My Experience with Google Books – Part I
Last week, Google announced the launch of their new eBook store. As I’m always looking for ways to market and sell my eBook, I took a quick look to see if individual authors like myself are able to add their books to the new eBook Store. After some quick investigation, it appeared that the first step was to add the book to Google Books. Thus, I took the first step of joining the Google Books Partner Program, and uploading a copy of my book.
Setting up the Partner account was painless. Google prompted me to enter some basic information about my book and upload a .pdf or mail in a hard copy to be scanned. I chose to upload, since my eBook obviously only exists in digital format. My first attempt was to use the “Google Uploader” as that was the Google-recommended method. However, this tool did not seem to work; prompting me for a username and password, but not recognizing my Google Account credentials. I fell back on the web form to upload the .pdf, which worked fine.
Google then asked me for basic information, including book title, author, ISBN (if available; if not, Google will assign a unique ID), and the “Territories” over which I have book rights. One nice touch is that Google allows for the addition of a ‘Buy Link” to the book, which is the URL of a site where folks can buy the book. In my case, I set it to https://www.roadbikerider.com/add.php?i=CRS as this is the link I want everyone to go to when interested in purchasing my book.
Google also allowed me to set the percentage of the book that is viewable to the public. Options range from 20%-100% in 10% increments, and this setting controls how much of the book can be browsed for free before the user is locked out from viewing more. I set mine to 20%, as I want people to be able to get a hint of the content, but still click through to buy the book. There is also an option to set a title to be 100% readable, as well as downloadable, for those that like the idea and have a free eBook.
After uploading the book I was told it may take a few hours before it shows up in the system under “Received.” After patiently waiting my few hours, I was beginning to think the upload did not work. However, after approximately two days the book is now showing under “Processing” (I assume is showed under “Received” at some point but was quickly then moved to “Processing” before I even noticed) and I am now patiently waiting for it to finish processing before things go live. There is no indication of how long the “Processing” step takes–hopefully it doesn’t take too long!
The Partner Program website also allows me to report on the book views, clicks, etc. I can’t comment on this yet, as the book is not yet live and thus there are no stats to report on. However, I hope this reporting tool will answer some of the questions I raise below about reach/exposure!
It appears that my Google Books page will also show ads relevant to my book, of which I earn a part of the revenue. It somehow seems to be associated with my Google AdSense account, although I’m a bit fuzzy on how this is handled. Perhaps after the book goes live, this will become clear.
One worrying thing is the random appearance of notes on some pages that say: “It looks like you’re not located in the U.S. Please know that although you’re welcome to read about our Google eBooks program, participation is limited to U.S.-based accounts at this time.” However, when signing up, I made it clear that I am in Canada, and it let me continue, even filling out some tax information for users from outside the US. As such, I’m a bit unclear if there are any limitations to Canadian Accounts, and if so, what exactly those limitations are!
A few of the outstanding questions that I have are:
- How long will the “Processing” step take?
- Once the book is “Live,” how much traffic will I get from it? (views, page reads, etc.)
- How many folks will click through to the “Buy Link”?
- How many of those folks will actually buy a copy of the book?
- If these Google Books traffic numbers are significant, can I (and how?) then add the book to the Google eBook store? I have read that an “Editions” tab will show up in my Partner Program page, where I can add it to the eBook Store. I’ll keep you posted on this one! If I decided to do this, I will likely have to stop selling through RBR.
- How is the ad ‘revenue sharing’ linked to Google AdSense?
- What are the limitations to a non-U.S. Google Books account?
That’s all for now, but I’d be interested in hearing your experiences on the matter! As my book goes live, I will post an update with what I have learned!
EDIT (December 23, 2010): The book is now live! Read Part II of my experience here.
EDIT (December 28, 2010): The reports are now showing! Read Part III of my experience here.