Is Google Play Books worthwhile for self-publishing authors?
While Amazon and Smashwords are undoubtedly the leading service providers for e-book self-publishing and distribution, Google Play Books and its Android platform must surely be worth consideration.
One would think that with Android’s massive market share and user base in smartphones and tablets that there would be an almost unlimited potential to sell e-books.
Unfortunately, with all this going for it, Google Play Books appears to be a real flop when it comes to e-book sales, as is its older cousin, Google Books.
I have no idea why this is, but in my experience, Google Play and Google Books simply do not deliver enough e-book or book sales.
On top of this, the publishing process and user interface are absolutely hopeless, unfriendly and cumbersome.
So is Google Play Books worth all the bother?
Oddly enough, yes it is.
You will need to invest a few frustrating hours to get your ebooks published, but once done, there is one huge benefit of publishing on Google Play Books
Once your ebooks are available, Google Search indexes your books and your author name more prominently and often.
Not only your book listings on Google Play Books either, as since I published on Google Play Books, my search results have expanded to include my YouTube book trailers that I had forgotten all about, my Goodreads book listings as well as a number of book retailers I had never heard of or realised carried my books.
Ok, very few direct e-book sales, but Google Search indexing is extremely valuable in helping boost your author brand and book sales on other retailers.
While many self-published authors work hard every day trying to improve the SEO on their blogs and websites in an effort to improve search results on Google, perhaps this is an easier way to achieve the same aim.
As a footnote to this, another simple means of improving Google indexing and search results for your author name is to share every blog post you write onto Google+.
By doing so, Google adds your profile image and name to your indexed page on Google Search, as you can see from one example of my own Google listings below.
If you are only interested in direct e-book sales then Amazon and Smashwords are the natural choices, but for a little time invested, improving your Google indexing can only help potential readers and book buyers find you and your books on the major retail sites such as Apple, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Kobo and help you sell more e-books.
Update: Google Play Books is now closed to new publishers.