How to Publish Books on Google Play! – Part 1

Google Play! logoSince publishing this Google has stopped signups. The theory is that they are going to revamp their system, which would be great. But they haven’t released any statements.

Google Play! Books is by far the hardest of the e-retailers to get published in. This isn’t because Google Play is more exclusive than other book stores, but simply because it is the hardest to actually navigate. It seems odd that the world’s largest app store can’t build a decent interface for selling books, but that seems to be the case.

To be fair, Google Play lags behind Amazon and iTunes for the much more lucrative movies and music as well. But considering Google’s pro-indie marketing and the sheer amount of resources they could put into a project if they wanted to, but it’s true. That said, Google has come a long way since I started selling books in 2011. It is now merely difficult instead half way to impossible.

This week, I will explain how to create a Google Play Books Partner account. Becoming a Partner is free and the first step towards that goal of getting your books listed in the Play Store. Next week, I’ll continue this tutorial to show you how to navigate the labyrinth (and mouthful) that is the Google Play Books Partner Center.

Getting started on Google Play! Books

Step 1: Sign In/Up

To start off, go to https://play.google.com/books/publish and sign into your Google account. If you live under a rock and don’t have a Google account yet (for GMail, YouTube, Drive/Docs, Play store, or any of Google’s million other products), create one now.

Once you are logged in, click on the “Sign up” link in the top right corner of the screen or the “Get started now” button in the middle of the screen.

Step 2: Create Publisher Account

On this screen, you will create your publisher account. This is the same as the Partner account that was mentioned earlier. Google simply didn’t take the time to make sure every page calls it the same thing.

Here you will enter your publisher name. If you don’t want to create your own publishing business and simply want to self-publish as yourself as the publisher, you can enter your own name instead. That said, I’d highly recommend creating a DBA (Doing Business As – meaning  “You Publishing” is just a name that you operate under, even though the company is legally just yourself) at the very least, if not an LLC.

Step 2 - Publisher Account - Google Play Books

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Next, use the drop down menu to select what country your bank account is in, so that you can get paid in the right currency. Third, check the box next to “I verify that I am either the copyright holder or authorized by the copyright holder for the titles I plan to submit.” Underneath is the option to signup for their newsletter. That is completely optional. Click the “Continue” button.

Step 3: Agree to TOS

On the next page, you have to read and accept the Terms and Conditions by scrolling down to the bottom and clicking the checkbox “I accept the above terms and am willing to associate my account with Google Play Books for the purpose of distributing book content” Click the “Continue” button.

Step 4: Add Payment Profile

A popup box labeled “Add Payment Profile” will open. Here, you will change your business location if the country listed is incorrect (chances are, you are located in the same country as your bank and this will be correct). Next, enter your legal business name. If you have created a DBA or an LLC and have a tax ID for your business, enter the business name here. If not, enter your own name as it appears on tax documents.

Step 4 - Payment Information - Google Play

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Contact name will be your name, however you wish to be called.  If your name on your tax documents is Caroline but use your middle name of  Danielle, enter Danielle. Third, enter your address. This can be your personal address, a PO Box, or the official address of whatever business you created. This isn’t publicly visible, so you don’t need to worry about readers coming to your house. Next, enter your/the business phone number. Finally, agree to the Terms of Service  and click the “Submit” button

Congrulations! You are now a Google Play Books Partner/Publisher. For most online book sellers, the signup step is probably the most intimidating, but for Google, this was the easy part. Tune in next week for Part II where I explain how to:

  • Add a book
  • Choose between formats
  • Figure out: do I really need an ISBN?
  • Upload a cover
  • Figure out how to beat Google at their infamous discounting.

The Google Play bookstore doesn’t sell a lot of books, at least not for indies. But if you have already decided to widely distribute your book with ebook retailers like Apple, Nook, Kobo, or Smashwords, then why not invest half an hour in getting your books there as well. Last year, Google Play accounted for a little over 3% of book sales for SEAM Publishing. That’s not a lot, but it is something, right?

What has kept you from publishing on Google Play? Is there a specific concern you would like addressed next week?

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