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BookMachine CAMPUS Review: Metadata Best Practices For Publishers

By Joanne Boustead

Over the last couple of months, the wonderful people at BookMachine have given me the opportunity to try some of their CAMPUS video courses. So far, I’ve completed three courses with them, and today I’m sharing my review of their absolutely brilliant ‘Metadata Best Practices for Publishers’ course, which has helped me to dive deep into the world of metadata and discoverability!

I first came across metadata during my publishing degree at university, and once I discovered it, I found myself fascinated by it. Metadata helps describe key characteristics, for example, genre, and therefore helps consumers find books. A good example of the usefulness of metadata is Amazon’s bestseller list, where they rank books in very specific categories. After one lecture I had on metadata, I found the CAMPUS video course to be the perfect place to learn more about this subject. At first, I found the concept of metadata to be quite daunting, especially with all the different acronyms floating around. At its heart, metadata is all about marketing a book in the most effective way possible – and it turns out there’s many different ways to do this.

What’s in the course?

The online CAMPUS course is divided into five handy modules and is led by the Director of Sales and Education at Firebrand Technologies, Joshua Tallent. Module one takes you through the importance of metadata, and investigates why it is so important in boosting sales of books. What I particularly liked about this module is how it compared Nielsen Book studies in the UK and US. It was interesting to see the subtle differences that metadata can make in each country, but also the similarities in how complete metadata truly does do wonders for increasing sales in both countries.

Further modules include a rundown on how metadata is managed and delivered, and the best practices for metadata use. With my limited knowledge of metadata, I found these modules to be incredibly helpful and important. I had an understanding of ONIX feeds (Online Information Exchange) but did not know the importance of a metadata management system, or what type of system would be best to use – it turns out there’s quite a debate on which systems publishers prefer! I also found it quite useful to learn about the general best practices for metadata, including how to structure descriptions, what keywords to use and the different subject categories that can really help to market your book correctly. The course also provides some information on Amazon, which is incredibly helpful, especially in relation to how keywords are a necessity in improving visibility for individual titles.

The final module reinforces the importance of updating metadata (as you can probably tell, in general metadata is incredibly important for sales!), and how often you should be checking it. The module also gives information on creating metadata pre-publication, as well as giving you a helpful and handy timeline to show each stage in the metadata creation process. After publication, this module also details what you should be doing to effectively keep your title running and suggests that you should frequently monitor all your titles to ensure you have fixed any issues and relayed any necessary information (both to your readers and the platform you are selling the title on). I really appreciated the sheer amount of detail this module went into, as I never realised just how important up-to-date metadata can be.

Who is this course for?

I would highly recommend the Metadata Best Practices for Publishers course to everyone working in publishing editorial and marketing departments, as there is an incredible amount of overlap on who is creating metadata. This video course will really help you to hone your skills and knowledge on metadata and will certainly help you to plan out timelines for those updates! I would also recommend the course to publishing hopefuls, like myself, who might just be curious and fascinated by metadata in general – it really is an interesting topic that I think is going to become increasingly important as the publishing industry continues to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of bookselling. If you can get ahead of the game and show some knowledge on metadata, then interviewers are sure to be impressed by your curiosity and willingness to learn. I’ve definitely become a bit of a metadata nerd after this course!

A note from BookMachine

“BookMachine CAMPUS is our suite of flexible, publishing-specific video courses designed to empower you in your career development. At BookMachine HQ, we're delighted to see the impact of the courses across the industry and how they are helping learners develop key skills! Our recent Spring Release saw the addition of six brand-new courses to the online library. Led by our knowledgeable tutors, specialists in publishing skills from TikTok to legal contracts, our catalogue is packed with expertise. Learn more about what you could achieve with CAMPUS here.”


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