It has been nineteen months since Google closed its book publisher portal in Google Play Books, and the larger blogosphere is just beginning to realize that it may never reopen.
Google “temporarily” stopped allowing new publishers to sign up for its Google Play Books Partner Center more than a year ago, largely due to rampant piracy on the service. Now, a year and a half later (it was originally shuttered in May of 2015), the Partner Center still hasn’t opened back up…
...This was the initial statement that Google provided when Google stopped offering new signups, all the way back in May 2015:
We’ve temporarily closed new publisher sign ups in the Play Books Partner Center, so we can improve our content management capabilities and our user experience. We’re working to reopen this to new publishers soon. Thanks for your patience.
A support article entitled “How to sell a book on Google Play: a checklist” lists the following notice:
New publisher sign-ups in the Google Play Books Partner Center are temporarily closed.
Now, over at the Google Product Forums, there are still people posting about this asking if it will ever open back up. Even as recently as earlier this month, people interested in selling their books on Google Play Books have shared their conversations with support reps, revealing that exactly zero progress has been made.
to be clear, the portal is still open for those who already have an account there; Google just isn't letting anyone new sign up.
Google shut down the registration feature on that portal on 25 May 2015. That was 19 months and 5 days ago, so at this point it is safe to say that Google is never going to reopen that portal.
At the very least, they are not saying anything about it. I have followed up on this story several times, and Google's PR reps generally disappeared whenever I asked about their next step.
In fact, one rep gnawed his arm off at the wrist when I pressed him on the question (I still have his hand in my freezer).
So no, that portal is never opening again. While it might be useful to authors and publishers, from Google's perspective it just isn't worth the hassle.
Google doesn't sell a lot of ebooks, and it doesn't want to be bothered with cleaning up after pirates. The easiest and most effective way to fix the rampant piracy problem was to simply lock out the pirates by shuttering the portal, and then leaving it closed.
This is an inconvenience for authors and publishers, but not a huge one. They can reach Google Play books through distributors like Streetlib
image by GuillermoJM