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CoreSource Amazon Distribution Q & A

Late last year, CoreSource presented a joint webinar with Amazon, and promised to send answers to submitted questions during the session. Below are the Q&A’s from the session. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact your CoreSource Account Manager, or if you have a direct relationship with Amazon, your Vendor Manager or Technical Account Manager.

What’s the best way to specify the primary BISAC code in the template?
The best way to specify the primary BISAC code is to inset an asterisk in front of the main BISAC code. Example: “*FIC016000 HUM006000” This would indicate FIC016000 to be the main BISAC.

For pre-orders, is that the same as submitting metadata without content?
You can do a “Prepub” distribution in CoreSource to send a cover image and metadata. This will give Amazon the necessary information to allow for pre-orders on their site. Please supply the content file at least one week before the release date. Amazon closely monitors all negative pre-order experiences where a file is not delivered in time for publication and will turn off this capability for those publishers who do not meet their requirements.

Could encoding issues also occur with accents in English text?
Yes, any non-UTF-8 character (typically ISO-8859 which is Western-oriented) could encounter encoding issues. We recommend setting up processes on your end to ensure that you’re sending valid UTF-8 encoded metadata, and that should take care of any encoding issues for the rest of the downstream.

Currently CoreSource only allows one review in the metadata, is there a way to add more? On the spreadsheet template, this is true. If you want to allow for more reviews, then you’ll need to enter the additional reviews via the UI or ONIX. We don’t have any current plans to allow for multiple reviews to be given through the spreadsheet.

Is EPUBcheck done on files created by other vendors, or just those converted through CoreSource?
Any EPUB that is ingested into CoreSource, including those from your system, your vendors, your partners, or CoreSource’s own conversions, will be checked against all versions of EPUBcheck, and results will be e-mailed back to you in the usual Ingestion Job notification.

Aside from Amazon Vendor Central reports, does CoreSource give any reports or information on bad formats?
For clients signed on to distribute to Amazon via eBOUND, any title that fails to import into the Kindle catalog will be tracked by our team, and any necessary corrections will be forwarded to you. We also audit our catalog to ensure that submitted titles are in fact live on Kindle, and any exceptions will be addressed. There are no CoreSource reports available at this time that tracks those exceptions on an ongoing basis per publisher.

For clients with a direct agreement with Amazon, any title that fails to import into the Kindle catalog will be the responsibility of the publisher, since they own the contract and relationship with Amazon. However, any failed title converted through CoreSource will be corrected ASAP—refer to your CoreSource Account Manager for any specific terms surrounding corrections.

What work-arounds do you suggest for books with inline math and charts?
Some publishers have utilized inline images to display inline math. Though this is not ideal, as long as the image quality is sufficient to read the math, it can present an acceptable customer experience.

Is there any way to add tag words to the metadata? I was told that keywords don’t convert to tag words. What does Amazon do with keywords anyway?
Publishers using ONIX can submit keywords via or using value 20 from ONIX Code List 26 and 27. Keywords can also be provided in the eBookBase UI, or the CoreSource ingestion spreadsheet via column “Keywords.” However, keywords are only one element in Amazon’s exceptionally complicated and sophisticated search algorithms, so they may or may not have the impact a publisher is hoping for.

What are the steps for submitting enhanced e-books for the Kindle Fire, including what is needed for the excerpt/Look Inside feature?
The audio/video elements of Kindle Editions with Audio and Video (KEAV) titles are not supported on the Kindle Fire at this time. Only iOS devices fully support KEAV at the current time.

For clients with direct Amazon agreements, the instructions on how to submit KEAV titles are included in the Kindle Program Guide (not the Publishing Guidelines). Because of the unique specifications and requirements for KEAV, these titles cannot be delivered through the eBookBase as can other eBook source content. If you wish to deliver a KEAV title, please coordinate delivery with your Technical Account Manager and Vendor Manager.