Author Topic: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books  (Read 13536 times)  

Offline Betsy the Quilter

  • To paraphrase Bill Murray in Groundhog Day: "I'm a goddess; not THE Goddess. I don't think."
  • Administrator
  • Status: Shakespeare
  • *****
  • Posts: 63032
  • Gender: Female
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Love all, moderate all, to quote my friend Harvey
    • View Profile
    • Betsy True Designs
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #50 on: June 09, 2014, 05:10:11 PM »
OK, nobody_important, no member was accused of illegal price fixing. I don't read Craig's post that way. Let's keep it civil, please.

Betsy

Goodreads Goal -- 75 books


Joined 10/27/2008  | Miss you, Harvey, Jeff & Dona!
Harvey Chute (1962-2015), KB Founder

Proud Owner: Oasis/Voyage/Touch/Basic/K1/Fire HDX
Betsy True Designs Facebook | My Store

Offline K.B.

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1444
  • Ohio
  • Something in the way
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #51 on: June 09, 2014, 05:11:34 PM »
So... you're arguing in favor of what Hachette and the rest of the Big 5 are fighting over. No discounting, total control over prices, paid the same regardless of price.

You've just formed the argument for Agency Pricing, aka illegal price fixing, which Apple and the Big 5 were convicted of and fined millions for, just a couple years ago.

Just so you know. :)

You're not as spot on as you think you are.

The difference, and it's huge, is that when Amazon discounts Trade books, the publishers still get paid the same amount no matter the price. I think it's wonderful that Google Books does the same for Indies, but there's a caveat. So this might be a problem on Amazon's end but as said upstream, it's not an easy policy to fix. The only real solution is for Amazon to offer across the board royalties and offer the full royalty for discounted ebooks, whether they were the one's who set it or if they price matched.

K.B. Nelson | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Offline Mercia McMahon

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3583
  • Gender: Female
  • London
  • living in the Shadow of pulp speed
    • View Profile
    • Mercia McMahon
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #52 on: June 09, 2014, 05:28:32 PM »
Question.  When YOU publish YOUR books at wherever dot com,  do YOU say that YOU agree to THEIR terms of service?

And as far as price matching: in the US, it is legal for stores to match or not match their competitors prices.   

In Europe it is the Terms of Service that are illegal in that the author has signed an agreement with KDP to never have anyone cheaper than Amazon and you will be threatened with your account being terminated at KDP for such a transgression, but in reality Amazon just arbitrarily reduce your list price to save you the bother. This means that the KDP contract requires you to give them (to coin a US phrase) favoured nation status to Seattle. This is highly illegal in the EU, and probably skirted the law in the US.

That basically means every author on kboards not in Select has the European Competition Commission fighting their corner. Amazon do their price-matching on the basis of the USD price so they are still breaking the law over most UK and German authors. Microsoft were fined 561,000,000 Euros (731,000,000 USD at the time) over the browser wars and one of the beneficiaries of the ruling were our friends at Google.


Mercia McMahon | Author Site | Publishing Site | Pinterest

Offline Mercia McMahon

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3583
  • Gender: Female
  • London
  • living in the Shadow of pulp speed
    • View Profile
    • Mercia McMahon
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #53 on: June 09, 2014, 05:37:41 PM »
Every ebook distributor has to be aware of Amazon's policy, inasmuch as they're the biggest game in town; if they want to grow their own piece of the pie it is unconscionable to do anything that jeopardizes an author's earnings on Amazon. Google's behavior is the sort that will drive authors away from them, harming their own ability to compete with Amazon. Way to shoot yourself in the foot, Google!

Well done, go to the head of the class, you have chanced on the real purpose of Google discounting. This is about forcing authors to quit Google out of fear of Amazon. Those going back into Select are an irrelevancy to them, Google legal want evidence that their profits are being harmed by restrictive practices at Amazon. Remember that Amazon might be the behemoth of publishing, but as a company they are a moth compared to Google. The company that owns Chrome and agitated for European action against Microsoft (although the case was brought by Opera). So this thread is exactly what they want to read. If the OP followed the suggestion to send this thread link to Google you can guarantee that if it is not already in the legal department it soon will be.


Mercia McMahon | Author Site | Publishing Site | Pinterest

Okey Dokey

  • Guest
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #54 on: June 09, 2014, 06:36:11 PM »
Perhaps the problem is that Amazon does not buy our product. We just Amazon the right to sell it at whatever price Amazon sets.

