11 Book Info

In Pressbooks, the  Book Info menu item is where you put information about your book. In the book publishing industry, this is called “metadata” (which means “data about the data”!), and it’s what allows book stores and libraries to know things about a book, which helps them classify it, helps people search for it and find it. Metadata answers questions such as: What is the title? Who is the author? When was it published? What is the book about? etc.

In Pressbooks we use Book Info for three purposes:

  1. to add certain required metadata to a file inside your ebook;
  2. to automatically populate certain pages in your book (specifically the cover, the title page, and the copyright notice);
  3. to build a book landing page on the web (in the event that you want to use your Pressbooks landing page to promote your book; if your book is “Private” then only you can see it).

Let’s take a look at the various sections of the Book Info page, what the information is used for and where it goes.

General Book Information

This is the basic information about your book, and includes:

Title: The “title” is the name of your book. This goes into your automatically-created title page (in EPUB and PDF), populates the running headers[1]  in many themes, and is used as the title of the web versions of your book. The title is also a required bit of metadata that goes into your EPUB file. This is a required field.

Short Title: The “short title” is used to make a “shorter” running header in PDFs, when the title of your book would be too long to fit on the top of the page. This field is optional.

Subtitle: The “subtitle” is used on the automatically generated title page (PDF and EPUB), as well as on the webbook landing page. This field is optional.

Author: The “author” is used on the automatically generated title page (PDF and EPUB), as well as on the webbook landing page. It’s also included in the metadata file in your ebook. This field is required, and will default to your Pressbooks username if nothing is entered.

Author, file as:  This is included in the metadata file in your ebook, and defines how an ebook should be “filed” or sorted, usually last name first. So, a book with author “John Smith,” would have “Author, file as: Smith, John.” This field is optional.

Publisher: This is the publisher of the book, and will appear on the automatically generated title page (PDF and EPUB), in the footer of your webbook, and will be included in the metadata in your ebook files. This field is optional.

Publisher City: Publishing convention lists the city (or cities) where the publisher operates on the title page of a book. Filling in this field will insert publisher city on the title pages in PDF and EPUB. This field is optional.

Publication Date:  This is the date the book is to be, or was published on. This field is optional, and we don’t do anything in particular with it.

On-sale Date: This is the date the book will go on sale. This would is used by book stores to know when a book will go on sale, but for the moment this data does not get sent anywhere, as you need to arrange for sale of your books on your own.

Ebook ISBN: An ISBN or “international standard book number” is a number assigned to your book that is unique, and it allows all bookstores across the world to know certain important things about your book, including: title, author, publisher, publication date.  The ebook ISBN is added to the metadata file in your ebook, and is included in the footer of the webbook. This field is optional.

NOTE: ISBNs are handled differently depending on what country you are in. If you would like to get an ISBN, please go to Google and enter: “ISBN  [Your country]”.

Print ISBN: See above for a description of ISBNs. Note that each format of a book (print, ebook, audiobook) must have its own ISBN. This field is optional.

NOTE: ISBNs are handled differently depending on what country you are in. If you would like to get an ISBN, please go to Google and enter: “ISBN  [Your country]”.

Language: Setting the language of your book makes it easier for ebook stores to classify and promote your book. And, still in development, changing the “language” of your book will make adjustments to the outputs of your book, for instance changing “Contents” or “Chapter” to the equivalent in your language. Note that this feature is not foolproof, nor is it working across all languages. Please test and let us know if we need to make adjustments. This field is required, and defaults to English.

Cover  

You upload your ebook cover image here. The ebook cover is used:

  • in your ebook exports
  • on the landing page for your webbook

IMPORTANT: The cover image is not used in the PDF export. Pressbooks PDFs are designed to be used as the “interior files” for print-on-demand (POD), that is, the pages of your book. POD requires a separate cover image file, which includes the front cover, spine and back cover.

Copyright

A copyright notice is standard in books. Pressbooks injects a default copyright notice into your book exports, which include: Book Title, Copyright Year, by Author.

If you wish to add a custom copyright notice, there is a Copyright Notice text box for just that purpose.  This notice will replace the generic copyright notice Pressbooks generates, and be included in your ebook and PDF exports.

About the Book

This is information about your book, which you could also call: “How I would describe my book in a catalog.” We have three fields in this section:

Book Tagline: This is a very short, one-line zinger that explains why someone should read your book.

Short Description: A short paragraph describing your book. Think of this as the description you would read on a catalog page with ten other books.

Long Description: This is the big long description that someone who is really interested in the book should read. You can add what you like here including reviews, praise, blurbs, etc.

All of these sections go into the metadata file in your EPUB, and they also build the web landing page for you book (which you can choose to use to promote your book).

Additional Catalog Information

This section is what you might call “advanced cataloging information”. For the moment, Pressbooks does not use most of this information for any specific purpose, but it can be useful to have all of your book’s details in a central location. It includes:

Series Title: If your book is part of a series.

Series Number: If part of a series, which number is this book?

Editor: Who is the editor of the book?

Translator: Who is the translator of the book?

Keywords: What keywords describe your book?

Hashtag: What twitter hashtag would you apply to your book?

List Prices (For Print, EPUB, Web): Price your book. Note, Pressbooks doesn’t sell books directly, so this information is not used in any way at the moment.

BISAC subjects: These are subject headings as defined by the Book Industry Standards and Communications group.

For a quick overview on adding your book metadata in Pressbooks, watch this video on adding metadata using Book Info.


  1. "In typography, a page header (or simply header) is text that is separated from the main body of text and appears at the top of a printed page...." see Wikipedia.