Google Play and Google Books offer another platform for authors to sell their books on.
Google Books is the world’s largest repository of out-of-print and current books. Readers can search through millions of books looking for information on a particular subject, and Google Books will show them the pages in your book that contain the search terms they are looking for. Everyday readers, researchers, and authors turn to Google Books to find answers to their research questions.
When you list your book on Google Books, it can open it up to an entirely new audience.
Google Play is Google’s version of Kindle or the iStore. They deliver books to readers who use their Android-based platform. You can check out Google Play here https://play.google.com/store.
To get started listing your books on Google go to https://play.google.com/books/publish/. If you’re not signed up for the Google Partners Program, you will need to sign up for it first.
At the top of the browser page, it says Google Play in the upper left corner. Below that you will see four tabs – Book Catalog, Analytics & Reports, Payment Center, and Account Settings.
Book Catalog is where you add new books. Select the Add Books tab, and follow the prompts. A pop-up screen will ask you for a book identifier (ISBN). Type in your book’s ISBN. If it doesn’t have an ISBN click on the box below that. Click ok, and you will be taken to the next screen.
If Google can locate your book in its database, it prepopulates all of the screens with the information available. If Google doesn’t find your book, you will need to fill in all of the information. Where it asks for a biographical note, I paste in my Amazon author bio. Below that is a section labeled subjects. Use it to add categories for your book. Age groups lets you target different groups your book will appeal to.
If the description doesn’t pre-populate, copy and paste it from Amazon. When you are done filling in all of the info, click on save at the top of the page.
Click on Google Play Settings in the left-hand column. The first thing you’re asked is to add a new price. Click on Add a new price. Type in the currency your book is priced in (For example US Dollars is USD). In the next box, you need to type in the price (example 3.99). Finally, you’re asked to choose the location for that price. To make it easy, use “World.” If you have different prices for different locations, you would need to add each of them separately. Follow through the rest of the prompts on this page. If you are unsure how to answer hover your mouse over the question mark and it will guide you through answering the question. Click on save at the top of the page.
Click on Google Book Settings in the left-hand column. The first question asks you to select the preview type or the percentage of your book you want to make available to readers. Twenty percent is the default, or you can choose another preview amount from twenty to one hundred percent. If you have the book available for sale directly from your website, fill in the buy link text and buy link, otherwise, leave these lines blank. The publisher link is the link to your publisher website if you have one, otherwise, leave this line blank. You can also upload a publisher logo if desired. Click on save at the top of the page.
Click on Content Files in the left-hand column. This is where you upload your book files. Your book file needs to be uploaded in PDF or epub formats. The cover should be uploaded as a JPEG. At the bottom of this page, you have the option to upload a list of Quality Reviewers. To add someone as a quality reviewer, they must have a Google account. Click on Add, and enter their email address. Click ok, and continue doing this to add more reviewers. When you are finished click the save button at the top of the page. Your quality reviewers will be able to access your book on their PCs or on their reading devices.
Reports / Payment Center / Account Settings
I want to briefly outline the other three selections you see under Google Play in the far left column of your screen.
Analytics and reports lets you pull up reports regarding your book traffic and sales. The most irritating thing about Google is they don’t provide a sales dashboard where you can quickly review your sales and earnings. Each time you want to check sales you need to generate a new report and download it as an Excel spreadsheet. Can you say irritating? Hopefully, the folks at Google will figure this one out and make it more “user-friendly.”
The information in payment center needs to be completed before your books can go live on Google Play and Google Books. To get started, click on the payment center tab. Click on Add Payment profile. Give your payment profile a name, and fill in the information asked for – name, address, etc.
The first thing you need to do is set up your payment settings. By default, you are set up to receive monthly payments with a $1.00 payment threshold. You can change your payment threshold to another dollar amount, or you can have Google hold your payments for a specified period (up to one year).
After you’ve completed this step, click on Add new bank account. Before you can finish setting up your bank account, you need to wait for Google to make a test deposit to your account. When you see the deposit has been made to your account, click on Add new bank account again to verify the deposit amount.
Next, you need to click on billing profile. Click on edit, and scroll down to tax profile. Enter your tax information in the online W9 form.
Scroll down to sales territories. Click on add a territory. Select a payment profile from the drop down menu. In the choose territories section most often you will type in “world.” If you only hold rights in certain areas, click on the question mark and it will tell you how to set up individual territories. If you’re subject to fixed pricing laws in any of the countries, put a check mark in the box. If not, leave this box blank. Click on enable this region configuration, and select create territory.
The final section is Account Settings. Use it to ensure your contact information is correct, or to make any changes.
From signing up to verifying my account to listing my first books, it took about seven days for my books to begin showing up in Google Play and Google Books.
Royalty rates and payments
I couldn’t find any mention of royalties in the Google Play FAQs. When I searched for it in their help section, it said there were no help pages for that topic. I don’t know about anybody else, but that sort of scares me.
FYI: I sold my first book on Google Play three days after it went live. I set my list price at $4.99. Google discounted it to $3.60. They paid an after-tax royalty based on a $3.00 selling price, so my royalty figured out to $1.56, or 52 percent. Lesson learned: Add at least $2.00 to your selling price to ensure you receive the royalty you were expecting. The end result is I made fifty cents less than I would have received selling the same book for $2.99 on Amazon.
The good news is Google pays thirty days after sales are made, not sixty days like Amazon and Barnes and Noble so you will receive your payments sooner. I made six sales my first month. My second month I sold twelve books, so I’m not going to strike it rich, but over time as I move my bestselling books out of Amazon exclusivity I expect these sales to pick up.