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Google Books and the Indie Author

When I first uploaded my books to Google Books well over a year ago, I really didn’t understand what they were doing. They wanted a pdf of the interior and exterior, just like my POD publisher. I figured the books would be on Google for free in order for the search bots to scan them and make Google more awesome. At the time I was cool with that, and I still am today.

But now they are offering to sell those books through Google Books. The problem is, they were selling an electronic copy of the book, not a paper copy. But charging only a small percentage off the paperback cover price. So a pdf scanned ebook cost the customer almost as much as a trade paperback. That was not good and needed to change.

I have recently spent some time on the Google Books publishing back-end, trying to make sense of it. It’s similar to the Nook’s PubIt or Kindle’s KDP. Except this is Google, so it’s designed by nerdy engineers and thus is not very consumer friendly. If you already have books that were scanned by Google, you will have to go in and set an ebook price. Chances are, your book was scanned in as a pdf and will show up looking just like the paper version. If you would rather have a version that works on phones or ereaders, you will need to upload a new version of your book in epub format. Yes, this is allowed.

Ultimately, it is far better to have an epub ebook than a scanned pdf. If you don’t have an epub version of your book, you will need to make one. That’s outside the scope of this post. But if you are a savvy Indie Author and you have an epub version of your book, you can easily add it to Google Books.

One nice feature Google Books offers is the ability to upload a batch of books via a spreadsheet. You download a template from Google and fill it out with all the books in your inventory, then you upload the spreadsheet and it automatically adds all your book information. Then all you have to do is upload each book’s epub file.

The reason I took the time to investigate how Google Books worked is so that I can make my books available to Indie Bookstores who are now using Google to sell ebooks. This is important to me, and it should be important to all authors. Without your Indie Book stores, your readers dwindle and your community suffers. After you get working links for your books, head on over to your local Indie Bookseller and look your books up on their Google run ebook store. Then you can link to them from your blog or Facebook page and do  your part to help the local economy.

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