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Selling on Amazon

How to Create a Product Detail Page
in the Catalog

by Kristian Strom

#150, 22 November 2010

To create a Product Detail page in the catalog, you must be a registered seller with a Pro Merchant account, which costs $39.95 a month. If you are currently selling or plan to sell at least 40 or 50 items a month on a consistent basis, this account will pay for itself with the elimination of the $.99 per item seller fee. If you are not a Pro Merchant seller, you cannot list items not already in the Amazon catalog.

Don't worry; we'll get to the Camel Management and Diseases book I currently have listed at $995.

At the request of a new bookseller with a question about this very subject, I am writing this post as a tutorial on creating a Product Detail Page in the online retail catalog. Every so often, a bookseller will come across a book for which there is no Product Detail Page, meaning there are no results when you are trying to find a book using the Advanced Search Feature (any book lacking an ISBN number should be found using the Advanced Search feature at the top left hand corner of any page after doing a more general book search using "Search All Departments>Books"). If the results come up empty after conducting an Advanced Search, this usually means either:

  1. You made a typographical error when searching for the book. Double check your search terms to make sure everything is spelled correctly (sometimes it helps to spell out a number in the title).

  2. The book is available exclusively through an International website like,, or (Amazon's International sites in Germany, Canada and France). Be aware, there are certain books and Import CDs (especially Opera/Classical) that already have Product Detail Pages on the International Sites and cannot be listed on the Amazon US site.

    Or ideally,

  3. There is in fact no bookseller on Amazon with a copy of this particular book available. This is not a problem; in fact, it is a blessing in disguise. However, before you start jumping for joy, you should do a more comprehensive search via and Abebooks to determine if there are comparable copies available elsewhere in cyberspace. If no copies turn up doing targeted searches on these websites, you may have something. Unfortunately, you're still not ready to celebrate. If the book is a collection of poems written by your Aunt Gertrude or a WWII memoir by your Grandfather Eugene, this does not mean that the book has a high retail value, or is in high demand. In the cases of the aforementioned poetry collection and the self-published memoir, the copies may only have significant value around a table at a family reunion.

If, on the other hand, you have a copy of a book like the one pictured above: Camel Management and Diseases, published in 2004 by Dar Ammar Book Publisher of Baghdad, Iraq, then you may be onto something. This 455-page reference volume, complete with plenty of photographs, is the most comprehensive and authoritative veterinary reference manual on, well, camels. Before I created a listing last week, there were no copies available via Amazon, BookFinder or Abebooks. I'm not sure what the #1 bookselling website is in Iraq, but I'm going to assume I have a relatively scarce book which I predict there to be at least a reasonable amount of demand for - among the right audience, of course. This book might sit untouched on the shelf for years at a used bookstore here in Wichita, Kansas, but I have no doubt that there is a wealthy camel herder on the outskirts of Baghdad who is just waiting to purchase this book as soon as it becomes available online. At least I'm hoping so.

Now, on to a more reasonable case study, and here I will walk you through the steps of creating your first Product Detail Page. This is something you want to learn how to do correctly from the start, as you will hopefully be doing it often, but most importantly, because Amazon's catalog is already a bit of a jumbled nightmare and you don't want to contribute to the mess. Your goal is to create a clean, properly punctuated, spell-checked and search-friendly listing, complete with photographs and bibliographical information that will ultimately lead to the sale of your book.

So here we have Kansas Farmboy, by Sidney DeVere brown and recently purchased at a local estate sale for $2. I know what you're thinking already - How is this any different from Grandpa Eugene's WWII memoirs? Well, the truth is, it's not much different. Sometimes a bookseller just gets a gut feeling about a book, and can tell a marked difference about the potential of a poorly bound memoir in stapled wrappers with text printed on a copy machine versus a well bound hardcover volume set and designed at an actual printing press with an attractive dust jacket, high quality photographs and footnotes in the text. In other words, this Kansas farmboy knew a little something about the publishing business and what it takes to make an attractive memoir.

Let's get to the steps already:

  • Step 1: Log in to your Seller Account at Amazon.

  • Step 2: Click on the "Create a Product Detail Page" link under "Manage Your Inventory."

  • Step 3: Classify your new product. Browse for your product's category, which more often than not in our case will be "Books." I have also had some success creating product detail pages for CDs, although with the advent of almost any obscure CD becoming available via MP3 format, I find myself doing this less and less for music each day.

  • Step 4: Add this Product to the Catalog. Here are the meat and the potatoes of the process. I like to think of it as the fun part too, where I get to contribute my expertise and attention to detail to the catalog.

*Indicates a required field.

