How to sell your e-books on Google Play? (Part 1)


This is the first in a two part series about Google Play Books. In this part we take a brief look at what Google Play Books is. In the second post we will examine the process on publishing on it.

When you say the word “Google” even the computer-illiterate know what you are talking about. A friend’s 90 year old grandpa, who could not even switch on a PC, often ordered him to Google this or that.

However, Google has many more services besides their search. One of these is Google Play. Google Play is the search giant’s online shop geared for Android devices. Music, games, apps and books are some of the things you can buy online via this service.

Google Play Book  has more than 5 million titles on their catalog which makes them the biggest online book retailer. They are available in around 50 countries and the number will only increase with time. This means that you have a real worldwide audience.

It is very important to know that GPB only sells and distributes EPUB and PDF versions. This means that they do not cater at all to Kindle users.

EPUB allows for the re-flowing of text. The PDF version is for those who like to see the actual pages. These can only be read online.

What others say about Google Play Books

Uploading a book on Google Plays Books can be a bit frustrating and is more complicated than other services like Amazon KDP Amazon and Smashwords. You must upload only a prepared EPUB file. This system does not allow you to upload Word for instance. But do not let this discourage you! InstaScribe is there to let you create your perfect EPUB with ease.

You can also upload a PDF file. This is not much of an issue as Word, LibreOffice and other packages offer one-click PDF conversion. But EPUB converted from PDF may not be ideal. So, uploading an EPUB is highly recommended, even if you are uploading a PDF.

Some authors who complain about the (lack of) response from Google’s Help Center. But many Indie authors are very excited about the great audience Google Play offers them. Some authors claim that they have sold more books on Google Play than on Barnes & Noble and Kobo combined, even though there are others who complain that their books are not selling there at all, even when they have consistent sales on Amazon.

The general sentiment, however, is that sales on Google Play will continue to rise. This is perhaps the biggest reason why it would be a good idea to sell your books via them.

In the next part, we will see how exactly to do that.


  1. Pingback: 4 Popular Platforms to Publish your E-book | InstaScribe

  2. Google Play Books can do some…unusual things to EPUBs that dare move beyond the basic “paragraph, paragraph, paragraph” format. I’ve seen a few articles theorizing—just theories, no one from Google has commented—that the final product on your screen isn’t EPUB, or isn’t purely EPUB.

    The project I’m working on, for example, encounters perhaps 50% of its total problems, and 90% of its EPUB problems, from the default Android reading app, Play Books.

    All of which is more an aside or a caveat than a refutation of your point, of course. Most books ARE “paragraph, paragraph, paragraph,” so Google Play is a fine choice, and one that not enough people consider. It gets so little marketing attention from Google itself. Yet it’s the only platform ready from the first minute on most Android devices. People have to go and install the Kindle App, or the Nook App, etc.

    • Thanks a lot for the pointer. Will help us during testing our outputs. Unix and Window could not agree on how to represent newlines. Browsers could not agree on float. Why would e-readers be left behind? 🙂 Compatibility does not seem high up in their agenda. So we have to slog!!

  3. Yeah, I’ve heard some good things about Google Play. I’ve had some friends who sold their e-books on there with a moderate amount of success. They said it was even easier than selling on Amazon. I look forward to your tutorial.

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