Google Play Setting Books to Free

trappedAn important warning about Google Play. From the Kindle Boards:

I discovered this morning that Google had listed my best earning historical romance for FREE. Yes free. They were paying me based on my list price of $5.18 but they have it free. Obviously, to me this wasn’t about the money I was earning from those free sales but the ramifications this might have, especially if Amazon got ahold of that price.

The book came out in 2012 and it wasn’t making me a ton a money, but it’s still my bestselling historical novel right now. I emailed them this morning and BEGGED them to take it off sale and they politely told me that they have the right to price it however they want. They said they’re sorry if it causes problems with other retailers but…too bad.

I promptly took it down from Google. Yes, maybe I would have left it up if Amazon would also pay me for FREE copies based on the price I listed with them but that’s not the case.

I have a book coming out next month, and unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be listing it with Google. I can’t take the chance that they’ll do this again with much worse results.

This could cause Amazon listing the book for free as a price match. Google Play is not entirely on the radar for self-publishers, and stories like this are part of the reason. If you’re still interested, here’s a good step by step guide for getting into the Google store. It’s a much more complicated process than KDP to say the least.

  • One of many reasons for being disgusted at the DOJ’s pursuit of Apple to the exclusion of all else is the fact that their lawyers aren’t even investigating much less targeting the greatest offender in the ebook market–Amazon. The 800-pound gorilla not only pays sub-market royalties, often half what Apple pays, it exploits its large market share to engages in a host of other contractual author abuse.

    This article doesn’t make as clear as it ought that Amazon’s contract with writers includes the right to slash Amazon’s retail price to match any other price (here, that’s Google’s free price) and to pay authors royalties based on that slashed price. In this case, because Google was selling the book for free against the wishes of the author, Amazon could sell it for free and pay the author not a penny. She had to dump Google distribution because she probably makes most of her income from Amazon.

    Still worse, the fix this author had to take, dropping her book from Google, only reinforces Amazon’s market dominance.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books