The Google Play Book Store

You’ve made your choice – to go wide or go all in on Amazon. If you’re all in on Amazon, move along, nothing to see here. But if you’ve gone wide, do you have your books in the Google Play Book Store? And if you do, how’s it working for you? I ask this because Google Play has recently become my best “selling” venue.

Please note that I give away my books, which is several orders of magnitude easier than selling books for money. Free, however, does generate enough “sales” numbers that they can be used to compare markets.

I started publishing books in April of 2015 via Smashwords and Amazon. In October of 2018 I got my books into the Google Play Store. I gave away 11 books that first month on Google. The following year Google accounted for about 9% of my sales, rising to 15% in 2020. This year Google started with 137 sales in January, and has continued to grow almost every month since then. Indeed, to date Google sales account for 33.4% of this year’s sales thru September, with Amazon at 42% and Smashwords at 24.5%. For some unknown reason I did really well on Google in September with total sales clocking in at almost three times that of Smashwords and Amazon combined. All in all, Google now accounts for a little more than 10% of my all times sales, though it’s only been part of the mix for half of the time I’ve been selling books.

Of course your books, the number of your titles, and readership will be different from mine, but I think it’s safe to say that if you haven’t listed your books on Google, you may be missing sales.

It used to be that you had to ask Google for an invitation to list your books, but when I googled the procedure for this article, the search took me here; where it seems all you have to do is sign up. But seeing that I was already signed into Google, “getting started” just took me to my Google page, so I can’t say for certain what you can expect.

Unlike Smashwords and Amazon, with Google you have to upload your own epub version of your book. If you already format your files as epubs they should be good to go. But if – like me – you don’t, then you’ll need to do it yourself. I use Calibre, a free program, to convert my LibreOffice files to epubs.

I’m no expert in Calibre so I keep it simple. I upload my LibreOffice file to Calibre, and then convert it to a version 3 epub using the default settings with Heuristic processing checked. Be sure to select version 3 when the time comes, as I get error messages when uploading version 2 epubs to Google. Once converted, the epub file ends up in the Calibre folder. From there I upload the epub file to Google. I include the cover when creating the epub in Calibre, even though you’ll still need to upload the cover to Google as a jpeg separately, just like the other stores. And like the other stores you’ll have to fill out all the metadata on the book, author bio if you like, and set the price and territories. Google reports daily sales with a day or two lag. I don’t know how payment works, but I assume that it is similar to the other services as well. Google pay 70% royalties.

It is rare that I can pinpoint a reason for any unanticipated jump in sales, and I can’t explain why Google is doing so well for me this year. I can’t find anything on the Google Play Books store to explain it. All I can say is that people are getting their ebooks from the Google store, and if you don’t have your books there, you may be missing out.


  1. Thanks for the info, Chuck. I may try this someday.


  2. kingmidget says:

    Makes me want to give Google a change at some point. Maybe with my next book. Thanls for this.


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