Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Should I Sell My Books Through Google Play and Google Books?

Google has revamped their old Google Books Partner program to enable self published writers to upload their books onto their platform in both Google Books and Google Play. After uploading my books on Google’s digital platform, have found some pros and cons on using Google Books Partners for selling my books.

The Difference Between Google Play and Google Books

Google play is basically a digital platform comprising a choice of uploads centered upon hobbies and leisure for Android-powered handsets and computers. Similar to its former Android Market, forms of entertainment include apps (games and gadgets), ebooks, movies/TV, music and magazines. Google Play is a unified shop where customers may upload various modes of entertainment from one store.

Selling Books on Google
Google Books, formerly known as ‘Google Print’ has been around longer than Google Play. As well as commercially available books, this program comprises scanned images of books that are out of print or no longer commercially available. Google Books can be viewed on most computers as well as Androids.

How to Use Google Play Books Partner Center

I have written a separate article offering guidance on how to upload ebooks onto the Google Partner Program. Personally I have found the dashboard tricky. For instance, if something is amiss, the dashboard will simply say that action is needed or not live without informing on the problem. Some guesswork is often required. You will also need quite a lot of information handy on your books for filling in each field.

Creating an Epub File for Google

Uploading books onto KDP Amazon and Smashwords is easy compared to Google Play-Books. For one thing, you have to upload an Epub, not a Word document or a zip file for conversion. This means uploading software onto your computer. I used Callibre, which is good for converting most file formats. I also found necessary the upload of another program called Adobe Digital Editions which will display how your book will look when read by digital ereaders.

Selling Your Books on Google Play

Despite looking extensively, I could not determine the book royalties the author will earn from the Google Play Books Program FAQ, but the figure 52% has been reported from other writers who have sold books through Google Books/Play. Not an attractive figure when compared to Amazon (70%) or Smashwords (between 60 – 85%). 

Another problem to be aware of is pricing your book. A higher price may have to be set in order to earn the same royalties as the other ebook platforms offer. Google also discounts book to around three-quarters of the list price set, which could be ‘price matched’ by Amazon. To avoid this, add a quarter of the price wished for to the list price field. In my case, I wanted one of my ebooks to sell for $5. I would therefore put it up for around $6 within the book dashboard. All these factors do not bode too well for the writer trying to make sales from ebooks.

How to Make Google Books Work for the Writer

Reports indicate that sales are not that good on Google Books/Play, but may not remain this way for long. Google Play is a big presence and self published writer may ignore it at their peril. Uploading your books onto Google Play Books mean your books become more visible and easier to find by Google searches. Being more visible means more sales could be generated in the long run. Google Books/Play also offers an additional sales channel.

Writer’s Guide to Gbook Marketing

Enrolling for the Google Book Partner program has its drawbacks and advantages. Creating an Epub and completing the book dashboard is not straightforward. The royalties aren't as good as other epublishers, and Google will discount your books without notice. Bear these factors in mind when pricing your book. Having said this, the Google Play/Books partner is a big presence on the Net and could be used to make your books more visible.

More Articles on Self Publishing

How to publish your books on Google Play
Create a book in large print
How to claim tax refund on royalties
Sell your books as an affilliate


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    1. Glad you found it to be of help. Book publishing can be quite a complex business! Will keep updating

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