Introduction to ID3 Tags in Audiobooks

ID3 tags are fields that you can fill out to add metadata to an audiobook. They were designed with music in mind, so some of the field names (Artist, Composer, etc.) don’t always correspond. This resource discusses some approaches.

  • Subject(s):

    Audiobook Production, Metadata

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Suggested Prerequisites

Before reading this, you might want to read:

ID3 Tags

The standard embedding of data for MP3s are ID3 tags. An ID3 tag is a type of metadata container which is used to store information into a media file, like an MP3. 

Because MP3s are primarily focused on tagging music, the available fields (like Artist, Composer, etc.) will not all be directly applicable to your audiobook.

To make it as easy as possible to add metadata in your ID3 tags, you can follow these guidelines below. 

Note that different production softwares have varying ID3 tag options. Using a specific tagging application such as “Tag Editor Free” can be very useful.

Checklist for ID3 Tags in Audiobooks

Here are some approaches to audiobook ID3 tags — you can use it as a checklist, if you want!

ID3 Field (may be different, depending on your program)Use for:
Artist / Artist NameAuthor’s name (FirstName LastName)
Track / Track TitleName of section(i.e., Dedication; Chapter 1)
Album TitleName of book
Track NumberNumber in sequence for book sections (i.e., if this is for a Title Page then the Track Number is probably 01; if the first chapter is the 4th file in the book (after Title page, copyright, dedication) then it would be Track number 04
YearYear of production/audiobook copyright
CopyrightYear of publication of audiobook
Album ArtistNarrator (FirstName LastName)
ProducerProduction company
ComposerAudio technician
CommentsIf your program did not have all of the above fields, extra info can be added here, like “Narrator: Mary Jane”

Next Steps


Guidelines for Audiobook Metadata Including ID3 Tags

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External Links to More Information

Audiobook Recommendations for Publishers

This page shares NNELS’ guidelines for audiobook production. It has many suggestions for approaches to including things not typically present in commercial audiobooks, such as front and back matter, footnotes, and image descriptions. It also includes suggestions for file name and division conventions, and a little on making good quality audio recordings.

Ten takeaways about audiobooks & ONIX from EDItEUR

This article discusses all facets of working with ONIX metadata for audio titles. Including: what’s different in ONIX for audiobooks? And, how do you send good metadata for audio?