Other retail businesses are different. If Macy's wants a new line of dresses, it pays a wholesale price. If Macy's has a sale, the producer has already made its money, which was not based on the selling price.

In other words, we should be getting 70% as the wholesale price for our products, regardless of what the Amazon's discounted price is.

But we're not operating in the business of contracts. We live and die by Terms of Service that can change on the whim of one party and at any time AFTER we give them the right to sell our products.

Thanks for the lowdown on Google. It's a snake in the Garden of Eden

Offline cinisajoy

  • Status: Harvey Chute
  • *********
  • Posts: 12792
  • Gender: Female
  • Texas
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #55 on: June 09, 2014, 07:01:06 PM »
Here is the thing. Amazon is more like a flea market than a retailer for most self publishers.

No I have not lost my mind.
You are a vendor.   You are using Amazon to sell your product.  Here is where the flea market comes in.
At a flea market, you pay a set price for your space.  At Amazon, you pay a percentage of what you sell.  Either way, you pay for your space.  Now to continue.  Flea Market is the draw not Fred's stuff.  Amazon is the draw not Craig's burn dinner books. 
People go to flea markets/Amazon to look for stuff.  If they find and like your stuff great.
Flea markets have contracts as does Amazon.
Would you sell as much from your front porch or your own website?
And remember y'all signed the contracts.
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

Please help our friend and fellow kboarder Craig Hansen.

Offline Lummox JR

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2718
  • Gender: Male
  • Syracuse, NY
    • View Profile
    • When I Become a Supervillain
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #56 on: June 09, 2014, 07:05:09 PM »
Well done, go to the head of the class, you have chanced on the real purpose of Google discounting. This is about forcing authors to quit Google out of fear of Amazon. Those going back into Select are an irrelevancy to them, Google legal want evidence that their profits are being harmed by restrictive practices at Amazon. Remember that Amazon might be the behemoth of publishing, but as a company they are a moth compared to Google. The company that owns Chrome and agitated for European action against Microsoft (although the case was brought by Opera). So this thread is exactly what they want to read. If the OP followed the suggestion to send this thread link to Google you can guarantee that if it is not already in the legal department it soon will be.

I don't see how Google would have a case, though. If I had books in Google Play, I'd be quitting them right now not out of fear of Amazon, but because Google is either completely or willfully blind to my needs. Google would have no problems doing this kind of thing for authors enrolled in an exclusive program, like KDP Select. But if Google makes one of your books go free without telling you, you can lose out on all kinds of Amazon sales in the interim, without even being given notice. Google knows Amazon matches price and that its royalties are a percentage model; hence they know by doing this they screw authors. Either they're making books free or discounted as part of a short-sighted play to grow their store at the expense of the long game (not inconceivable), or they're just outright malicious.
Aspiring supervillain, torturer of words, rantcrafter extraordinaire, and unlicensed blurb doctor

     Standalones     Paranormal Curio series

Offline nobody_important

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 551
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #57 on: June 09, 2014, 07:17:20 PM »
Perhaps the problem is that Amazon does not buy our product. We just Amazon the right to sell it at whatever price Amazon sets.

Other retail businesses are different. If Macy's wants a new line of dresses, it pays a wholesale price. If Macy's has a sale, the producer has already made its money, which was not based on the selling price.

In other words, we should be getting 70% as the wholesale price for our products, regardless of what the Amazon's discounted price is.

But we're not operating in the business of contracts. We live and die by Terms of Service that can change on the whim of one party and at any time AFTER we give them the right to sell our products.

Thanks for the lowdown on Google. It's a snake in the Garden of Eden

Nobody gets 70% on wholesale. Makers usually get about 50% or less. Not even Harlequin gets more than 50%.

BTW -if you want to go through the hassle, then you can set up a publishing company and have a wholesale distribution contract with Amazon. And as a micro publisher, you're probably not going to get a better deal than Hachette or anybody else for that matter.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 07:19:07 PM by nobody_important »

Offline J. Tanner

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 956
  • Gender: Male
  • California
    • View Profile
    • J. Tanner vs. the Page
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #58 on: June 09, 2014, 07:33:26 PM »
Too late now, but if I were you I just would have raised the price to something crazy. If they want to give it away without your permission and pay you anyway, they can pay you A LOT for the privilege.  ;D
J. Tanner vs. the Page (blog)

