Google Play Books Ends Discounting in Canada, Australia, and USA – Now Pays a 70% Royalty

Remember a couple months back when I reported that Google was insisting that authors sign up for an account with Play Books even though the author’s ebooks were distributed through an aggregator?

I think I just found out why Google wants that connection.

About 3 weeks ago Google announced a new pricing policy for its ebookstore, Play Books. Anyone who accepts the revised ToS will now earn 70% royalty on ebooks sold in the USA, Canada, and Australia.  (And unlike Amazon, Google will not charge a bogus “delivery fee”.)

eBooks sold in Play Books in other countries will still earn a 52% royalty.

The ebooks have to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (USA and Canada) or $3.99 and $11.99 (Australia) to get the special royalty rate, but any ebook sold under the new terms will get the one thing that has annoyed authors and publishers for years: said ebook will be immune to Google’s policy of automatic price cuts.

You can find out more from Google’s help pages.

For almost as long as I have been tracking pricing policies, authors have been complaining about how Google would automatically cut the price of the ebooks they sold in Play Books. Since Amazon and other ebook retailers watch each other like a hawk, Google cutting the price inevitably lead to Amazon matching the price in the Kindle Store.

Authors had a practice of raising their ebook prices in Play Books as a counter to Google’s automatic price cut policy, but now they will no longer have to engage in that song and dance.

The talk around the water cooler is that Google is getting serious about competing in the ebook market. I am not yet convinced that is the case; this could just as well be Google finally getting around to ending a policy that never accomplished anything.

What do you think it means?

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Thomas Porcello14 August, 2019

    Google says in the Help section that they will pay revenue split on the list price not the sale price.

  2. Nirmala3 December, 2019

    Do they still discount then in all other countries? And do I still have to take into account their automatic discounts when calculating the price in say, the UK or Europe?

    1. Nate Hoffelder3 December, 2019

      I beleive they do, yes.

  3. […] in July Google started testing new royalty terms in the US, Canada, and Australia, and now they are expanding the terms to cover all markets. Google […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top