  1. Seller SKU - I personally avoid this step, as I have separate inventory management software that generates SKUs automatically, but this is where you would input that information for your reference.

  2. *Required Contributors - Author, Editor, Illustrator, Translator, etc. I recommend entering as many as possible, as anytime a search is conducted for a certain author/illustrator your copy will come up. In the case of my book, I entered Author: Sidney DeVere Brown and Editor: Dana Levy, as she as listed on the rear flap of the jacket and credited for the jacket and book design.

  3. *Title - Kansas Farmboy: A Memoir of Boyhood and Youth 1925-1952. Make sure to include the subtitle after the use of a colon. Capitalization is crucial here as well. Please, please, pretty please DO NOT USE ALL CAPS. Try and use caps just as they are shown on the book itself. Amazon will give you a chance to amend your caps when you finally do submit the form, and I would recommend you take a good luck at their suggestions. I do ignore them at times. Here are additional instructions from Amazon on this step: "The full text of the product title, including subtitle if applicable. Please include only the title in this field. You will have the chance to enter values for Edition and Series information separately."

  4. *Publication Date - 2008. For all of the new booksellers, make sure to use the most recent date of publication and not the original date of publication. And don't confuse copyright dates with publication dates. A more recent copyright date than the original date of publication on the copyright page, for example, implies that a more recent publication date exists, but this date may differ from the copyright date itself. However, having said this, make sure you are not wasting time adding a 1947 reprint of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds to the catalog when a 1945, 1946 and 1948 reprints are readily available. That is just my humble opinion.

  5. ISBN Number - not applicable in my case. If your particular book includes an ISBN, this is your chance to include it. If your book does not have an ISBN, do not worry, as this is not a required field. Make sure you give the copyright page, rear-flap, last page of text, etc., a good look-see before giving up on ISBN numbers. I have found them hiding somewhere in the late stages of listing a book only to then find 18 copies already listed on starting at $12.99. There is no quicker way to make a contented bookseller frown.

  6. ISBN 13 - N/A. For recently published books.

  7. Series Title - N/A. You can read their Star Wars example.

  8. Series Volume - N/A. It is a rare occurrence that I create pages for books that are part of a series.

  9. Edition Number - N/A. I typically save this information for my personal product description, as most books I list using this function had only a single printing.

  10. Binding - Hardcover. Choose the appropriate binding from the drop down menu. There are some interesting choices here, like Foam and Microfiche. I do use the Plastic-comb and Ring-bound options frequently, as I feel it is important to distinguish between these and a simple softcover binding.

  11. Publisher - Perpetua Press. Although they are not mentioned on the copyright page, they are mentioned on the rear-flap of the dustjacket. In most cases, the publisher is clearly stated, although there are also plenty of self-published books, for which you can either leave this field blank or enter "Self-Published."

    There, now double check all of the fields, the spelling of names, your choice of binding, and then submit the form by clicking "Continue." Any required fields you forgot to include need to be filled out before you can go on to the next step.

  12. Enter Additional Product Information by clicking on the plus sign next to "Your Product Information." Scroll down to "Your Product Details: Recommended" and "Your Product Details: Optional." Here is where I typically include a photograph, a page count (341) and the language (English) in which the book was written.

For the best tutorial I have read to date on photographing books, go here. The photographs (up to 9 per product) must be entered from a hard drive and not via a URL. A separate browser will open to complete this step and upload your JPEG or GIF file. You can choose to "Close this Window" once you have completed this step, and then add any other product information or a description (an excerpt from the dust jacket) you may wish to include. I typically save some of this information for my individual product listing to help set my descriptions apart from the crowd.

Congratulations, you have now created your first Product Detail Page! You can now complete your listing description, a step I complete later in my inventory management software. Here is my description, just in case you were wondering: "2008 Perpetua Press. 341pp, bound in blue cloth boards. Good/Fine. This hardcover copy, in an as-new dust jacket, has had the front free endpaper removed from the text block. The book appears to have never been handled apart from this, and remains in excellent reading condition. The text is clean and unmarked, and the binding is sturdy and intact. A relatively scarce account of one man's life growing up on the plains of Kansas. Contents include: Bloomington School, Oil: The Brown Gushers, Wheat Farming during the Depression, Augusta High School, Southwestern College, Truman's Washington, The University of Wisconsin and much more. Also includes many photographs in black and white. 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed. We ship orders daily and securely with delivery confirmation."

Once you have completed your item description (a process you should have been through many times by now), your item will appear available for sale in a very short time, usually within 24 hours.

I will figure out when my copy of Kansas Farmboy becomes available and will report back to everyone. I will also be glad to report back to you on when it sells!

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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