Google Play Books is Cutting Out the Middleman, Now Wants a Direct Relationship with Authors and Publishers
Many authors and publishers use a company such as PublishDrive or Draft2Digital to handle their distribution to smaller ebook retailers. They trade a small cut of their revenue for less hassle in managing their ebook offerings across multiple smaller ebookstores whose sales do not justify a direct relationship.
One would think that it is a good deal all around. Google, however, would disagree.
I’ve just heard about a policy Google started enforcing a couple months backs. It seems that Google now wants all authors and publishers with titles in Google Play Books to have a direct account with Play Books.
The change in policy was first mentioned by PublishDrive a little over a month ago (Dale Roberts covered it at the time) but I first heard about it today in a forwarded email from Draft2Digital (Thanks, Steve!).
D2D informed its users of the change, and assured them that D2D would continue to manage existing titles in Play Books on their behalf. D2D will not, however, be distributing new titles to Play Books. And because the policy effectively requires D2D to manually manage each author’s account, they also cannot offer all of their services for books in Play Books.
What this policy looks like to this blogger is Google squeezing out the middlemen. It’s not clear why Google is enforcing this policy (could it be a result of Google’s rampant piracy problem of a few years ago?) but it is going to make it harder for distributors to operate.
For the last couple of months, we have been distributing titles to Google Play in a public beta program. As a beta, we anticipated that there would eventually be some changes and updates to the program, to incorporate what we’ve learned, as well as any policy updates from Google..
One such policy update is that Google Play now requires all authors and publishers to have a direct account with Google.
Though this change impacts how D2D distributes to the Google Play platform, we have been informed that Draft2Digital can continue to manage direct accounts on the author’s behalf. However, this new policy does create some challenges.
Google’s requirements do not scale for a service provider with 60,000 clients, which means that distribution to Google Play will require a more time-consuming process on our end. This method of distribution would also prevent us from offering you our full suite of services on the Google Play platform, though you will continue to receive these services for our other sales channels.
Effective immediately, we have temporarily suspended all new title distribution to Google while we investigate and discuss solutions to Google’s requirement.
If you believe that you would be unable to distribute your titles to Google Play without the use of Draft2Digital’s services, we encourage you to contact [email protected], and to explain why you depend on Draft2Digital to make distribution to Google Play convenient and efficient.
Please be polite and cordial in your communications with Google. Policies such as these, even if misguided, are meant to protect everyone’s best interests. But I do recommend that you stress what Google is losing by enacting this requirement, and I would encourage you to request that D2D be made an exception to this policy.
We ask that you please be patient as we work through implementing the best possible solution for you in this very challenging situation. We will continue to keep you informed about progress and changes as they happen.