Listing Your Books With Google Play

A laptop faces the viewer with the words 'Listing Your Books With Google Play" superimposed on the dark background.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Although I was late to sell my books on Google Play, I’ve discovered that my books have sold well there.

I was a something of a skeptic about the chances of my success on Google Play or, really, any non-Amazon retailer.  My Nook sales (as, I think, everyone else’s) have been decreasing for years and I was never able to get much traction at Apple.

I’d also heard writers complain about problems with Google Play in the past. I’ve heard they deeply discount our books (without our approval) and then Amazon price-matches them. I’d also heard that they could be slow to pay.

Regardless, I decided to give it a go since I was also hearing positive things from other writers about their income through Google Play.

The first thing we should know is that the only way currently to get our books listed on Google Play is through a distributor.  We can’t list them directly at the retailer.

Our options right now are limited to StreetLib,  PublishDrive, and Pronoun (unless there’s another aggregator I don’t know about …anyone?)

You’ll, obviously, need to pick one of the distributors to upload to, to avoid any duplication.  StreetLib is just rolling out the ability to choose an individual price for each specific retailer–a cool feature that’s particularly important, as I’ll describe in a minute.

Although both aggregators are easy to use, PublishDrive  is probably slightly easier to upload to. And I like PublishDrive’s dashboard and sales reports better. PublishDrive has also announced that they will pay our royalties before they even receive them from the retailer (which, considering Google Play’s sketchy payment history, might be a consideration for any skittish writers).

I’m not currently using Pronoun, so can’t give any insight about their platform.  This Q&A between industry expert Jane Friedman and Justin Renard, head of Pronoun marketing, may be helpful to read if you’d like more information on them.

As far as pricing issues–it’s incredibly annoying of Google Play to reduce our book prices without our input. To circumvent this problem, I’m raising the prices of my books for that retailer to make sure that the discounted price is what I’m wanting it to be. A post on K-Boards some time ago offers tips for setting your prices. For example, if I want readers to pay $4.99 on Google Play, I set my price there for $6.48.

As I mentioned earlier, the problem with setting the price higher on a retailer like PublishDrive is that our prices will be high across the board there–so every other retail platform has steep prices for my books. That’s why I’m excited about StreetLib offering individual pricing for retailers (being rolled out now or very soon).

So a few hoops for me to jump through, but so far the payout has been definitely worth it.

Have you tried out Google Play recently? What were your results?

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17 thoughts on “Listing Your Books With Google Play

  1. I started listing on GooglePlay through Streetlib in September of 2016. My sales on the channel, even though they’re discounting my pricing, have been a thin trickle that grows only slightly larger each month.

    I had a Bookbub ad on March 1st for my permafree 1st in series. My Streetlib dashboard is showing marked improvement since that with several hundred copies of the free book given away on GooglePlay and multiple follow on sales. GP just needed a little push. Sustaining that momentum is going to be the harder thing.

  2. Yes, I used them many years ago (back when you could direct upload) and the price discounting was annoying, especially when Amazon matched and it took a while to figure out why. I finally pulled the books and closed the account – and never got paid. So I’d be real hesitant to try them again.

  3. Another innovation, Elizabeth, for which thanks! GP is certainly getting popular, and it’s reaching different sorts of audiences, so definitely worth consideration. I appreciate your sharing your experiences.

  4. Thanks for the info, Elizabeth! Wishing you continued success on these venues. I’m avoiding GP for now, because Kindle sales are my bread and butter, and I don’t want to risk my books being discounted in order to price match GP. StreetLib hasn’t sent me word yet about the beta program where you can set different prices for different venues.

    1. I can certainly understand that! I’ve got that ability for StreetLib now, but I understood it was a soft rollout…they were doing existing customers first, I think, taking care of any bugs, and then rolling it completely out. Hope they’ll finalize that soon!

  5. While I have put most of my books up to GooglePlay directly…having done this early enough to still have this right once they closed the door to new authors…I just put a new book up with them through Pronoun.

    I did this partly to get a feel for Pronoun as a distributor. But also because they promised that the price you give a book through Pronoun will not be discounted on GooglePlay.

    This is a nice feature, as is the fact that you can also get a book distributed directly through Amazon as well, and currently Pronoun doesn’t take any percentage for publishing your books. (Who knows how long that will last, so skeptic that I am, I’m not moving everything there.) But anyone who is trying to decide how to get their books into GooglePlay might really give Pronoun a try. The publishing process was very smooth.

    1. Thanks for this! I’ve heard some interesting things about Pronoun lately. And did I hear that they dropped the requirement that authors must distribute to Amazon through them?

      Very interesting to hear that they will control pricing on Google Play for writers who distribute through them. Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

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