Collection        | Appearing in                          | Stories                                        (KU)          (KU)        | Action/Adventure Series

Offline P.C. (Peter) Anders

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 372
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #59 on: June 09, 2014, 07:34:24 PM »
Not wanting to do your husband or assistants out of a job, but you could just use http://luzme.com which does that for you (free) :)

Misses out many platforms for my books: in fact, it's very Apple-oriented.
Author of non-pc, humorous, humanist travelogues & meditations on massage in the U.S., Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc.
Kindle: http://author.to/PCAnders
Createspace: http://bit.ly/1ovyoC2
Apple: http://bit.ly/MassageI
Google Play: http://bit.ly/PCAndersGP
Kobo: http://bit.ly/XbhCEm
Nook : http://bit.ly/14BorGc
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/X754O3
Blog: http://uncensoredmassage.tumblr.com
Twitter: @imbooks

Offline Jan Strnad

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2819
  • Gender: Male
  • Los Angeles CA USA
  • Under the Endeavor
    • View Profile
    • OneLastTime.org
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #60 on: June 09, 2014, 08:07:00 PM »
Too late now, but if I were you I just would have raised the price to something crazy. If they want to give it away without your permission and pay you anyway, they can pay you A LOT for the privilege.  ;D

Yeah, list your books for $1,000,000 with Google and let's see how quickly they put it out there for free! ;D

Providing strange stories to discerning readers since 1972
Jan Strnad | Facebook | Author Page | Website

Offline olefish

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 454
    • View Profile
    • omnifish
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #61 on: June 09, 2014, 08:12:53 PM »
If Amazon can discount willy-nilly, why can't Google?  And why should Google care about our revenues from Amazon? Sure it might be rude, and perhaps unwise of them, to ignore author wishes, but there are many authors with many disparate wishes ...
Even though most authors make the bulk of their sales from amazon, there are still many more who make almost nothing and so wouldn't mind Google giving them free money. I, for one, don't mind if Google discounts my book for free and still pays me my cut. And if I hate the discounting so much, I could jack up the price and make Google pay me more for the privilege of making my book free.  (You can always email amazon to revert the book back to paid once Google stops free-discounting the books)

Google is doing what it's best for them, not for any particular author, definitely not for Amazon. Everyone else should decide to do what's best for themselves.  Let's not tar Google for doing what Amazon does vagrantly.

Offline K.B.

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1444
  • Ohio
  • Something in the way
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #62 on: June 09, 2014, 08:23:25 PM »
I think there are quite a few people in this thread missing the point. Google is free to do whatever they want within the limits of their ToC and we have the right to b*tch about it and pull our books from their platform if it risks sales on Amazon -- otherwise known as the biggest game in town. Sorry. It's a business decision. If it happened to me, I'd be pretty ticked, not because Google is nec. in the wrong, but because the precedent wasn't there and hits out of the blue.

K.B. Nelson | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Offline Lummox JR

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2718
  • Gender: Male
  • Syracuse, NY
    • View Profile
    • When I Become a Supervillain
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #63 on: June 09, 2014, 09:22:56 PM »
Too late now, but if I were you I just would have raised the price to something crazy. If they want to give it away without your permission and pay you anyway, they can pay you A LOT for the privilege.  ;D

I like the way you think, sir. :)
Aspiring supervillain, torturer of words, rantcrafter extraordinaire, and unlicensed blurb doctor

     Standalones     Paranormal Curio series

Offline Shelley K

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1942
  • Does things wrong.
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #64 on: June 09, 2014, 11:42:29 PM »
I think there are quite a few people in this thread missing the point.

Yes.

1. When Google discounts and potentially costs an author dozens, hundreds, thousands of dollars in doing so, it's a problem.

2. All the retailers have TOS that allow them to change prices at will. If I'm unwilling to allow that, I can't sell books anywhere. Google appears to be the only one doing this kind of thing, though.

3. This is nothing like when Amazon discounts trade books. The publisher is paid the same, and no other retailer drops their prices and pays the publishers less. Very different situation.

4. Pointing out that too bad, it's in the TOS you agreed to, particularly when the people involved well know this, accomplishes what, exactly?

5. I've yet to hear about Amazon suddenly giving away someone's book and causing them to lose thousands at another retailer. If Google's doing it, it merits discussion. It's important to decide if the risk is worth the reward of selling there.

