Uploading Your Book to the Google Play Store

googleplay booksWhenever I visit various independent author forums, I’m bound to stumble across a handful of people who say they make most of their profits selling online with someone other than Amazon (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.). Most recently, a person posted that they earned 50 percent of their sales from the Google Play store.

So, I decided to head on over and set up my books for Google Play. (Surely my audience is over at Google Play; that’s why they’re not buying the books via Amazon).

There is one important thing you need to know before you sign up for Google Play: they heavily discount your price. Unless you set your book at 99 cents, Google Play will change the price. This wonderful Kindle Boards post gives a chart explaining what price you need to set your book on Google Play to get it to be one of the standard U.S. prices. For example, you must set your Google Play price to $3.94 if you want it to sell for $2.99.

If you don’t want to play this pricing game, however, Google Play is not the store for you. It’s important to get your book price set correctly to avoid price-matching by Amazon (if a customer reports your book is priced lower at another site, Amazon will automatically lower your price to match it).

Now, to get your book set up on Google Play, it’s a process pretty similar to other booksellers. First, you go to this site: https://play.google.com/books/publish. Navigation for the site is on a panel on the left.GooglePlaydashboardYou want to click on Book Catalog, then Add Book. A screen will pop up asking you if you have an ISBN. Fill this in if you have your own ISBN (not one issued by a distributor like Smashwords or Createspace). Otherwise, check the box that you don’t have one, select the default template and create your book.

Google_play_add_a_new_bookThis will open up a new window with its own 4-section navigation pane: General Details, Google Play Settings, Google Book Settings and Upload Content files.

Most of this is pretty straightforward. Just fill in the information they’re asking for. The only tricky part was setting the price (under Google Play Settings). You click Add price, then it asks you for the currency code, but gives you no guidance on what to put. After Googling currency codes, I put in a three-digit numerical code for US currency and that was rejected. I finally determined the code they wanted for the American dollar was USD. It seems obvious in retrospect but it’s the step I got caught up on. If you click the little down arrow on the price screen, it offers you an option that seems cool (but I haven’t tried): letting you give a date range for when you want your book a certain price.

You should check the box to have Google automatically configure international currencies using the base currency you chose.

Once you’ve finished including your book information, you’ll need to fill out the remaining tabs, which have to do with collecting the information needed to get paid. Then you can click to publish your book.

Amazon clearly understands what information authors want and does a great job at providing it. Google Play is a bit archaic. You can’t simply view your sales. The only way to access sales data is to download it to your computer. Also, Google Play doesn’t send you confirmation emails letting you know your book is on sale or price changes are complete. While some complain that on KDP you have to republish your book each time you make a change, that process generates an automatic email letting you know when changes are complete. With Google Play, no such luck. You just have to check and see.

Google Play changes seem to be on par with the time it takes for Nookpress to make changes. I recently changed the price on Google Play for a sales promotion and it took about 12 hours for the change to go live on the site. For the purpose of writing this tutorial, I added a fake book to Google Play, so I wanted to remove it once I’d finished writing. If you ever find you want to remove a title, simply go to the Book Catalog page and click on the title you wish to remove. You should then get a screen that has labels at the top right. Click on the label that says “Live on Google Play” (if it’s a book you’ve already published) or “Needs Action” (if you haven’t yet published). That is the screen that gives you the option to remove your book from the Google Play store.

While I was excited to add another sales channel to the mix, I have not seen any sales through the Google Play store since adding my books.

[Got questions? We did. And there’s no way RJ could answer them all here today. So we’re running a tutorial tomorrow (April 29th) at 9 a.m. Pacific time to help take some more of the mystery out of this platform. Stay tuned! – the Admins]

Author: RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist turned novelist. By day, she writes thrillers with a touch of romance. By night, she practices the art of ninja mom. To learn more about her or her books, visit her website or her Author Central page.

24 thoughts on “Uploading Your Book to the Google Play Store”

  1. Nice post, esp glad you put the link to the post about what prices to use to get the price you want after discounts.

    I’ve had a few sales via Google, but haven’t added more books for awhile. You’ll have to do a follow up re any sales you get! Best wishes, thanks!

    1. Thanks Felipe. I haven’t checked my Google Play sales recently, but I’ll fillow up if I notice strong sales. Unfortunately, the Google Play sales report leaves a lot to be desired. There’s no quick way to glance at sales data for the current or past month (like on KDP).

