Google Play disses disties and tells indie authors they’ve got to go direct

Google Play has updated its service for self-published authors and is now insisting that all authors and publishers must have a direct account with Google.

Many indie authors have published on Google Play by using ebook distributors such as Draft2digital and the new policy has caused problems with using the third-party distribution route.

Google Play has told Draft2Digital that it can continue to manage direct accounts on behalf of authors but D2D says the time-consuming process this would require means it is temporarily suspending all new title distribution to Google while it investigates and discusses solutions to Google’s requirement.

D2D reveals that it has 60,000 clients and says distribution to Google Play would take up more of its resources and would also prevent it from offering authors its full suite of services on the Google Play platform.

The firm is urging authors to email Books-partner@google.com to request that D2D should be made an exception to this policy.

However, another ebook distributor — PublishDrive — says after making some logistical adjustments it has distribution to Google Play up and running.

PublishDrive says that to remain compliant with Google’s updated policies it has made some changes and that some preliminary tasks now need to be completed by users:

  • Fill out a form in the PublishDrive dashboard to be invited to the Google Play Books Program.
  • Once you receive an invitation from Google, sign up for a Google Play account.
  • Assign PublishDrive as the Service Provider for the account.

The company points out that these tasks may have a lead time of weeks.

It seems to me that it’s rather pointless to actually assign a distributor once you’ve signed up direct with Google Play but I suppose it can be handy to have all your accounts in one basket.

Google Play has never been easily accessible for indie authors and actually ‘temporarily’ suspended new publisher accounts in 2015 so the only route for indies was through ebook distributors. This latest move is puzzling but Google Play has such a small share of the ebook market (estimated to be the smallest player with around 1%) that it probably won’t affect many authors a great deal, although some indie writers say they have had decent sales through the platform.


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