Ebook metadata guidelines

If you're completely new to metadata, check out our series 'Metadata 101' for more information:

1. Smart metadata - The basics

2. Author, Title, Subtitle, Series fields

3. Category field

4. Embedding metadata within your book


Our store partners take extra care when it comes to accepting or rejecting books to achieve the highest customer satisfaction. Nobody wants unhappy readers.

Our team follows the stores' guidelines when reviewing content to make sure that your books don't get flagged or rejected by the partner stores.

The following guidelines are what you should keep in mind if you want a smooth publication process in all stores:


Book title and subtitle

The title field should contain only the actual title of your book as it appears on your book cover. Examples of items that are prohibited in the title field include but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized reference to other titles or authors
  • Unauthorized reference to a trademarked term
  • Reference to sales rank (e.g., "bestselling")
  • Reference to advertisements or promotions (e.g., "free")
  • Keywords

Other important rules we need to comply with:

  • The title always has to match the title on the cover image and inside the content file.

  • The title and subtitle in the metadata always have to be written in the same language and using the same script that is on the cover image. They also have to match the language that is selected as the primary language in the metadata.

  • The title and subtitle should always use the standard sentence case.
  • All capital letters, all lowercase or a mixture of both are not allowed, even if it’s shown that way on the cover.
  • Capitalization should follow the rules of the language the book is written in.
  • The subtitle, series numbers, genre, author name, etc. all have their own fields, please use those to enter this information, not the title.
  • The title should not contain any incorrect grammar, typos or spelling mistakes.
  • The use of ‘...’ is highly discouraged in the title and subtitle field.
  • The title cannot match exactly with another book that you already uploaded to PublishDrive.
  • Titles and subtitles that are written in a non-Latin script (for example, Arabic, Cyrillic, Korean, Japanese, Hindi, Chinese) need to have a transcription if Barnes & Noble or Gardners are enabled since these stores do not support non-Latin script.
  • The subtitle cannot be duplicated in the title field.
  • It is acceptable if a subtitle on the cover is not entered in the metadata or vice versa.
  • The title and the subtitle have to be in the same language. The only exception is bilingual books, here some difference is okay.

  • The subtitle cannot be in brackets.

  • The title cannot end with a period (‘.’) or a colon (‘:’) and in the latter case, be continued in the subtitle.

  • There is no character limit in place for titles or subtitles.



The ISBN field can either be left empty or it can be populated with a valid ISBN. If it is left empty, it will be later assigned a PUI (PublishDrive Unique Identifier) number that starts with 661. Please note that PUI numbers are not the same as ISBNs. Most store partners do accept our identifiers, but some of them don't. For more information, check this article.

Please note that ISBN is the only piece of metadata that can not be changed after publication since it is the main identifier of your book, and changing it would result in technical difficulties on the distribution side. If you enter a wrong ISBN, or get an ISBN after your book is published, you will need to withdraw your book and upload it again with the correct/new ISBN.



Author names always have to match the ones on the cover image. They cannot be a different variation of the author’s name; the cover image and the metadata have to match 100% in this case.

All authors that are mentioned on the cover image need to be named in the metadata. Editors, translators and other contributors do not necessarily have to be named on the cover or in the metadata.

Author names should not include any additional information. Some examples that users sometimes include:

  • Mr., Mrs., Ms. prefixes

  • Roles like ‘editor’, ‘illustrator’, ‘author’ do not have to be spelled out in the metadata, it is enough to select the corresponding role from our list

  • Birth dates

  • Contact information

  • Keywords

Dr, MD, PhD, Jr., Sr., etc. can be added here if they are added to the appropriate name field. If it is a prefix, it goes in the first name field, if it is a suffix, it goes in the last name field. Middle names are usually added to the first name field.

The author's name always has to comply with correct capitalization rules. For example, they cannot start with lowercase letters (unless it’s a specific pen name, online alias, etc.) and they cannot be all capital letters either.

Only authors that have published anonymously to remain unknown, or authors that are historically unidentified, can be designated as “Anonymous” or “Unknown” in the metadata. Otherwise, books without a credited author need to use the publisher’s name as the ‘editor’ in the metadata.
All books need to have at least one author name or if that is not available, then an editor name. Editor names can be names of publishing houses, brands, website names, etc. There is more freedom here compared to the author name field.

It is necessary to add something to the last name field, but not to the first name. If the author's name only consists of one word or the editor field has a company name for example, these need to be added to the ‘last name’ in their entirety.

For languages that use the Eastern name order (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, Hungarian), make sure that the names are entered in the correct order. You can enter the names using the Western convention, then use our 'Eastern name order' switch.

Pen names can be chosen freely; however, they cannot deceive readers. For example, if someone writes romance, they cannot write under the name ‘Mr. Love’. If the genre is self-help, they cannot use names such as ‘John Doctor’ (unless it's their real name), writing about the health benefits of cannabis, they cannot select a pen name like ‘Hermione Ganja’, etc. We also do not accept pen names that have the phrase ‘pen name’ in it.

If the author’s name is written in a non-Latin script on the cover, it has to be entered in the same script in the metadata. If they used a transcription on the cover, the same can be done in the metadata. They need to match 100%.

If there is more than one author, they need to be entered separately in the metadata. They cannot be in one field, using the ‘XY & XY’ format.



If your book is part of a series, enter the name of the series in the Series Name field. The series name will be displayed up after your book's title in parentheses.

The series name must adhere to the book title guidelines above.

