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Google Books pricing policy


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#1 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:20 AM

I received the following reply from Google in response to my question about their pricing policy.

 

Thank you for contacting us. We understand that you are concerned with setting list price for your books. Please be informed that you can set the list price for your books per your discretion,however, Google and its Authorized Resellers may discount the List Price and the Bundled Price at their sole discretion and in this case the Standard Revenue Split and the Reseller Revenue Split will be based on the List

Price.

We will continue to work on refining our pricing algorithm with regards to discounting. Please note that the revenue share you receive will be based on the List Price you set in your account, regardless of any discounting Google may apply.

 
We appreciate your understanding on this matter.

Best regards,

Vineet
The Google Books Team

 

I like their policy that they will pay royalties based on the author's list price even when Google decides to charge less. The downside is that a lower price at Google Books could trigger a price match at Amazon where they'll pay royalties based on the lower sales price.

 

If your ebook sells for $2.99, not only will a price match cost you a drop in the sales price, a price match would also drop your royalty percentage from 70% to 35%.

 

I imagine Google Book might be a good channel if you don't sell at Amazon but it seems to me that you could easily end up in a bad spot. I believe that for most books, Amazon will outsell Google. The few books Google might sell in comparison to the amount Amazon might sell could drag Amazon royalties down to the point that it's not worth publishing on Google.

 

What do you guys think?

 

Mark

 


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#2 datyla

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:04 AM

Well, it wouldn't seem to be a problem if you put your ebook on both sites, would it?

 

I know if I end up publishing mine as ebook, my end goal is going to be getting a hard copy into bookstores. If I don't end up in barnes and nobles, then the little dudes that discover books the way I did will never see mine.   



#3 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:30 AM

Well, it wouldn't seem to be a problem if you put your ebook on both sites, would it?

 

I know if I end up publishing mine as ebook, my end goal is going to be getting a hard copy into bookstores. If I don't end up in barnes and nobles, then the little dudes that discover books the way I did will never see mine.   

No, I guess I wasn't clear. The point I was trying to make is this.

 

it could be a problem if you used both sites because Amazon's policy is to price match and unlike Google, Amazon reduces royalties when they match prices.

 

If you used only Google or only Amazon but not both, losing royalty income due to price matching shouldn't be an issue.

 

Mark


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#4 Midnight Whimsy

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:17 AM

Yes, as Mark said, the issue is that Google Books could arbitrarily decide to run a sale and drop your price to $0.99. Amazon will then match that price. Not only do you lose revenue on both sites without your consent or any warning, but it can take time to get your Amazon price back up even after the Google sale ends. I've heard of authors losing thousands of dollars because of ill-timed Google Books sales.

 

For example, if Amazon price-matched Google to $0.99 and it took three weeks to get the price back to $2.99, an author could lose serious money. If they normally sold 500 ebooks in that time at $2.99, they would make about $1050. But at $0.99, they only make $150. Even if they sold double or triple the number of books at $0.99, they still come up far short.

 

Until Google Books changes that "Google and its Authorized Resellers may discount the List Price and the Bundled Price at their sole discretion" bit, many indie authors will continue to boycott them.

 

Great info, thanks Mark.

 

M.W



#5 KC Rivers

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 12:03 PM

Thanks for sharing, Mark. That's interesting stuff, right there.



#6 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:07 AM

I wrote back to Google:

 

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, Google's demand for sole discretion on pricing precludes me from using your services. A price drop at Google would trigger price matching at my other distribution channels where they pay royalties on the selling price rather than the list price.
 
I didn't expect Google to embrace my position on this, but I was surprised to receive the following reply:
 
Hello Mark,

Thank you for your email. Please note that if you currently participate in other programs with pricing guidelines that run counter to the Google eBooks addendum, you may need to remove your titles from sale with us. You can find instructions for removal on our Help Center: https://support.goog...f_topic=3237053
 
We will continue to work on refining our pricing algorithm with regards to discounting. Please note that the revenue share you receive will be based on the List Price you set in your account, regardless of any discounting Google may apply.
 

If you have additional questions, please let us know.

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#7 datyla

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:51 PM

Ohhhh that makes so much more sense! I totally was out of my depth before. Just started looking into e-publishing stuff. xD

 

But still, if royalties are percents and the price goes down, you're still reaching more people, right? And the cheaper your book goes, i'm going to guess that the rating of it goes up? In the long run, even though our books are each 500 to a thousand hours of work, a reputation (to me) could be worth the investment. Especially in such an interconnected world. 



#8 RC Lewis

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:01 PM

True, at a lower price you'll possibly get more downloads. Then again, downloads don't necessarily equal reads. The cheaper the eBooks, the more people can pile onto their ereader, and they never get around to reading half or more of them.

 

And as far as I can tell, price doesn't really come into play with ratings. I suppose if a person is "meh" about a book, they might be harsher on the review if they paid more. But in general, it seems like reviews largely come down to whether they liked the book, period.


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#9 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:03 PM

Ohhhh that makes so much more sense! I totally was out of my depth before. Just started looking into e-publishing stuff. xD

 

But still, if royalties are percents and the price goes down, you're still reaching more people, right? And the cheaper your book goes, i'm going to guess that the rating of it goes up? In the long run, even though our books are each 500 to a thousand hours of work, a reputation (to me) could be worth the investment. Especially in such an interconnected world. 

 Other folks may have different experiences but I found no correlation between price and demand. When I sold my books for 99¢ I actually sold less than when I charged $2.99.

 

I've also found no correlation between price and ratings. My $2.99 ebook has a higher rating than my free ebook. My free ebook ratings don't really differ from when I was charging for the book.

 

In fact, my feeble attempts at sales analysis have convinced me that sales and reviews are more closely related to lunar phases and ocean tides than anything else.  I've experienced sales variations from month to month that would give a stunt driver whiplash.

 

Mark


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#10 K_Claremont

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:12 PM

Excellent info, Mark.  I wish I had more to say right now, but I don't!  Just wanted to thank you for your post. :)


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#11 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:22 PM

Excellent info, Mark.  I wish I had more to say right now, but I don't!  Just wanted to thank you for your post. :)

Thanks. I get so much from folks here, I wanted to try to contribute some value.


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#12 K.M. Hanson

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 09:50 AM

Great info about Google. Having just read my ToS on Amazon, I am not a fan of exclusivity. So I will be staying away from Google for the time being, as well as Kindle Unlimited due to that. 


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