6. It's a big deal. Picture your $500 a day seller suddenly free on Google Play, and price-matched to free on Amazon. Even for a day or two, that could be devastating to something climbing the charts. Just taking it off the paid lists could be devastating and keep a book that was destined for the top from ever getting there. Minimizing the situation doesn't help.

7. Google's not going to change their policy, at least not until people leave in droves, which I doubt will happen. Finding ways to get around a potentially damaging discount are the best option aside from pulling books. (I don't sell there, because I don't want to be bothered with watching them like a hawk.)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 02:02:52 AM by Betsy the Quilter »

Offline Becca Mills

  • Moderator
  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *****
  • Posts: 8909
  • Gender: Female
  • California
    • View Profile
    • The Active Voice
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #65 on: June 09, 2014, 11:56:02 PM »
I'm looking forward to the day this happens to someone, and they shrug and take the book off Amazon until GP puts the price back up.

Getting paid full royalties on a free book is a marvelous deal. I've never heard of the other retailers paying on a freebie. As GP grabs more market share, this practice could become one of its best features.


Offline K.B.

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1444
  • Ohio
  • Something in the way
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #66 on: June 10, 2014, 12:05:41 AM »
Maybe a certain illegitimate service could boost free downloads during an impromptu promotion....

KIDDING, people!

K.B. Nelson | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Offline Leanne King

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 652
  • Gender: Female
  • Southend
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #67 on: June 10, 2014, 12:10:44 AM »
You can't rely upon luzme. It displays inaccurate prices and incidentally it can give you a heart attack or stroke! I just tried it, and I know my prices are correct. I check every few days. Luzme says all my books are priced wrong when I know none are.

Interesting. I check Luzme against actual prices regularly (admittedly not every day, I'd have no time to write if I did that!), and it's always been spot on. The alerts work great too. I wonder why it's flaky for some.

Misses out many platforms for my books: in fact, it's very Apple-oriented.

It includes all the platforms in your signature (apart from Smashwords own store, which doesn't discount anyway), and Google Play as well. It also checks stores on a per-country basis.

Sounds like quite a few people aren't enamoured with Luzme. A gap in the market for a better price checking site? Opportunity for Jim Kukral perhaps?

Offline Becca Mills

  • Moderator
  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *****
  • Posts: 8909
  • Gender: Female
  • California
    • View Profile
    • The Active Voice
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2014, 12:12:53 AM »
Maybe a certain illegitimate service could boost free downloads during an impromptu promotion....

KIDDING, people!

Heh. Seriously. Once GP gets wind of the FBSs of the world, they'll probably put an end to this practice tout de suite.

Offline Shelley K

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1942
  • Does things wrong.
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #69 on: June 10, 2014, 12:17:37 AM »
I'm looking forward to the day this happens to someone, and they shrug and take the book off Amazon until GP puts the price back up.

That's an option for a book that doesn't sell worth two squirts at Amazon. For one that sells, though, taking it off sale is practically book suicide.

Quote
Getting paid full royalties on a free book is a marvelous deal.

If the free downloads increase much, sure. I don't think they'll increase enough to offset losses at Amazon if it's price-matched (again, unless the book doesn't sell anyway).  I wonder if someone with a free book at Google Play would be willing to share download numbers? I'm guessing they're nothing like the Zon's.

Quote
I've never heard of the other retailers paying on a freebie. As GP grabs more market share, this practice could become one of its best features.

Amazon did pay full royalties at first, actually, usually because of price-matching. It may have been accidental, in fact, I'm not sure. Some people really raked it in when their free book was downloaded thousands of times, earning $2 a pop. They stopped doing that pretty quickly. I think if Google gets anywhere near as big as Amazon, and has nearly that many downloads, they'll stop it, too.

Offline Patty Jansen

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 12013
  • Gender: Female
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Destroyer of Science Fiction
    • View Profile
    • Patty Jansen Author of SF and fantasy
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #70 on: June 10, 2014, 01:11:17 AM »
I don't sell much on Amazon. If I'd ever find something like this problematic, I'd happily remove the book from Amazon. In fact, I already have some short works that are only available on other platforms. It's quite liberating. I can make a book free or discount it for a few weeks or months on selected platforms without triggering a freebie/discounting downward gouging slide.