Enter only the name of the series. Do not include the number in series (volume) or the title of the book. Enter the series number (volume) in the series number field as a single digit ("3" for the third book in a series, not "Book 3" or "Book 3 of 4"). If you include the correct series name, Amazon will automatically link your books.



The description needs to be written in the same language as the primary language selected in the metadata.

Always make sure to add the correct description if you are uploading several books at the same time.

It is important that the description accurately describes the book and is appropriate for store distribution.

Types of descriptions to avoid:

  • Biography of the author

  • Table of contents copied, chapter titles listed

  • A quote from a book, but no further description

  • Descriptions that are too short (one sentence, only a few words)

  • Descriptions that are too long (usually 2-3 paragraphs are preferred)

  • Text copied from Wikipedia

  • Incomplete descriptions

  • Copy pasted descriptions for all books in a series. All descriptions need to be unique.

Elements to avoid in descriptions:

  • Search terms, keywords

  • HTML tags

  • Explicit terms, 18+ language, not even in a censored format

  • Marketing terms like ‘reduced price’, ‘low price’, ‘on sale’

  • Any references to price

  • Phrases like ‘click the buy button’ or ‘buy now’ because this does not apply in subscription-based services or library distributors

  • Contact information or personal details of the author (this should always be included in the front or end matter of the book, if necessary)

  • Advertising other products or services

  • Upselling other, more complete versions of the same product

  • Misleading information, for example, references to physical content or other content that isn’t included (“CD”, “Disc”, “Audiobook”)

Additional formatting guidelines:

  • The description cannot be in all bold or italic text.

  • The description cannot be in all capital letters or all lowercase. Appropriate use of sentence case is required.

  • Correct use of line breaks is required.


Number of pages

All books should be at least 10 pages long (~15,000 characters). The front and back matter does not count, only the actual content.

The approximate final page number should be added even if the book currently only has a placeholder file and is up for pre-order.



The language selected in the metadata should always match the language of the content file.

The metadata of the book has to be written in the same language that is selected as the primary language. This means the title, subtitle, description and keywords need to match the content file. If the language uses a non-Latin script, then it is preferable that the author's name is written in this form, but a transcription is also allowed if the author's name is written that way on the cover.

The cover image always has to be in the same language as the primary language selected.

A secondary language can be added, but only if a significant portion of the book is in a different language. You don't have to add a secondary language if only a few words or sentences are in a different language.

If the book has a secondary language, the book’s description can also contain that language, but first and foremost it should still be written in the primary language.

If the book is for people who are native speakers of X language to study Y language, X language should be selected as the primary language and Y language as the secondary one. For example:  in the case of a book intended for English speakers to learn Spanish, the primary language is English and the secondary language is Spanish.


Digital list price

Most ebooks on the market are priced between $0.99 and $9.99. Please note that a lot of stores do not accept books that are over $15.

There are exceptions where higher prices are acceptable:

  • Academic publications

  • Books longer than 400-500 pages

  • Language learning materials

  • Textbooks, exam preparation materials

  • Nonfiction books in niche topics

  • Authorized biographies of public personalities

Publication date

The only thing to keep in mind here is that the publication date cannot go back too much into the past. Generally speaking, release dates before 2000 are discouraged for ebooks. Even if a book was originally published a long time ago, the ebook edition counts as a new edition and the current date can be added.

The publication date can be in the future, too. In this case you can upload the final file or a placeholder file. You can read more about pre-orders here.



Make sure that the categories selected actually match the book. Categories are one of the most powerful tools that will help potential readers discover a book, so it is important to select them accurately.

Common mistakes include:

  • Selecting completely different categories that have no relation to the book at all

  • Incorrectly selecting a genre like drama or comic books to books that do not fall into these categories. Make sure you also check the main category that your selected sub-category falls under!
  • Drama categories can only be used for books written in the screenplay or theatrical play format. First-time authors sometimes think that Drama applies to their book if it has a dramatic plot. While that is the case for movies or TV shows, it is not applicable in book publishing.
  • Poetry books should always have categories that are under the Poetry main category.
  • Fiction and Nonfiction categories should not be used together. There might be a very few exceptions where it can be accepted, but the general rule is to choose one or the other, depending on the book’s nature. The general rule is to make sure that your book doesn't have clashing categories.

Other tips:

  • It is not obligatory to utilize all three category slots, but using the maximum available slots can help your book gain visibility in stores.
  • The main categories Juvenile Fiction/Nonfiction apply to books targeted at children and the main categories Young Adult Fiction/Nonfiction apply to books targeted at older teens and college age readers. Juvenile categories require a target age group.
  • If one of the categories have ‘Erotica’ in them or imply erotic content (and most importantly, if your book does indeed have erotic content in it!), make sure that adult content is indicated in other parts of the metadata. Read more about selecting the appropriate adult content category here.


Target audience

It is quite self-explanatory, only make sure that the selected target audience roughly fits with who you mainly want to reach with your book.

The huge majority of books will be fine with ‘General’ selected as the target audience, except for children’s books and academic publications.

The target audience ‘Adult education’ often causes some confusion, but it simply applies to educational materials aimed at an adult audience who are over the typical secondary or higher education age. It does not mean ‘adult’ as in erotic content.




The keywords have to match the book, make sure you do not enter any that aren't connected to the book’s topic.

Keywords need to be separated by commas, not hashtags or other punctuation marks.

The keyword field cannot contain:

  • store names
  • references to price
  • references to other authors or books by other authors
  • references to sales rank (for example, 'bestselling')
  • advertisement or promotions
  • a description of the book instead of keywords