Author Topic: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books  (Read 13902 times)  

Offline Mercia McMahon

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3639
  • 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 #75 on: June 10, 2014, 05:53:10 AM »
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.

Google have a case because they are engaging in the practice that every retailer makes you sign up to: that they are the retailer and will chose how to sell the book in order to build their platform. This is perfectly legal even in Europe for Google (or Kobo or Apple or Nook or Amazon). KDP go one step further and cross the line into illegality (in Europe) because they are reducing your list price and threatening you with expulsion from the biggest eBook market if you do not toe the line. Google has no responsibility in law or business ethics to take into account the impact of unconscionable contracts at another company.


no longer writing political works (for work reasons)
Mercia McMahon | Author Site | Publishing Site | Pinterest

Offline MaryMcDonald

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4436
    • View Profile
    • M.P. McDonald
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #76 on: June 10, 2014, 06:26:08 AM »
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

Best solution in the thread.  :D

The Mark Taylor Series-Intense thrillers | CJ Sheridan Thrillers
M.P. McDonald | M.P. McDonald | Facebook | Amazon Author Page

Offline ElHawk

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3930
  • Gender: Female
  • San Juan Islands, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #77 on: June 10, 2014, 06:34:34 AM »
Google Play had one of my books discounted by about 90 cents for several months, and Amazon price-matched it. It didn't make a major impact on my income over at Amazon, so I left it alone to see whether keeping my books on Google Play would bring in more money than taking them off. After reading this thread, I just checked my sales reports on Google Play for the past few months...and noticed that they'd significantly discounted ALL my books by several dollars each. Fortunately, Amazon hadn't yet price-matched those books, too. I just pulled all my books from Google Play and won't be back until they change this crazy discounting policy.


Take Off Your Pants and see what everybody is talking about!
Libbie Hawker | Site + Blog | Mailing List | Twitter

Offline Patty Jansen

  • Status: Harvey Chute
  • *********
  • Posts: 12333
  • 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 #78 on: June 10, 2014, 06:37:35 AM »
Google Play had one of my books discounted by about 90 cents for several months, and Amazon price-matched it. It didn't make a major impact on my income over at Amazon, so I left it alone to see whether keeping my books on Google Play would bring in more money than taking them off. After reading this thread, I just checked my sales reports on Google Play for the past few months...and noticed that they'd significantly discounted ALL my books by several dollars each. Fortunately, Amazon hadn't yet price-matched those books, too. I just pulled all my books from Google Play and won't be back until they change this crazy discounting policy.

Why not just jack your price up on Google Play? They don't have a maximum.

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 #79 on: June 10, 2014, 07:01:41 AM »
Quote
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.


If I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying that Google is purposefully discounting books in order to trigger Amazon price-matching, in order to cause authors to remove their books from Google Play, in order to demonstrate that Amazon's practices are damaging Google financially.

I'm not sure that they are that Machiavellian. If so, what they are doing is unconscionable, devastating the incomes of self-publishers to advance their own corporate agenda.

I'm hoping that they simply haven't thought things through, that they're looking at their own store and thinking, "We're taking care of authors by paying them their full royalty even when we give their books away," and not considering the ultimate impact.

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

Offline FictionalWriter

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 992
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #80 on: June 10, 2014, 07:33:05 AM »
If this were the case, wouldn't you see CRAZY -- sell at no profit -- discounts of the bestsellers from traditional publishers? I imagine they'd attract WAY MORE readers that way. Why is this only happening to self-published books? Because they can. And because they don't care if they cannabilize our sales with the biggest ebook seller in the market.

Which isn't to say that I AGREE with how Amazon handles price matching. If Amazon would allow authors to just list their books free, no one would need Amazon to price match anything.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 07:37:51 AM by romanceauthor »

Offline Wansit

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2644
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #81 on: June 10, 2014, 07:51:34 AM »
I'm delisting today as well. Amazon price-matched my trilogy boxed set to a duology on GP.  :-\

Offline Mark E. Cooper

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 6625
  • Gender: Male
  • Essex, England
    • View Profile
    • Impulse Books UK
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #82 on: June 10, 2014, 08:00:55 AM »
I always check my sales pages each morning. I like to see trends mainly... for example, if reviews all suddenly turn mean, I want to know why. Maybe its a formatting thing or pricing thing I can fix.

I always keep an eye on pricing anyway. GP discounts 25% automatically. I've been there now for over 6 months and never been discounted to free, BUT I am guessing that might be because I made my book 1s free there anyway, and going free on a book 2 wouldn't make sense to GP.

Having said that, I wouldn't pull my books from GP just for doing what is basically good business. By paying me full royalty on a free book they get a lot of respect from me. I would run the numbers calmly, and if I am making more or the same with a Google discounted to free book, I would let it ride knowing my visibility at Amazon would increase when it price matches.

