Metadata and eBook Distribution

There are two "ebook ecosystems:" retail and institutional. The retail system includes the popular ebook portals (Kobo, Kindle, Apple and Google) which are ubiquitous, and which require publishers to set up accounts with multiple vendors and submit books and metadata according to their standards. Once a book is inserted into this system, it will be visible and available in that world. There are many blogs and sources of advice for gaining traction in that environment. 

The institutional ebook system is a different animal. Here, the online book prevails. To become visible in this system a book title needs to be ingested by the “library ecosystem,” which requires Enhanced PDF, MARC records, and the dissemination of metadata to cataloguing services like OCLC Worldcat as well as “Discovery Services” like SerialsSolutions and EBSCO Discovery. For Open Access books, there are additional discovery sites like the Directory of Open Access books (for peer-reviewed materials) and OAOpen.

To gain maximum exposure in both ecosystems, books need high quality metadata and MARC.


A set of basic metadata is required to complete a title submission. Metadata may be provided in either ONIX or Excel format. For Excel submissions, please use the template you can download here.

In either metadata format, there must be one record for each PDF. [Each record must contain the PDF-ISBN, and also the ISBN of the related print version (if it was issued in print).]

Required fields:



Print ISBN




Publication Date

 In the form YYYYMMDD, YYYYMM or YYYY.

Number of Pages


Optional Fields

The optional "more complete metadata form" provides fields to enhance your metadata with additional information, including those fields described below. Since metadata may be added or amended at any time, even after your book has been submitted, you may want to enter only the basics to get started. When the data entry is done, press "Save and Go to Submission Page." (Any errors on required fields will need correction before acceptance.) You may submit a cover image at this stage or wait until the book is in place. 

Submission Page

Here you select a PDF from your local storage and upload. New titles submitted through these modules will be visible on the desLibris interface in preview form within 24 hours. Newly-submitted titles must be designated with licensing rights before they are active and available for library viewing or purchase.

To set these rights for both desLibris and Canadian Electronic Library, go to the "Title Management" panel on your Publisher Dashboard.