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Google Play Books: the world largest selection of ebooks?

Google Play Books claims to have “the world largest selection of ebooks”:

http://play.google.com/intl/en-US_us/about/books/index.html

My experience suggests the Play Books selection may be a little more limited. I did a quick check and I bought 53 ebooks at Amazon since July 2010, 23 of which self-published by indie authors.

Only 8 of the 53 ebooks I bought at Amazon are also available at Play Books, none of which self-published. Even many titles of major publishers are missing from Play Books.

Google has still a long way to go to attract traditional publishers, indie authors, and readers. As much as I love Google, I have to buy most of my ebooks elsewhere.

Some time ago I asked Smashwords founder +Mark Coker why he doesn’t mention Google as a potential digital publishing player, its issues as a distribution partner, a self-publishing platform, and Android as a player in the tablet market: http://goo.gl/lnqcF Here is Mark’s reply: http://goo.gl/GqC7Z

I’d appreciate the opinion on Play Books of +David Gaughran as a self-published indie author.
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9 comments
 
:) Long way but consider the margins Google has to play with versus Amazon.
 
Honestly? I don't care about Play, and I don't think anyone outside of Google does either. They have a tiny share of the market, and it hardly seems like they are moving mountains to change that. 

I don't publish with them because they don't let me. You have to be from the U.S. But even those in the U.S. don't bother. The interface is supposed to be awful, and even if you can navigate past its randomly snapping jaws, Google will arbitrarily discount your books, causing you price matching problems with Amazon.

And, of course, you won't sell anything there anyway. Looking at the Store - even after its much-touted redesign, it's easy to see why they're doing so poorly. 

When I go to the home page, all I see are a tab of six books along the bottom - none of which I've any interest in reading. I see no categories - they seem to exist, but you can't navigate to them from the homepage.

Even search is crap. I tried something simple, "historical fiction" which returns a couple of historical novels, and then a bunch of non-fiction books with the words "historical fiction" in the title. 

The category system is totally broken. Not only can you not access if from the homepage, even when you do click to a category on a books' page, you get very limited results - about 50 books. And there's no way to navigate to alternative categories.

Google certainly have the resources to compete with Amazon, but they need to do much, much better. This isn't an e-bookstore. It's a database for a digital warehouse.
 
It may actually be frustration rather than hostility.
 
+Paolo Amoroso wins the prize. It's frustration. I'd love Google to be a stronger competitor. I'm an ex-employee and remember my time their fondly. I also know that they can dominate a sector when they make it a priority. But I don't think e-books are a priority. The whole Play approach seems like an afterthought. Have you played around with the store? Have you tried to browse through categories? Have you tested Search? The latter especially is indicative of the lack of effort. Google could have a market leading product - if they wanted to. Maybe things will change, but I've been hoping that for a long time now and see little evidence of it.
 
Searching Play Books is a train wreck.
 
+Paolo Amoroso Just tried it, and you're soo right, BUT at the same time, I just pre-ordered a book that I wasn't aware of. :)
 
+Gareth Cook glad you found something useful there, I also once found a book I'm interested in that's not available at Amazon.
 
The process for an author to add books to Google Play, which goes through the Google Books program, is unbelievably difficult, to the point where I would describe it as publisher-hostile, esp. for indies.

Aside from one’s philosophical issues with Google Books and copyright, the fact that customer service is unresponsive, that there is no place to enter book descriptions or metadata (or ability to fix what they screen scrape from other sources), and that they discount without permission, has finally made me pull the plug on the whole channel, the only channel I’ve every had to do that with.

Google Play — NOT recommended for indie authors.

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