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: https://support.google.com/books/partner/answer/3244021?hl=en
To get started, visit https://play.google.com/books/publish/. 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 https://support.google.com/books/partner/?hl=en#contact=1.
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 “call 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.