Children’s Ebook Metadata: Age Ranges

Parents, librarians, booksellers are always on the look out for children’s books, but here’s the thing, parents, librarians, and booksellers are picky. So, how do you convince these buyers that your juvenile title is for their kids? An almost mandatory place to start is age range.

Different Types of Ranges:

Interest Age: Book is intended for specific ages.

Grade Age: For titles you wish to be considered for educational settings, including an estimated grade range (US and CA grade levels) is useful.

Reading Age: Assessment of interest age vs. reading level (i.e. a book with content that would appeal to a certain age group, but only requires the reading ability of a younger grade, or  vise versa). Optional.

Interest, Grade, and Reading range for your juvenile titles should always be included. But how do you get this information across? It’s all in the metadata! Below, we’ve broken down how you can express the required metadata in both the CoreSource Metadata Template and in ONIX.

For either metadata option there are two required fields and two optional fields. The two required fields are BISAC code(s) and audience range, while the two optional fields are series name and character names. We recommend taking advantage of all four fields (if applicable), as the more robust your metadata is, the more discoverable it will be to readers.

Marketing note: Keep your reading/interest/grade ranges narrow (2 – 4, 5 – 8, Grades 4 -6, etc.) NEVER use an age range of 0 – 99, for two reasons:

  1. There is no book in this world that appeals to every single reading level. A seasoned reader at the age of 69 is not going to pick-up The Cat in the Hat and enjoy it in the same manner as they would at 5.
  2. You’re alienating your audience. Parents, librarians, booksellers know there isn’t a book that appeals to/is accessible to every single reading level and may be wary of any book that claims to be. This is not a “challenge accepted” type of situation. Please refrain from this practice.

CoreSource Metadata Template

Required Metadata

  • Juvenile BISAC codes: It’s required to set juvenile BISAC codes in your metadata. That means setting a code that is either JUV, JNF, YAF, or YAN to indicate that it’s juvenile or young adult, under “Subject Categories.”
  • Audience Range: We recommend that you complete as much of the “Education Market Descriptions” fields as you can, but the essential fields are “Audience/Readership,” “Min Age,” and “Max Age.”

Optional Metadata

  • Series Name: Often, children’s picture books or YA novels are part of a series, and it would greatly help discoverability to express this information in the “Title Details” section by including “Series Name” and “Series Number” data.
  • Character Names: You can also include the main character name(s) from your books. This can be done in the “Additional Descriptive Content” section by choosing “ING_98 Master brand name” under “Text Content Type” and then in the “Text Content or Link” column enter the name(s).

ONIX Metadata

Required Metadata

    • Juvenile BISAC codes: Please use Juvenile BISAC codes in your ONIX metadata, these codes begin with either JUV, JNF, YAF, or YAN.
    • Audience Range: At minimum, you should include Interest Age (Audience Range Qualifier 17) for your kids’ or teen titles. You may send a minimum age “From” (03), a maximum age “To” (04), an “Exact” age (01), or a range (“From” and “To”): For example, the following composite tells us that this title is for Interest Ages 6+:

<AudienceRangeQualifier>17</AudienceRangeQualifier> (Code list 30)
<AudienceRangePrecision>03</AudienceRangePrecision> (Code list 31)

Optional Metadata

  • Series information: You can express series metadata in the appropriate Series or Collection fields of ONIX 2.1 and ONIX 3.0.
  • Character names:
    • ONIX 2.1: Other text type code ( or ) 98 is Master brand name. You can send a main character name for your titles in an composite with TextTypeCode 98.
    • ONIX 3.0: Title element level ( or ) 5 is Master brand. You can send a main character name for your titles in a composite using TitleElementLevel 5.


Latest Resources