Since customers can't feel and examine items before making a purchase decision, they rely on colorful descriptions to inform them. This lends itself well to books, which are often sold based on the "description" on the inside flap.The threat of duplicate content penalties makes it imperative to write descriptions that summarize the unique elements of a book without blatantly copying the manufacturer's synopsis.

Product description basics

Many product descriptions include a list of the features and benefits, but this isn't as necessary for books. Whether it's a physical copy or an e-book, readers are more concerned with the content inside it. The description needs to be intriguing enough for shoppers to add the book to their carts and proceed to the checkout.

Journalists rely on who, what, when, where, why and how to craft stories, and these same questions should be asked when writing product descriptions. Though when and where are not as relevant for books, here's how some of these questions relate specifically to book descriptions:

  • Who: What is this audience for this particular book? This is dictated by the type of book. For example, cookbooks, children's stories and mystery novels all appeal to different groups. Who the book is meant for can be determined by age group, gender or lifestyle interests.
  • What: What is the book about? Give a description that informs readers of what to expect, but don't give too much away.
  • Why: Why should people read this book instead of any other? This aspect of the description depends on the context of the book. Is it fiction, a school textbook or a fitness guide? This informs the why of the description.
  • How: This is more applicable for some books than others. Are there problems readers are looking to solve? How does this book address them?

Determining the right format for book descriptions

In addition to including all the above information in the description, ecommerce stores need to choose the best format. The information needs to be arranged in a way that draws readers in, as well as conveys all the details. While many other ecommerce descriptions utilize bullet points for readability, book descriptions need to tell a story. Bullet points aren't as engaging for this purpose, unless there are specific features or benefits to describe.

Depending on the book, a conversational tone may be appropriate. Incorporate keywords when they fit. This adds search engine optimization value. If customers are looking for a certain type of book, but don't have a specific product in mind, keywords guide them toward the page. Adding user reviews to the pages bolsters readers trust in the book. Because novels and literature are often subjective, this helps customers feel confident in their purchases. It's important to consider what the audience for a particular book prefers.

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