6 Facts About Publishing on Google Play Books

Curious about publishing ebooks on Google Play Books? Learn the top facts you should know as an indie author or publisher.

Kinga Jentetics |

You want to sell your books on Google Play Books app? Great!

Although ‘books’ are not the first thing that comes to mind when I hear ‘Google’, the numbers don’t lie: the tech giants’ bookstore is one of the largest worldwide (selling in 76 countries with a growing market share everywhere in the world).

With 81% of phones bought last year, Android devices (and we are not even talking about tablets here!) summed up to over 2.5 bn. It would be just silly not to publish there.

Publish on Google Now!

Google Play Books’ reader app comes preinstalled with all Android devices on the Play Store and runs beautifully on Android and iOS as well. The Google Books library has millions of books in their catalog and it is growing rapidly every year.

Google notably invested in their Google Books Advanced Search and many authors can enjoy the fact that their books might rank higher in search engines when publishing on Google Play. Also, they extended their service to Google Audio Books following industry trends. Google Play Books is currently strictly focused on digital publishing. So unfortunately, you can not buy books in print yet.

Publishing on Google Play Books, however, is not as easy as it first seems.

Knowing the pitfalls and tricks could save you time, headache and money. Firstly, this article is for those of you who have just decided to publish further than Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks and who are thinking about registration. And secondly, this post is for those who are already selling there but want to learn some useful tricks and tips. Learn how to publish on Google Play Store with PublishDrive in our video below.


Note: If you're trying to find more information on how to publish ebooks on Google Play, read our step-by-step guide here.

But first, don't forget to create your PublishDrive account so you can reach Google's sales channels around the globe!


Note: If you're trying to find information on how to publish ebooks on Google Play, read our step-by-step guide here.

Sign Up!


1. You don’t need an ISBN to publish on Google Play

Yes, that’s correct: if you always wanted to register but you didn’t want to go through the complicated and painful ISBN application process, we have good news for you: Google doesn’t care.

If you don’t have an ISBN (or other acceptable identifier), Google generates you a unique number, and that’s it, you are good to go. (You can also use PUI, PublishDrive’s identifier.)

P.S.: Google has a strict policy about public domain books (meaning the book is out of copyright), so if you’d like to publish one, make sure it is unique according to their standards.

2. You can offer free pdf previews on Google Books

When you sign up to Google Play, you automatically sign up to Google Books as well. If you were living under a stone for the last twelve years: Google Books is a giant library project aiming to scan every single book in the world and making them searchable. So, you can find the whole earth’s bibliographic information on the web.

This would obviously violate some copyright laws, but publishers in the Google Books Partner Program can choose the percentage they are happy to display as a preview: it can be as much as the whole book! So whenever a book search appears on Google, publishers have a better chance to stand out! If you are signing up with PublishDrive, you agree to the 20% preview which means your book can be found by a specific search term.

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Why is this good for you? As Google is officially a verb now meaning ‘to search’, it is not surprising that Google will do everything in its power to get your books to the top of the search results. This includes keywords and full text searching: if you have characters with a special name or are writing about a niche topic, chances are that readers will find your book. Win-win.

P.S. If you distribute through PublishDrive, you can also send FREE review copies of your books to readers! Learn more about free marketing options here.

P.S. If you distribute through PublishDrive, you can also send FREE review copies of your books to readers! Learn more about free marketing options here.

3. Google might discount your books, but still pays you based on the list price

Most retailers have the right to discount your book as they please, and Google is not an exception. As for everything, there are good and bad sides to this. Discounting your book may set off Amazon’s price matching system, which means your books will be discounted there as well. On the other hand, though, Google Play will still pay you based on the list price.

In order to avoid Google’s discount (that differs per currency, territory and per price range), many authors decide to choose PublishDrive to automatically optimize their prices. In order to avoid price matching by Amazon, PublishDrive adjusts the price given by the publisher and regularly sends updates if the algorithm ever changes. And they do!

4. You can’t simply sign up

2019 Update: Earlier this year, Google updated its policies. Their updated policies require them to have a direct relationship with copyright holders (authors and publishers). This has affected the way self-publishing aggregators handle distribution to Google on behalf of authors.

2020 Update: Google Play is now open for new authors and publishers from the supported countries. (For an always up-to-date list, please check the Google Play website.)

Despite these changes, we're happy to report that distribution to Google Play through PublishDrive is still up and running! In fact, it got smoother than before and our support team can take off the burden from your shoulder to handle support issues with Google. Learn how to publish on Google Play with our step-by-step guide here.

5. Changing aggregators

As of now you can sign up to Google directly, but you might raise the question, why should you use an aggregator? Services like PublishDrive make your life easier when it comes to uploading your books, optimizing your pricing to avoid price matching, and analysing sales data or collecting revenues.

If you want to use PublishDrive for publishing on Google Play Books, you can assign PublishDrive as the Service Provider to your current direct account. There are steps you need to take, but it is worth a while as you can enjoy hassle-free book uploads, pricing, promotional options and world-classic real-time analytics. Most processes happen in the background and you don’t need to worry about them.

Note: Want to switch to PublishDrive from direct or another platform? Read our comprehensive guide here!

6. Creating a Google Books Author Page

Did you know that it is not only Amazon that curates Author Pages? Google also supports them. Unlike at Amazon, Google authors can’t run a blog or provide their website for Google shoppers to see. Google, however, handily lists all books under the author’s name with a bio and a picture.

Here is an example of what Google Books Author Pages look like in reality:

Want a Google Author page? We can request one for you! You may qualify for a Google Author page if:

  • You distribute at least 10 books to Google Play through PublishDrive.
  • You have at least 3 reviews on most of your books.

Learn how to request a Google Author page with our Help Center article here.

About the Author Section

PublishDrive users can also boost their online brand with an “About the Author” section on Google Play Books.

Follow the instructions in our Help Center article here to personalize your About the Author section.

Publish on Google Play Books Today!

Now that you've learned about the benefits of publishing on Google Play, why not try it out for yourself?

When you distribute to Google Play through PublishDrive, you'll earn 100% royalties offered by Google (this means 52-70% for you after the digital list price, the rest stays with Google), and we'll automatically adjust your price to offset any random price discounting.

Sign up today!

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