How to Upload a Book to Google Play

Anyone with an Android device has likely been on Google Play before. It's where you go to download apps and play games. You can also find a movie or tv show to watch in the Google Play Store. And, of course, you can purchase books there.

And while Google Play isn't the powerhouse that Amazon is when it comes to selling books, plenty of people still purchase ebooks through this app store. So unless you're exclusive with KDP Select, you could be missing out on sales by not putting your book(s) on the Google Play Book store.

So, read on to discover how to upload a book to Google Play, step by step.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. The difference between Google Play and Google Books (and why you should make sure your book is on both)
  2. How to publish your book on Google Play, step-by-step
  3. Things to know about publishing on Google Play Books

Google Play vs. Google Books

It's important to note that Google Play and Google Books are two different things. Google Play is the place where you can purchase books to read on a number of devices. So if you upload your book there, it will be available for purchase by customers.

However, Google Books is an index of scanned copies of books. It's more of a search tool than a store. In fact, if you wanted to buy an ebook that you found in Google Books, you'd have to head over to Google Play to make the purchase.

This is important for people that are exclusive to KDP Select, meaning their book is in Kindle Unlimited. These people can have their book indexed in Google Books, even choosing to have a 100% sample, so it's essentially free. This won't violate the exclusivity clause with Amazon and could act as a loss leader for those authors who write in series.

But, I'm guessing you want to get paid for your books. So, read on and find out how to do just that through Google Play!

Step 1: Set Up Your Google Play Partner Account

First off, you'll want to set up an account at Google's Books Partner Center. If you already have a Google account, this will be a breeze. If not, then it will take just a little bit longer. Either way, this step is pretty standard.

Google Books Partner Center

Step 2: Make Sure You Can Get Paid

Before you can start racking up book sales, you'll need to tell Google how you want to get paid. You'll also need to add some tax information to make sure everything's on the up-and-up.

Payment Profile

You can set up different payment profiles based on where you have the rights to sell books. For most self-published authors who own the rights to their books, one worldwide payment profile should be fine.

Verify Bank Account Information

After you enter your bank information, Google will make a small deposit into your account, which you'll then need to verify before you can receive any royalties. It often takes a couple of days for the payments to show up. Still, you can finish setting up your book in the meantime. For more info about this process, check out the Google Play Books Partner Center Help page.

Step 3: Set Up Your Book

Next, select “Add your first book” from the dashboard. You'll be asked whether you want to sell your ebook on Google Play or to just add a preview on Google Books only. We're going to go with the selling option. This way, you'll automatically get a sample of your book indexed on Google Books.

Add a book to Google Play

You'll then be asked if you have an ISBN for your book or if you'd like an ID assigned by Google. If you do have an ISBN, choose that option. If not, Google will give your ebook an ID for free.

Now comes the fun stuff!

Title and Blurb

You'll be asked to add the book title and then the blurb or description. If you already have the book published on Amazon or elsewhere, you may want to just copy and paste the blurb. Or you can use a different one. It's up to you! Just remember that a good book description is how you sell the reader on your book!

Add a book title description Google Play

Other Info

As you scroll down the page, you'll see boxes for you to add things like:

  • Publisher Name
  • Format
  • Age Range
  • Series

These are all pretty self-explanatory, but there are little question marks next to them if you're confused about what goes there.

Add a book other info Google Play

Step 4: Tell Google About Your Book

Once that page is done, you'll move on to the next pages, which include genres, contributors, and preview settings.

Genres

Google doesn't limit the number of genres you can select. You can choose from a dropdown list depending on the region. Choose as many as you want, but make sure that they're all a good fit for your book before moving on.

Contributors

This section is also pretty self-explanatory. If you wrote the book with a co-author, you'll want to put that information in on the contributors page. You can list others here, as well, such as editors, cover designers, and the like.

Preview and Settings

The preview settings page is where you'll want to decide how much a potential purchaser will be able to read in the Play Books App before they purchase. Think of this like a version of the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon, only you get to decide how far the reader can look (with a minimum of 20%).

This is where you can set your book to free by allowing a 100% preview, if you really want to do that. Most people stick with around 20% or 30%.

You can also select advanced settings on this page, if you like. The defaults are good for most, but take a look at them to make sure.

Add a book preview and settings Google Play

Step 5: Upload Your Ebook File and Cover

Next you'll be prompted to upload your ebook file and cover file. This is pretty straightforward. You can upload a pdf file or epub file for your ebook and a jpeg or png file for your cover. However, Google Play Books also accepts tiff, zip, and webp files. Unfortunately they don't accept Google Doc files. If only. . .

Add a book content and cover Google Play

If you need help formatting your book for upload (for instance, if yours is a MOBI file) then check out this article on ebook formatting.

Formatting Has Never Been Easier

Write and format professional books with ease.  Never before has creating formatted books been easier.

Click here to see it in action

Step 6: Price Your Book

Once you have your content and cover uploaded, it's time to price your book! One nice thing about selling your book on Google Play is that you can get 70% royalties even for books priced under $2.99. That's compared to 35% for that same pricing range on Amazon.

Add a books pricing Google Play

It's up to you to decide how much to ask for your book on Google Play, but be aware that if you have it cheaper at another store, Google may price-match it. Of course, this is common among nearly all the online book retailers.

Note: You can always change the price later if you want to!

Step 7: Publish!

Once you hit “Save & Continue” you'll be asked to review all the information you just entered. Make sure everything looks good before hitting publish. And if you haven't verified your bank account yet, don't forget to do that whenever you can to make sure you get royalty payments from any books sold.

Things to Know About Publishing on Google Play Books

Google Play Books is a little limited on where you can read their books. This is one of the downsides. It's possible to read a Google book on an iPad or any other mobile device, so long as you have a Google account and you download the Google Play Books app. But, you can't shop for books directly from the app, like you can in the ibooks app. Instead, you have to go to the Google Play app and shop from there.

It's also possible to read a Google book on a Kindle device, or a Kindle app, but this takes a bit of doing. You have to download a couple of other apps to make the Google ebook formats readable on any dedicated ebook reader, such as a nook, or on devices like the Kindle Fire.

Since this isn't a seamless process, it's important to note that many people stick with one app or another, and don't do a lot of jumping around. This means that “going wide” and offering readers the store of their choice is an excellent idea, and one which can help you reach a wider audience with your books.

Conclusion

Although Google Play Books doesn't have as large an audience as Amazon, you can still sell a lot of books there. By taking the time to add your book to Google Play and other available stores, you can reach a wider audience. Google Play also offers some perks such as higher royalty rates for lower priced books, and some promotion options.

The process is pretty easy, but if you're going wide and don't want to deal with uploading books again and again at all the different stores, consider using an aggregator, like PublishDrive or Draft2Digital. These companies can help you manage your books in all the different stores out there, so you can focus on writing the next great story!



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