Subscribers to my SEO for Books newsletter understand why the information in a book listing on Amazon (et al) matters and that the series field is 1 of 8 key metadata fields to obsess over, if you have a book series. Amazon recently notified KDP customers that in mid-May (2014) that they are making changes that will help improve the presentation and discovery of books that are part of a series.
What is a book series?
Wikipedia defines it as “a sequence of books having certain characteristics in common that are formally identified together as a group.” The series can be a collection of books from a publisher like the Dummies series. Or a series of books written by the same author like The Hunger Games.
The problem that Amazon is trying to solve—as would be the case for any retailer—is helping their customer find the book they are looking for. You may have heard about a series from a friend, in which case what is the first book to read? Or you finished the first book and now you are ready for number 2. Complicating matters there has been a proliferation of formats and packaging options, sometimes with their own listings. For example:
- Print book
- Boxed set
A recent look at the series name for The Hunger Games showed that book one had the series name of “Book 1” while the second and third books had a series name of “The Second Book of the Hunger Games” and “The Final Book of The Hunger Games.”
Look carefully at each listing and you will notice several inconsistencies: Book 1 vs. The Second Book…; Final vs. Third? ; a lower case T in the series name for the second book?
Consistency and standardization is the goal for book metadata exercise.
Best practices for series metadata in Amazon Kindle store
Here are Amazon’s instructions for using the series field in KDP:
- Series Title: Your Series Title in KDP should be the name of the series. By ensuring that all books in a series have the exact same value for “Series Title,” you will improve the discoverability of your books.
- Volume: Enter only a numerical value (eg: 1, 2, 3; not “Book 5” or “Book V”)
Keep in mind that the book’s listing will look like this:
“Title: Subtitle (Series Title Book Volume).”
In regards to SEO for books, you might also consider using keywords in your series name—but only if it makes sense. I would caution against making up terms to game the Amazon search engine. Besides, while this field is part of the search system today it may not continue to be indexed after this update.
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You might also be interested in this article on keywords.
Amazon Instructions for Updating the Series Field in KDP
- On your bookshelf, in the “Other Book Actions” column next to the title you're updating, click Edit book details.
- Enter changes to your series information under Step 1. Enter Your Book Details.
- Click Save and Continue, then click Save and Publish. Your book will be reviewed and republished with your new series information within 24 hours.