purchase a free ISBN through one of these means, they are the actual owner of the ISBN—this can lead to a lot of headaches when you want to take full ownership of your book’s ISBN. In addition, this extra work wastes your valuable time and energy correcting erroneous metadata. And what you may have saved in cost, you lose in time spent fixing mistakes you otherwise would not have made.

Here are a few places you can buy ISBNs for different markets:

What Is ISBN Metadata?

We have discussed the importance of metadata in a previous post. Your ISBN metadata is equally important. You can include a ton of information in your ISBN record. The more data you include in your ISBN listing, the easier it will be for booksellers and readers to learn what your book is about.

Listed here are the items your ISBN metadata should include. Making sure you cover all of these elements will help improve your book’s discoverability:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Description
  • Language
  • # of Pages
  • Copyright Year
  • Date of Publications
  • Contributors
  • Categories (BISAC)
  • Price
  • Currency
  • Book Cover
  • Interior

The description, categories and interior segments are where you can enhance your ISBN and book metadata with important keywords. Keywords are terms or phrases potential customers use to find books like yours online. There are a number of ways you can research keywords to help optimize your ISBN metadata.

As with other metadata best practices, you want to make sure keywords are thoroughly researched and descriptions are well-written. This information will be seen by customers and booksellers, so it’s important that it conveys the most attractive elements of your book in a clear way.

ISBN Metadata Review:

  • Purchase your own ISBN so you have complete control of editing and updating ISBN metadata.
  • Fill out your ISBN metadata with information and keywords that will improve your book discoverability.
  • Take time to research the relevant keywords used by your target readers and make sure all descriptions are well-written.

Every ISBN is a snowflake. They are unique to that book. However, if you really want your book to stand out, other than some computer generated number, focus on creating relevant and optimized book ISBN metadata.