A month ago, Google announced the new “Discover” feature on Google Play books. This new recommendation option is only one more reason to publish books on Google Play. As described by Android’s official blog, this new feature will give Google Play users the opportunity to discover new books thanks to suggestions based on the world’s best choices and your personal profile. Google play books is an excellent bookstore to get into, this recommendation feature is one more reason to go there.
What does this mean for publishers?
If you do things right (add the correct metadata, promote and price your books in accordance with their reading audience, etc.), your books have more chances to get to your audience and this, whether you are a big publishing house or an author self publishing your book.
How’s so? Readers don’t have to hear about your book and specifically look for it in their Google reading app. If they purchased a book close to your book’s style (and even more so, if they gave it a good grade), there is a good chance it’ll be recommended directly to them.
Now, this is great but is actually only one reason among other big ones to get your books on Google Play Books.
Google apps and Android
Since 2010, when the Google store opened, it has grown to connect Google users across various platforms such as their chrome browser, Android phone or tablet, and even with Google’s own computers (chromebooks). Maybe people aren’t consistently reading on a web browser but they do read through eReading apps.
As it happens, every Android device sold worldwide is delivered with pre-installed apps including… Google Play Books. And Android is actually the most used operating system on Mobile and tablets worldwide.
See what I mean?
And this trend is only growing as, in September 2016, 69.18% of operating systems in tablets and mobiles were Android (vs 53.54% a year earlier)
What this dark blue half means is that, in a few millions potential readers’ pocket, is Google Play books’ catalog. More and more, e-books consumers are reading out of their smartphones and/or tablets. We apparently aren’t so bothered with screen reading anymore (plus, the said screens are getting better and better). So I guess it’d be foolish not to be in a catalog directly available for all these readers.
Broad geographic reach
Google will allow people to buy your book in 75 different countries. You can find the full list here. (versus 51 for Apple*, for instance). If you consider the Kindle store is available with no surcharge only where there is a localized Kindle address (US, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, JP, NL, BR, MX, CA, IN, AU, CN), Google Play is a good bet to spread wider the availability of your books.
Being present doesn’t necessarily mean people from these countries actually buy from them so, for this, I’ll quote one of our StreetLiber who is also the owner of the International Indie author Facebook group:
“While still sadly indifferent to Africa (just South Africa and Egypt), Google Play is a strong player in Latin America, eastern Europe and SE Asia (inc. Thailand, Indonesia,Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, etc, where Amazon and Apple are not available).
Anecdotally Google Play is my best bet for sales across Latin America, outperforming Amazon in Brazil and Mexico, and even bringing sales from small countries like El Salvador.” Mark Williams.
* If you’d like a detail of Apple’s reach, here is the country list: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela. You can find details on Apple’s International reach on Mark Williams International Indie author’s Facebook group
Search Engine Optimization
This is a bit besides the point but a few years ago, I attended an author’s conference where many professionals gave their expertise on most aspect of Self Publishing and one speaker spent an hour talking about the importance of “Search Engine Optimism”… (her expertise wasn’t about the meaning of the anagram apparently) and, I must say, it is sometimes how it feels! One has to be very optimistic to hope to land on Google’s first page of results and, basically, this is what SEO is all about.
The Google algorithm is pretty much impossible to decipher but we know what can get a webpage a good grade and put it in a good position. I won’t list in details every element here but the quality of the website and page structure, metadata and the availability of the text content for the search engine (e.g. a text on an image won’t do) are key elements. And guess who has a structure that Google considers being “good”? Well its own product pages of course!
Oh and it might be worth pointing out that the engine will also search inside your book preview.
So, let’s say you wrote a book about mastering the Real Estate game and called it “Opening the door to your client’s happiness”. Your title may not give you a great SEO rank but isn’t it catchy? Besides, your incipit or introduction may start with “To be a good real estate agent blablabla” or “Mastering the Real Estate game starts with blablabla” (sorry about the blablablas but, really, what do I know about real estate?!). It’s a great fit for people searching online “how to be a good real estate agent?”.
I also should mention that books on the Google catalog have their own tab in Google searches and people can search only for books directly from their browser:
Getting your books on Google Play
Hopefully, you are now convinced you should publish your book on Google PLay (among other channels of course). Let’s go there and see how you can do that:
This has been going on for quite a while (more than a year if I remember correctly). If you already had a Publisher’s account with Google Play you can continue adding books directly there but otherwise you can’t sign up with them.
How are you supposed to get your books on Google Play then? Did I tell you all that just to tease you? Of course not! And, if you realized that you are reading a post from StreetLib’s publication, you can see where I’m going with this: You can get to Google Play Books through StreetLib!
As one of our partner bookstores, once your account with us opened and everything set up, a simple tick in the stores’ list in the publishing process will add your books to Google’s catalog.
If you are a self publisher, you just need to choose Google Play Store in the list of stores when you publish a book and that’s it!
If you are a Publishing company, you’ll activate distribution with them and we’ll contact you to give you details on how to ask Google to give us permission to have us manage your catalog. Google will pay you directly and we’ll invoice you the usual 10% of the sales made on GPlay.
Google Play Books and StreetLib
To give you an idea of the relevance of Google Play Books, I’d also like to give you a bit of an idea of how much books can sell on this store, in comparison with others. To do so, I’ll take our own catalog and the transactions made in one year (from October 2015 to September 2016) I’ll compare with the other 3 retailers performing the best among our many partners: Amazon, Kobo and Apple. You should know, to give you an idea, that our catalog is currently made of a bit more than 100 thousand books available at least in one of our partner bookstore. Here are the book transactions (percentage of book sold) for our whole catalog and for books published by Self Publishers:
And, if we remove Amazon’s shares:
(view the charts on Infogram)
Multi-channel distribution requires a broad understanding of the different retailers and their potential impact on your book sales. I hope this gave you an interesting take on Google Play Store and I’ll try to keep giving you insights on different online book retailers here in the future.
Until then keep loving books!
I’m AC de Fombelle: book lover and tech aficionado, working for the thrive of StreetLib internationally (which really means working for the thrive of books). I write, scribble, rhyme sometimes and tell stories. Here and there you will find me, publishing blog posts and always happy to converse and answer the needs of StreetLib’s community. I love cinema and am always on the move.