Offline ricola

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2118
  • Gender: Female
  • she's singing! love to all!
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2014, 01:30:07 AM »
The sales you might lose from it wouldn't be equal to the free downloads on Amazon, though.  Unless I was moving a big hunk of the number on Amazon for paid that I would on Google for free, I wouldn't sweat it too much.  Since I've figured out Google, I've started moving hundreds of free ebooks (instead of ones of free ebooks, LOL), so I had a higher price point and was moving, say, 100 per day on Google versus 30 per day paid on Amazon and getting paid the same, I'd take it.

Offline FictionalWriter

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 992
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2014, 03:58:36 AM »
The sales you might lose from it wouldn't be equal to the free downloads on Amazon, though.  Unless I was moving a big hunk of the number on Amazon for paid that I would on Google for free, I wouldn't sweat it too much.  Since I've figured out Google, I've started moving hundreds of free ebooks (instead of ones of free ebooks, LOL), so I had a higher price point and was moving, say, 100 per day on Google versus 30 per day paid on Amazon and getting paid the same, I'd take it.

Unless you remove the book from Amazon when it goes free on Google, it's game over.  Your downloads on GP will vanish. Everyone will download it from Amazon. Your sales will also dry up at other retailers. It's free on Amazon, why go to iTunes or B&N and pay for it. Just because it may not have been selling well as a PAID book doesn't mean it won't be scooped up by readers looking for something new in the "free" store.

For me, this was my bestselling book -- certainly historically. I absolutely could not AFFORD to have this book go free on Amazon or the sales of it to die everywhere else. Not if I wanted to keep some decent money coming in every month.


Offline Patty Jansen

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 12013
  • Gender: Female
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Destroyer of Science Fiction
    • View Profile
    • Patty Jansen Author of SF and fantasy
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2014, 04:08:03 AM »
Unless you remove the book from Amazon when it goes free on Google, it's game over.  Your downloads on GP will vanish. Everyone will download it from Amazon. Your sales will also dry up at other retailers. It's free on Amazon, why go to iTunes or B&N and pay for it. Just because it may not have been selling well as a PAID book doesn't mean it won't be scooped up by readers looking for something new in the "free" store.

For me, this was my bestselling book -- certainly historically. I absolutely could not AFFORD to have this book go free on Amazon or the sales of it to die everywhere else. Not if I wanted to keep some decent money coming in every month.



I think you underestimate the loyalty people have to their chosen channel, especially the non-Amazon channels. You'll find more cross-pollination from GP to, say, B&N or Kobo because of the shared format.

If I wanted a book, I'd go on Kobo and get the book. I wouldn't even LOOK on Amazon, because I don't have a Kindle. OK, I have a tablet with the Kindle app, but I dislike shopping on Amazon and have let my account lapse, because they require me to give my credit card number for freebie download. Nup. Not happening, dudes.

I actually tested this site loyalty. My first permafree was free for many months on Amazon before it was free on Kobo. It was my absolute bestselling title on Kobo (and it never did much on Amazon), so I was reluctant to set it free on Kobo, too. I imagined the sales would eventually taper off as people would buy it elsewhere.

They didn't.

Offline Hugh Howey

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3440
  • Gender: Male
  • Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
    • Hugh Howey
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2014, 05:30:19 AM »
Yes.

1. When Google discounts and potentially costs an author dozens, hundreds, thousands of dollars in doing so, it's a problem.

2. All the retailers have TOS that allow them to change prices at will. If I'm unwilling to allow that, I can't sell books anywhere. Google appears to be the only one doing this kind of thing, though.

3. This is nothing like when Amazon discounts trade books. The publisher is paid the same, and no other retailer drops their prices and pays the publishers less. Very different situation.

4. Pointing out that too bad, it's in the TOS you agreed to, particularly when the people involved well know this, accomplishes what, exactly?

5. I've yet to hear about Amazon suddenly giving away someone's book and causing them to lose thousands at another retailer. If Google's doing it, it merits discussion. It's important to decide if the risk is worth the reward of selling there.

6. It's a big deal. Picture your $500 a day seller suddenly free on Google Play, and price-matched to free on Amazon. Even for a day or two, that could be devastating to something climbing the charts. Just taking it off the paid lists could be devastating and keep a book that was destined for the top from ever getting there. Minimizing the situation doesn't help.

7. Google's not going to change their policy, at least not until people leave in droves, which I doubt will happen. Finding ways to get around a potentially damaging discount are the best option aside from pulling books. (I don't sell there, because I don't want to be bothered with watching them like a hawk.)

Every bit of this.
 
Hugh Howey | author website | facebook | twitter | goodreads

Buy Scrivener for Windows or Mac