As far as I know, these GP free discounting things are limited similar to the Amazon select free days. I don't think I would lose overall if GP sent a book of mine free for 5 days. I could be wrong, but as I say I would run the numbers to decide, and even then I would probably turn that book off briefly to break the discount and then switch it back on.

Offline Lummox JR

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2720
  • Gender: Male
  • Syracuse, NY
    • View Profile
    • When I Become a Supervillain
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #83 on: June 10, 2014, 08:38:16 AM »
Google have a case because they are engaging in the practice that every retailer makes you sign up to: that they are the retailer and will chose how to sell the book in order to build their platform. This is perfectly legal even in Europe for Google (or Kobo or Apple or Nook or Amazon). KDP go one step further and cross the line into illegality (in Europe) because they are reducing your list price and threatening you with expulsion from the biggest eBook market if you do not toe the line. Google has no responsibility in law or business ethics to take into account the impact of unconscionable contracts at another company.

When Amazon price-matches I don't see how there's a threat of expulsion involved; they simply lower the price automatically in response to external information. If another market sells your book for less, they have no way to know if it's you who set it or the other market. They make it clear that they always want to be able to sell for your lowest price, so they can compete. If they paid you full price on books they sold lower than your list, they couldn't price match at all because a competitor (or an author) could screw them at will. What you're pushing is basically the agency pricing model, where you always get a set royalty regardless of the sale price--but the only reason that model doesn't screw Amazon right now is because the wholesale price of the book (which is much higher than the actual author royalty) is too high for a distributor to consider it good sense to run a free promo.

There's really nothing unconscionable about Amazon's arrangement breaking with this model--especially inasmuch as this market more or less wouldn't have existed without them. It does suck when another company forces the price match. Hence why it's simply a matter of good courtesy to give authors a heads-up if they're going to do so.
Aspiring supervillain, torturer of words, rantcrafter extraordinaire, and unlicensed blurb doctor

     Standalones     Paranormal Curio series

Offline Becca Mills

  • Moderator
  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *****
  • Posts: 9370
  • Gender: Female
  • California
    • View Profile
    • website
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #84 on: June 10, 2014, 08:54:17 AM »
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.

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.

Here are my permafree numbers on the two platforms (the book went free last November). This is copied and pasted from another forum:

all Amazons*: 6183 (Nov13) + 780 (Dec13) + 663 (Jan14) + 347 (Feb14) + 383 (Mar14) + 262 (Apr14) + 245 (May14) = 8863
Google: 974 (Nov-Mar) + 537 (Apr) + 619 (May14) = 2130

*vast majority = .com

So, Amazon is way ahead of GP due to a big start. But it's falling every month. In contrast, GP is increasing monthly. So far this month, GP is running at close to four times the Amazon downloads. This, of course, does not mean a paid book would follow the same pattern, and I'm not the best example, since I don't yet have a paid book as a follow-up. But if the paid ratios on the platforms are similar to the free downloads, I'd probably choose GP over Amazon, at this point.

Google Play had one of my books discounted by about 90 cents for several months, and Amazon price-matched it. It didn't make a major impact on my income over at Amazon, so I left it alone to see whether keeping my books on Google Play would bring in more money than taking them off. After reading this thread, I just checked my sales reports on Google Play for the past few months...and noticed that they'd significantly discounted ALL my books by several dollars each. Fortunately, Amazon hadn't yet price-matched those books, too. I just pulled all my books from Google Play and won't be back until they change this crazy discounting policy.

FYI, TK's megathread gives instructions on how to price your books so that, after normal discounting, the GP price is the same as the Amazon price. Sounds like maybe you were getting discounted at a higher rate than normal, though?

Offline PamelaKelley

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • MA
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #85 on: June 10, 2014, 09:35:17 AM »

I just read this thread with interest. Just this past weekend I read the Amazon/Jeff Bezos biography, The Everything Store, which was fascinating. Amazon had a history of doing this kind of thing whenever they wanted to conquer a market, price-matching and selling items at a loss to win market share. They lost millions, but then gained significant market share and often acquired the competitors they were targeting.

As distressing as this newest practice is with the deep-discounting that Google is doing, I actually see it as a long-term positive thing if they are able to gain significant market share away from Amazon. I'm not on Google yet, was planning to get on soon, but may hold off until this settles a bit. Hopefully they will ease off on discounting all the way to free.

Offline WDR

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1301
  • Gender: Male
  • Massachusetts
  • To boldly split infinitives
    • View Profile
    • Official Website of William D. Richards
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #86 on: June 10, 2014, 09:59:52 AM »
If Google is going to pay me full royalty while offering my book for free--God Bless Google! I would be delighted to see that happen! Who can I call to beg them to do this for me? That might even be worth bribing someone to set my price to $0. All I need is 5,000 10,000 copies to be downloaded... :D

The last time I read the Amazon TOS, I believe that in the part about price matching it was stated Amazon would match the competitor's price if the competitor price was set for more than a certain number of days. For example, if GP puts the price on your book to $0 for, say, only three days, it is unlikely that Amazon will match the $0 price. But if it went on for more than a week, then it would be price matched.

