There was quite a bit of coverage a couple months ago when Apple announced they were going to begin requiring children’s book publishers to specify a minimum interest age range for eBooks. Currently, this is something Amazon’s KDP does not require while B&N’s Nookpress works the same way as Apple does today (i.e. all age brackets lumped into 0-12 for BN and 0-13 for Apple). This is an important topic for anyone interested in SEO for their eBooks.
Children’s eBooks are quickly becoming an important battleground for the big three eBook retailers. It is thought that early habits lead to long-term loyalty to reading platforms. Apple has been focused on the educational market for years; Amazon has Kindle FreeTime, a subscription-based offering for kids; B&N’s Nook tablet enjoyed early success as children’s eBook reading platform.
Since Amazon sells more eBooks than Apple, my question is how does (or will) this impact Amazon KDP? Amazon currently classifies eBooks by interest age range on the front page of its store, but KDP does not have a field for indie publishers to indicate age range. Does age range help with Amazon search engine optimization, and if so, how do you take advantage of it?
How to Handle Interest Age Ranges for Kindle eBooks
It turns out that it is a little harder for publishers to manage this element of metadata on Amazon. You need to ask Amazon to put your book into an age range category. It is a manual process and it uses one of your categories.
I reached out to Amazon support and they explain it this way:
“…keep in mind that we currently allow a maximum of two categories per book in order to ensure an optimal search experience to our customers; so you can choose either two age ranges, or two simple categories, or an age range and a simple category.
For example, the category “Baby-Age 2” includes everything from 0-up, 1-up and 2-up; the category for “Ages 3-5” includes everything from 3-up, 4-up and 5-up, and doesn't include any with a recommended age between 0-2; the category “Ages 6-8” includes everything in 6-up, 7-up, 8-up, and doesn't include any with a recommended age between 0-5; the category for “Ages 9-12″ includes everything from 9-up, 10-up, 11-up, 12-up and doesn't include any with a recommended age between 0-8.”
Unfortunately you use up one of your two categories to get into these brackets and I’m not sure it is worth it. But another option is to use keywords, something Apple doesn’t allow. Use this Childrens Category Keywords table to discover specific keywords to get your eBook into the right interest age range.
I can’t help but wonder if Amazon will join Apple at some point and begin requiring publishers to specify interest ages for their content. It would be of benefit to Amazon because it would cut down on the current manual process. It would also help us indie publishers by giving us yet another SEO tool to help us improve the discoverability of our eBooks.
Looking for more information on optimizing your eBooks using KDP? We offer SEO for books as a service or you are welcome to study my past articles on the topic:
By the way, you can get more information about Apple's interest age range change by reading their updated guide to iTunes Connect. Look for the heading on page 30 titled Entering Book Target Audience.