At this point, you already know much more about ebook metadata than you ever intended to. Read this article to learn about encoded metadata within your book. If you missed the previous installments of this series, please check the following articles:
- Metadata 101 and most important metadata guidelines
- Filling in the title, subtitle, and series fields
- Using BISAC codes to get into the right Amazon category
While ebook vendors always ask you to enter your metadata separately and they use that information to correctly display your book in their respective stores, many ebook reader devices and apps (like Calibre) use the metadata encoded within the book to display information regarding that book on that device. Books with metadata not correctly encoded might not display author or title correctly on the reader’s device. The best additional benefit of accurately encoded metadata is that you don’t have to enter your metadata manually when uploading your book to PublishDrive. If your metadata is encoded in the book, our system will automatically be able to read it and fill in the necessary fields.
Mandatory encoded metadata
No matter which software you used to create your epub file, your epub already has some metadata: title, language and an identifier are mandatory for all ebooks. Even if your conversion software doesn’t know how to fill in your metadata correctly, you’ll see something there. Many books have “Unknown” in the title or author field: if you are a reader, this could get annoying. More importantly, the correct language settings within your metadata make the use of built-in dictionaries possible on the reading devices.
Checking and editing metadata with Sigil
Sigil is a free, open source ebook converting and managing software. It works across many platforms. You can download it from here. Open your book in Sigil. Click Tools / Metadata editor, or press F8.
This will show what metadata is already encoded in your book.
To change anything, just double click the value of the metadata to edit it. To add additional metadata, click Add metadata. This will open a new window with all possible options. At the bottom of the page, there is further information and help regarding the type of metadata you might enter. Most of these are straightforward, but you might realize that some common attributes like translator are not present. To add a translator or illustrator within Sigil, follow this journey:
- Add metadata / Creator, press OK
- Add property / Role, press OK
- Select the type of creator or contributor from the list
This is a very extensive list, and most likely you’ll never need to add Wood-engraver to the metadata, but Voice actor or Illustrator might come handy.
Come back for more information on keywords and description.