In an effort to rival Amazon, Google has started their own ebook store. The new endeavor launched December 6th with more than three million titles available, though many of those are public domain books. Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m all for the classics moving into the digital age. eBook formats include Android, Sony, Nook, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and web viewing, and they have a selection of free reads, as well. Of note, they are not compatible with the Kindle.
The question that’s floated around is whether or not this new site is indy author friendly, and the answer is yes, yes they are. In fact, here is the direct quote (which can be found here)
“If you’re self-published, or the rights to your book have reverted back to you, you can join the program yourself by sending us your books or uploading them in PDF format. Check out our Author Resources page to learn more.”
This is where things might get confusing.
To join you can create an account with an existing google account, or create a new one. But, first have to sign up with Google books. Google books is an oft debated search-able database of books that google has scanned into their system. (more on that later). Once you’ve joined and agreed to allow your books to be listed, that’s when you get the option to join the ebook store. In fact there are separate ToS for each. This one is for the Google Books program, while this is the addendum for the eBook store.
As I mentioned about the Google Books project, there were a lot of authors who felt that their copyrights were violated when Google started archiving portions of their books in the original Google Books program. To remedy this, Google is paying out to authors who had books in print prior to January 5, 2009 that they archived without permission, and they now offer the option for you to claim your book (do so here) and add a “Buy here” link to their directory listings. (I assume you can also have the book removed, but I haven’t looked into that) However, right now those links can only go to your website (if you’re selling books on it)not to Amazon, Smashwords, or any other third-party site.
This is where the eBook store comes in. When you submit your books to Google’s ebook store, they will then link the “buy book here” button on your google book to your Google eBook listing.
But before you worry about how much of your book is being shared, know that you can change the amount. Default is 20%, but you can choose to share more or less.
One down side to their process, in my opinion, is that to submit, books must be in a PDF format, and must be named very specifically by their ISBN numbers. Here are the details on how to do that. Of course, you can also send them a print version and they will manually enter it for you, but by the time you buy your print version and mail it, you’ve spent more than the time it would have taken to PDF is worth.
So, should you bother? If you have a book published before January 5th, I’d at least go check to see if they have it listed because they may owe you money from advertisement clicks. To sign up for the one is not to sign up for the other, so don;t have to commit to the eStore if you don’t want to. Personally, I’ve signed up for the Google Books program, and will also agree to the eStore, though I haven’t uploaded anything because I’ve been busy. As an android phone owner, I may also look into purchasing from them in the future. I’ve tried the Kindle for android and didn’t like it very much, but this may be better – or it may not. as with any new endeavor, it’s a gamble. but, the way I look at it is since you’re not signing any book rights away, what do you have to lose?
For more information, here is a link to the help section, which s actually pretty useful for a change.