Major Updates to Google Books Partner Program Finally!

For years now indie authors in the know have been laughing at Google for their lame version of an ebook store. Why was it lame? Because it was surprisingly difficult to upload a book and it was basically impossible to update an existing one (without deleting it) and it was absolutely unthinkable to get any customer support whatsoever. And it still sort of is all of those things.

You see the point; these are bad signs for an ebook retailer when every action an indie author might need or want is challenging to impossible. Well, things might be changing. Emphasis on “might.” About time, we know. Lucky for Google, they had some cash to kick back and do nothing for the past few years while riding out the storm of non-activity unlike some book retailers who have sinking ships (not naming names here).

You may receive a gmail that goes a little something like this:

Dear Google Books Partner,

Improving the publishing experience is a top priority for Google Books. The Partner Program has evolved over the last few years, so we decided to build a brand new Google Play Books Partner Center–a new tool that’s faster and easier to use. Starting today, you’ll be able to use the new interface to manage your titles across Google Books and Google Play.

Highlights of the new Partner Center include:

  • Speed: Pages load more quickly, regardless of the size of your book catalog.
  • Convenience: Add and remove additional users, and convert prices into foreign currencies directly from your account.
  • Simplicity: Both preview and sales settings for your books can now be found in the same place, whether in the interface or in spreadsheets. Manage your account more easily with updated navigation and search.
  • Control: View and edit book descriptions, subjects/categories, and other bibliographic information right within the interface. Remove titles from your account with a few clicks.

These changes and many more new features are available to you immediately. We’ve prepared an overview to help you discover all of the new features in your account and help you along the way:

To get started, visit Thank you for partnering with us to make your books available on Google Books. We’re excited to provide an improved experience for you, and we hope you enjoy your new account interface.

If you have any questions or comments, contact us at


The Google Play Team

However, it still seems abnormally difficult to achieve uploads at Google Partner Program. One would think they have enough brains to create a simple upload system that is user-friendly like Amazon, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and so many others. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, Google. See what others are doing and go from there.

To fix the problem with the names of the files, I had to slightly adjust my labels. Google makes it a bit ambiguous saying β€œcall your cover file (the ISBN number) followed by _frontcover.XYZ.” So I created (example numbers) 0123456789_frontcover.XYZ. Well, the XYZ is the jpg for example for a JPEG file so the cover file automatically calls itself 0123456789_frontcover.XYZ.jpg when all you really have to do is label it 0123456789_frontcover. The other confusion was a similar thing; Google asks you to name your pdf file (the ISBN) 0123456789_content.pdf. Again, when you send the pdf it automatically gets the suffix added to the file, so I was sending 0123456789_content.pdf.pdf. Finally it was confusing because Google is giving examples of 10 digits while ISBNs these days have 13.

What do you think, is Google now a good place to sell ebooks? Let’s hope so because it’s always nice having another distributor with long arms.

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8 Responses to “Major Updates to Google Books Partner Program Finally!”

  1. Hedonist Six Says:

    Thanks for posting this, Jason. I was very excited to read about any improvements in Google Books, of course immediately checking my account because frankly I’ve no idea what category any of my books came under so far (I’d hate to think it was something inappropriate πŸ˜‰ ) It seems Google are rolling out these changes gradually and my account still looks as bad as it always has done.

    That being said, I have uploaded my work there anyway because I could see that with the huge penetration of android phones, google has the potential of being a huge market for ebooks. Any improvements are therefore very welcome because it really has been a pain to use.

  2. MarquitaHerald (@MarquitaHerald) Says:

    Thanks so much for this Jason. Up until recently all of my books were committed to Amazon, so I’m just in the process of loading them to other booksellers. As you rightfully point out, it’s always nice to have more options and now I’ll add Google to my list.

  3. Keith Dixon Says:

    Hi Jason – as you know, the Penguin self-publishing site BookCountry allows you to upload to Google as one of its distributors … what do you think, are they doing it to this revised Google store? Or is there another Google cave somewhere into which our books will be passed? I’m so fed up with Google over Google Books that I’m keeping them at arms’ length.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Haha, I had completely forgotten that! I believe you are correct, Keith. What a smart idea if it makes it easier to get into Google Play. Might have to log into my Penguin account and see what can be done there.
      I’ve also been fed up with Google’s uploading process and had written them off, but now that the changes are happening I might be willing to stick it out. After all, they do currently sell more books for me than Barnes & Noble.

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