White Paper: The Link Between Metadata and Sales

Perhaps more than any other industry the book trade is reliant on sharing product data to function efficiently. With the massive variety of products available the ISBN has been central to the industry for generations, and attaching accurate and appropriate information to the ISBN has become essential for identifying products both for trading partners and customers. Supplying sufficient and appropriate metadata is actively encouraged within the book industry, but until now the effect of supplying (or not supplying) this metadata has not been measured. Being at the heart of the global book industry, Nielsen has unique access to both bibliographic data supplied by publishers and used by retailers, and sales data supplied to us directly from book retailers. Combining these data sets we can assess the impact that supplying good quality, appropriate metadata has on sales.

As the internet becomes the consumer’s primary source of information, likely, customers will likely increasingly discover and learn about books via the information they can find about that book, rather than the physical product itself. With this in mind, we have also examined sales through the online channel to see if the link between metadata and sales is greater and whether customers are even more reliant on the data supplied. Finally, we have looked at the broad genres within the book market to assess whether providing accurate and appropriate metadata is even more crucial in certain genres, and to ascertain what might be the very most important metadata elements to supply.

White Paper: The Link Between Metadata and Sales