Everything You Thought You Knew About Metadata…
But not to worry. Most people looking for the book will never see the site. Amazon's listing for the book will grab the top spot on Google and Bing, further solidifying Amazon's stranglehold on book retail.
That's all wrong. Because you don't control the content on Amazon. Amazon won't publish the full text of the rave review that sells a copy every time it's read. Amazon won't link to the author's articles and professional CV.
The book's web site should be at the top of the list whenever anyone searches for the book. If it's not, you're doing something (probably several things) wrong.
4. The book's contents are its richest mine of metadata.
This is an act of faith: The entire book must be searchable online. Yep, the whole thing. What if five years from now a reader can't remember the author's name or the book title—they only remember there's a character named Chet who says "The night had written a check that daylight couldn't cash." Yep, Panama by Thomas McGuane. If the author weren't so well-known, the only listing would be the full text of the book searchable online.
The easiest way to make a book searchable online is through Google Books. The best way is on the book's own site. There are many ways to partially obscure the text or to make it challenging to read via a browser, so theft should not be an issue. Not being found; that's the issue. You have to pull out all the stops.
I hope that you picked up a trick or two when you passed the test. You can see that there's an awful lot more to metadata than the ISBN and suggested retail price. Take your time—the task is far bigger than most publishers assume.
Thad McIlroy is an electronic publishing consultant, analyst and author, and principal of The Future of Publishing. Since 1988, Thad McIlroy has provided consulting services to publishing and media companies, printers, prepress shops, design and advertising agencies, as well as vendors serving the publishing industry.