The VitalSource Resource

The VitalSource Resource

Are you keeping an eye on the health of your metadata?

Posted by Saskia Watts on February 10, 2020

Territorial rights, BISAC/BIC codes, comprehensive pricing – these three metadata elements are often overlooked by content providers in the VitalSource systems. So let’s break them down one by one.

Territorial rights

As publishers, the ability to specify where your books are available (or not available) for sale is critical to broadening your metadatarightsdistribution network and increasing sales. Territorial rights, also known as sales rights ensure your titles are distributed as widely as possible, whilst also avoiding their distribution to any territories for which you do not hold the necessary permissions. 

It is important to include robust and accurate rights data when uploading metadata to VitalSource. With stores in Canada, the United States, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia, along with the prospect of integrations with institutions around the world, omitting certain regions may result in a loss of adoptions.


Healthy territorial rights metadata


Healthy territorial rights metadata



BISAC subject codes are essentially genre codes. Possibly one of the most contentious metadata attributes, BISAC codes areScreenshot 2020-01-30 at 11.47.21 also potentially one of the most important. 

Best practice is to pick the three most specific subject codes for your title and input them in order of relevance. For example:

TEC008030 TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Electronics / Circuits / Logic

is a better addition to your metadata than:


This will improve the categorisation and discoverability of your books, and in turn expand your prospective readership. Healthy BISAC metadata also has a positive impact on your books’ visibility on the VitalSource store, with titles more likely to appear on our Featured Subjects tab.


Subject Tab
Featured Subjects tab on the VitalSource store

Remember, more metadata does not always necessarily mean better metadata. It is better to include the three most specific topics for your book, than to list ten subjects that are largely irrelevant. 

A full list of BISAC codes can be found on the BISG website.


Comprehensive pricing

Complete territorial rights metadata can fall flat if not also combined with complete pricing information. Pricing your titles in multiple currencies means that readers around the world can purchase your content easily and without the worries of conversion or transaction fees.

Ensuring you have at a minimum (if possible): USD, AUD, GBP, EUR and CAD is a good place to start.

Don’t forget that metadata is not set in stone. If you have a request for an additional currency, and you have the correct rights to do so, it is easy to add the relevant pricing. You can also change BISAC/BIC codes to test the efficacy of one versus the other over time. Refreshing your metadata regularly ensures it remains healthy across your asset list, and can allow your titles to be discovered by new readers. 

To learn more about these three elements, and about metadata in general, we are providing free access to Metadata Essentials: Proven Techniques for Book Marketing and Discoverability until February 15th! Request access to the title here


Topics: marketing, publishing, metadata, onix, discoverability, keywords, bisac code, bisac, bic code, bic, pricing, sales rights, territorial rights

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