Google Play Books for self-publishing authors

We are at the letter G in our series on “Authors’ Tips – A to Z of Writing

If you’ve read the previous posts on the subject, you’ll recall that the eight of us – Devika Fernando, Preethi Venugopala, Paromita Goswami, Adite Banerjie, Ruchi Singh, Sudesna Ghosh, Saiswaroopa Iyer and I – are blogging on a myriad of writing-related topics with the topic corresponding to the Alphabet of the Week.

This week I’m going to talk about publishing on Google Play Books.

I’ve used Amazon KDP and Smashwords, and have always wondered about Google play Books so I thought I’d read up a bit about it.

In the words of a writer for the Independent Publishing Magazine:
“What more could a self-published author want? The world’s largest search engine combined with the world’s largest e-bookstore.”

Um…my research threw up some interesting findings and the chief one is that it isn’t as easy as all that.

Read the pros and cons before you take a call on whether to go the Google Play Books way in addition to publishing with your current crush.


1. You get a wide geographic reach and lots of visibility because Google Search indexes Google Play books and authors prominently.

2. The full text of your book is scanned. This means that every word of your story, and not just the title or the blurb, can be matched against the terms that potential readers are using to search Google with.

3. The app suggests books to Google Play users and thus allows them to discover new books and new authors.

4. If somebody searches for you or for your book on Google, she will automatically also find everything else that is out there: your book videos, your Goodreads page, and other retailers where your book features. This is great for your author brand and can help with book sales on retailers other than Google Play.

5. Google Play caters to a huge market of android users.

6. You don’t need an ISBN to publish on Google Play provided that you request (by selecting the appropriate box during book upload) for Google to assign a unique identifier of its own.

7. A free pdf preview can be offered to readers – usually not less than 20%.

8. Readers can pre-order your book if you set up the pre-order option.

9. Google probably will discount your books (at about 25%), but still pays you based on the price you listed originally.

10. Google supports the creation of an Author Page complete with pic, bio and list of all published books.

11. Google Play has no limits on the number and duration of free book promotions that you can offer.

12. A monthly revenue is paid out once the bank account has been verified.


1. You can’t directly sign up to publish on Google Play; you have to go through the Play Books Partner Center.

2. Google closes registration of new publishers every now and then. Here’s what the site currently says – “We’re currently accepting a limited number of new publishers to the Google Play Books Partner Program. You may express interest in joining the program through our online interest form.”

3. The Google Play Publishing Interface is reported to be clunky and not very logical in terms of navigation and ease of use.

4. You cannot preview the book during the publication process so you cannot check for errors. The thing you’d have to do is to use an android device to view the uploaded book and then go back to the computer to make changes as required.

5. You cannot have your book on Kindle Unlimited (KU) if you also publish it on Google Play Books because it needs to be exclusive to Kindle Direct Publishing in order to be available on KU.

6. You cannot temporarily unpublish your book but have to completely delete it.

7. The sales figures take time to update and take time to access.

8. Google Play discounts books to about 25% for its readers; thus, Amazon, thanks to its price matching system, may discount your books as well even if you don’t want the books to be discounted on Amazon.

9. You cannot read Google Play Books on your kindle since Amazon’s mobi format is not supported during the publishing process.

10. Since other self-publishing platforms (like Smashwords) do not distribute books to Google Play, you’d have to publish separately to both.

Here’s where you can learn some more about publishing on Google Play:

How to sell a book on Google Play: a checklist

Is Google Play Books worth it for self-publishing ebooks?

6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Publishing on Google Play

Amazon Kindle vs. Google Play: Things authors should consider

Google Play Books – Reviewed

What do you say?
Are you game to using Google Play Books as a platform to publish your next book?
Also, for those of you who are already using it, do share insights.

Read other posts related to Authors’ Tips – A to Z of Writing

4 thoughts on “Google Play Books for self-publishing authors

  1. Devika Fernando (@Author_Devika)

    Good pros and cons. My books are on GooglePlay (I registered a few years ago when they still accepted all authors). To counteract the discounted prices, I input a slightly higher price when uploading the books so the final one will be closer to Amazon’s price.

    1. Reet Singh

      That’s interesting! Thanks for the tip…
      How’s it working out for you, Devika? Which of the pros and which of the cons have you experienced?

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