You want to sell your books on Google Play? Great. Although ‘books’ are not the first thing that come to my mind when I hear ‘Google’, the numbers don’t lie: the tech giants bookstore is one of the biggest ones worldwide (selling in 72 countries with a different market share everywhere on the world). With 81% of the phones bought last year running Android (and we are not even talking about tablets here!), it would be just silly not to publish there.
Publishing on Google Play, however, is not as easy as it first seems: knowing the pitfalls and the tricks could save you time, headache and money. Firstly, this article is for those of you who have just decided to go further than the Amazon – Barnes & Noble – iBooks triumvirate and are thinking about registration. And secondly, for those who are already selling there but want to learn some useful tricks and tips.
1. You don’t need an ISBN to publish on Google Play
Yes, that’s correct: if you always wanted to register but you didn’t want to go through the complicated and painful ISBN application process , we have good news for you: Google doesn’t care. If you don’t have an ISBN (or other accepted identifier), Google generates you a unique number, and you are good to go. (You can also use PUI, our identifier.)
2. You can offer free pdf preview on Google Books
Signing up to Google Play, you automatically sign up to Google Books as well. If you were living under a stone for the last twelve years: Google Books is a giant project aiming to scan every single book in the world and making them searchable. This would obviously violate some copyright laws, but publishers in the Google Books Partner Program can choose the percentage they are happy to display as a preview: it can be as much as the whole book! If you are signing up with PublishDrive, you agree to the 20% preview.
Why is this good for you? As google is officially a verb now meaning ‘to search’, it is not surprising that Google will do everything in their power to get your books to the top of the search results. This includes keywords and full text searching: if you have characters with a special name or are writing about a niche topic, chances are that readers will find your book. Win-win.
3. Google might discount your books, but still pays you based on list price
Most retailers have the right to discount your book as they please, and Google is not an exception. As for everything, there is a good side and a bad side to this. Discounting your book may sets off Amazon’s price matching system, so your books will be discounted there as well. On the other hand, though, Google Play will still pay you based on the list price.
4. You can’t sign up
Well, that’s a big turn off, isn’t it? Google has ‘temporarily’ closed registration of new publishers in 2015 (I guess we just have a different definition of time). The reasons for this are still unknown, and we all know that Google has a tendency to just scrap some products every now and again. (Do you remember the Reader? My heart still hurts.) We don’t think that there is a reason to fret though: Google Books is an amazingly popular product and is part of the philanthropic image that Google likes to convey, and Google Play is… well, it is a store. It makes money.
Although they are not open for new registrants, the doors to publish with Google are still not closed: several aggregators have a contract with GPB. Just sign up with PublishDrive – Google’s own uploading page was a nightmare anyway.
5. Changing aggregators
As it is currently impossible to sign up to Google directly, you will have to use an aggregator. Services like PublishDrive make your life easier when it comes to uploading your books or collecting revenues. If you want to change your aggregator (e.g. bring your books to us!), most processes happen in the background and you don’t need to worry about them. As you might expect, nothing is as easy as we want them to be: while most retailers allow you to withdraw your books from sale for a while without completely deleting them, Google does not. If you would like to change aggregator, make sure you click ‘Deactivate Completely’ or its equivalent on your aggregators page, or else your books will be visible in the Play store, but your potential readers won’t be able to buy them.
Have you ever published on Google Play? What is your experience? Drop us a comment! With the PublishDrive founders in Silicon Valley this month, we might be able to answer your questions. If you happen to be in San Francisco on the 31st of July, don’t hesitate to drop in to Kinga’s talk on the topic.