About two months ago Google surprised us all when they abruptly stopped letting authors and book publishers sign up to sell ebooks in Google Play Books. They offered no real explanation as to why they were declining new partners, instead telling us that they would "soon" end the "temporary" closure once they had improved their content management capabilities and their user experience.
That temporary closure has been going on for two months now (less one week) and Google is just as mum on the topic today as they were when I broke the news in May. They're not letting new people in, and they won't say why.
Does anyone have the inside story on what Google is doing behind the scenes? Do they ever plan to start dealing directly with new authors and publishers again?
To be clear, Google hasn't stopped selling ebooks, but they have stopped new authors from selling ebooks in Google Play Books. Only a single aggregator, eBookPartnership, claims to distribute to Google Play Books (Smashwords, Ingram Spark, BookBaby, and Draft2Digital do not list the store on their websites).
Edit: I was told on Twitter that Vearsa also distributes to Google Play Books. (Thanks, Dan!)
And that is concerning, folks. Google Play Books may not be a huge market everywhere and authors may not think it's worth their time, but to be shut out?
That is a problem, and it is one that Google won't talk about.
Hey, Google, how about talking to your business partners for once?