Using HTML in Amazon Book Descriptions

This is a post for those of you who have self-published on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or are planning to do so.

KDP requires a Product Description for each book. This is the equivalent of the blurb on the back of a traditional book and it is very important in selling the book. These short paragraphs help readers decide whether or not to buy the book. Therefore the product description must be set out in an easy to read format. This is not as straightforward as it sounds because Amazon doesn’t provide any formatting options within the box where the the product description is keyed i.e. it’s not possible to use bold or italics or bullet points. This means the product descriptions of many self-published books appear flat and uninteresting.

But there is a way to slip formatting into the product description and thus make it more attractive. HTML can be used. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and is the standard markup language for web pages. DO NOT GLAZE OVER OR RUN AWAY! This is simpler than it sounds.

For example, to make the word ‘thriller’ appear in bold in a product description, use <b> and </b> immediately before and after ‘thriller’.

And, to make the word ‘scare’ appear in italics, use <i> and </i> immediately before and after ‘scare’.

Put ‘A <b>thriller</b> guaranteed to <i>scare</i>.’ in the product description box and it will appear as ‘A thriller guaranteed to scare.’ on the Amazon page.

It’s also possible to use HTML to underline, create lists and give other text effects. This page lists the HTML acceptable in the product description.

To complicate matters, when publishing in paperback through KDP, the product description has a tendency to lose the line breaks. Use <br> to manually indicate where the line breaks should go and use <br> <br> to create a blank line between paragraphs.

Why not experiment with HTML to liven up your book descriptions?


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  1. #1 by Helen Baggott on April 26, 2019 - 10:12 am

    When I need HTML content, I type it into a draft Blogger post and then click on the HTML tab and copy that. It saves having to remember the code for italics, bold, etc.

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on April 26, 2019 - 6:47 pm

      What a brilliant idea, Helen! I think it might work the same way in WordPress too. Must try that next time I’m doing a product description. Thanks!

  2. #3 by Q G S Publishing on April 27, 2019 - 5:15 am

    Excellent information, Sally. Thank you.

  3. #5 by susanjanejones on April 28, 2019 - 8:11 pm

    Really useful as I have a couple of things in mind to catch up with- thank you 🤗

  4. #7 by juliathorley on April 30, 2019 - 1:05 pm

    Good knowledge, Sally. Thanks for sharing this.

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on April 30, 2019 - 3:04 pm

      No problem, Julia. Glad people are finding it useful. Was worried some might have zoned out at the mention of html!

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