    1. Thanks, Yvonne. The pricing thing is an issue when authors post their books unaware Google is going to slash the price. I’ve found the pricing chart to be accurate, so you likely wouldn’t have problems if you followed it. However, I can see why Google’s price slash policies give people second thoughts. You wouldn’t want Google to change its mind and suddenly slash the price even more. I think the site would be a more author friendly if it told authors the price cut it intends to make when authors entered pricing information (similar to the way Create Space shows how much they’ll earn through each distribution channel based on the price they set). That way, authors could make informed choices, rather than having to rely on internet posts by authors willing to share what they’ve learned through trial and error.

    1. I’m glad it was of some help, Melinda. Google Play has gotten a reputation among authors as being a difficult place to upload books to (and rightly so), but I think enough pioneering souls (I’m thinking of the lovely author who wrote the pricing post I linked to) have forged ahead and left a trail of breadcrumbs for the rest of us to follow if we’re interested in trying out Play

  2. Thank you RJ. I’m going to bookmark the price chart for future reference.

    On a related note, I’ve found the whole pricing thing to be a bit of an arcane science. I have one book – my first (hopefully not the last). I’ve read a few posts, here and there, about different price strategies, changes in KDP algorithms, etc. and it just adds to the confusion. It seems odd to me to sell a print book for $15, my normal price, and then turn around and offer e-versions for 99 cents.

    Might I suggest the topic e-pricing for one of you with vastly more experience than myself in this quagmire.

    1. John,

      Thanks for bookmarking the page.

      I think with ebook vs. print prices, the real issue is the cost of printing. Most indie writers use a print on demand service, and it costs at least $2.50 to print a book on CreateSpace, and you have to give Amazon a 50 percent break on your list price, so you have to charge a minimum o $5 to break even (on the shortest book). On an average-sized book, you’re talking probably $4.00 in printing cost, so a minimum of $8 to earn nothing for Amazon only sales. If you want expanded distribution, you have to raise the price more (at least $9 to earn nothing), so if you want a profit, even minimal, you’re in the $10 range, so it’s easy to see how print prices can get high quickly. I think a lot of readers prefer the low prices, and therefore opt for ebooks.

      Traditional publishers have print costs advantages because they do actual print runs, which lowers the cost per book. They’re also not selling to individuals, where they have to add costs so they make a profit on each book they print.

  3. I’m using Vook.com to track all of my sales in one place, and they include Google Play (although I’m not listed there yet, but will be!). The sales tracking service is free for up to 10 books.

    1. Bob, I’ve never used Vook for sales tracking. That sounds interesting. Are they requesting your log-in information or they using algorithms based on sales rank data?

      1. They’re using your login credentials, so they’re pulling the actual data. It’s live for everything but KDP, which gets pulled weekly.

        From their Account Settings page:

        A note about privacy and security:
        Our sales tracker works by rendering the data from your retailer accounts in our easy-to-use dashboard. We never share your sales information with anyone and your accounts are completely secure. For more information about how we protect your data, you can read our Privacy Policy. We follow industry best practices, including encrypting all credentials and sensitive communications using industry-standard encryption. “

        1. Thanks for letting me know. Not sure I’ll do that. I’m old school in the “never give out your password” way. I’m sure it’s a great feature to have, as logging into multiple sales report is time consuming. Luckily, I only have a couple.

          1. The more I explore the Google Books setup, the more I’m looking forward to the tutorial. Will it be a post-and-comment blog piece? The Day Job is 3d shift, so I’ll be asleep at 9.

            My main issue is figuring out what to do with separate editions. I have a Kindle edition with ASIN only, and a paperback through CreateSpace with my $10 ISBN. I’m not clear if that means 2 entries in the book catalog or what.

  4. Thank you. DIdn’t know about Google Play.
    WIll get the co-operative to have a ‘play’ and see if we can use it (not techy!) and boost a few sales.

    I really appreciated the link to the prices. And blessing on her kind head for taking the time to put it all otgther I hope she received a lot of thank you sales.

    1. Absolutely! She rocked the Google info by figuring out how the price slashing worked and sharing.

      Good luck when you sign on to Google Play.

    1. Wait-and-see is a fine mode. Google Play will be ready and waiting, if you decide to use it. Maybe it will even have a more user friendly interface by then.

  5. Thanks for this articles, I just noticed the price thing and was trying to figure out what was going on. Hopefully Google will revamp this with a better user interface in the future.

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