My advice is don't panic. Yell, scream, shout, stomp your feet, and vent. But don't panic. Once you've released your distress through a good emotional outburst, calmly review the facts and consider whether your emotional reaction was warranted or not. Then act upon the reasoned conclusion and not the emotional one.

As independent writers, we are held to and treated by a different standard than the big name/monied publishers. We are in a position where we could be seriously abused should a retailer decide they are going to take the greedy route and try to gouge us out of our income. The only position of strength we hold, is we can decide to no longer sell our wares through their retail channels. Any retailer can anger a few writers and just shrug it off. But anger a lot of writers and that could result in serious market-wide and financial damage to the retailer.

Imagine if Retailer-X decided instead of 70% they were only going to give the writers 10% of the proceeds and keep 90% for themselves--an almost 86% reduction of income for every independent writer. I'd bet it would take less than 14 hours before every writer removed their titles from that retailer. What if every retailer colluded to reduce the writer's share to less than 30%? Well, then I'd like to introduce everyone to Weird Willy's Ebook Emporium where we would offer an 75% share to writers, without the bull----: no mandatory price matching, opt in/out on scheduled store-wide sale pricing, set your own sales, allow you to generate coupons to hand out at conventions and shows, etc.

Hm-- Say, anyone got $10 million they can throw at me? I could have that up and running in a month! :)
Aggadeh Chronicles Book 3: Oracle: 11%
William D. Richards | Official Website | A Writer's Chronicles | Patreon

Offline atmaweapon

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 100
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #87 on: June 10, 2014, 10:13:58 AM »
Thanks for calling attention to this. I was thinking of putting all my books up on Google Play, but now I'm seriously reconsidering.

Offline Mercia McMahon

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3639
  • 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 #88 on: June 10, 2014, 03:06:59 PM »
When Amazon price-matches I don't see how there's a threat of expulsion involved; they simply lower the price automatically in response to external information. There's really nothing unconscionable about Amazon's arrangement breaking with this model--especially inasmuch as this market more or less wouldn't have existed without them. It does suck when another company forces the price match. Hence why it's simply a matter of good courtesy to give authors a heads-up if they're going to do so.

I suggest that you re-read your KDP contract, you signed up to never having a book on another retailer that is lower than Amazon (in the EU this is illegal). Sometimes they send a threatening email giving you so many days to fix it or face penalties (which can include expulsion for breach of contract, more likely just taking that book offline), mostly they just reduce your list price without sending an email to inform you. Retailers altering your prices but paying you the same list price is not bad (Amazon do it as well, its in your contract), the problem is Amazon's contract that punishes you when other retailers do it. An unconscionable contract.

Google are an even more ruthless company than Amazon and with far bigger pockets. They (and not us) are taking a financial hit on this deal because they can afford to and they can afford to force Amazon into monopolistic behaviour (i.e., it is them punishing us) and then Google are laughing all the way to the courts. Amazon's saving grace is that Apple are and always will be a hardware company and have no interest in selling books that will not drive hardware sales. Because Apple are even more ruthless than Google (just ask Samsung) and have the biggest pockets in the world.


no longer writing political works (for work reasons)
Mercia McMahon | Author Site | Publishing Site | Pinterest

Offline legion

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
  • Gender: Female
  • CanDoLand
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #89 on: June 10, 2014, 09:10:57 PM »
I recently submitted a few titles to GooglePlay, and it is because I'd heard of the crazy price-slashing practices that, besides the perma-free available everywhere, I submitted special GooglePlay editions (2-book bundles) not offered elsewhere. These bundles are priced higher than any single item I have available on Amazon etc., even after GP slashing (due to paranoia the bundle could be mistaken for one of the singles).

But I'm definitely keeping my eyes open since it seems almost anything goes with GP!


Offline Patty Jansen

  • Status: Harvey Chute
  • *********
  • Posts: 12333
  • 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 #90 on: June 10, 2014, 09:37:44 PM »
I recently submitted a few titles to GooglePlay, and it is because I'd heard of the crazy price-slashing practices that, besides the perma-free available everywhere, I submitted special GooglePlay editions (2-book bundles) not offered elsewhere. These bundles are priced higher than any single item I have available on Amazon etc., even after GP slashing (due to paranoia the bundle could be mistaken for one of the singles).

But I'm definitely keeping my eyes open since it seems almost anything goes with GP!



This is an awesome reply and gives me some good ideas. I tend to tailor my inventory to the specific retailer, and would like to do more of that.

Offline Shelley K

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2036
  • Does things wrong.
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #91 on: June 11, 2014, 12:33:31 AM »
I recently submitted a few titles to GooglePlay, and it is because I'd heard of the crazy price-slashing practices that, besides the perma-free available everywhere, I submitted special GooglePlay editions (2-book bundles) not offered elsewhere. These bundles are priced higher than any single item I have available on Amazon etc., even after GP slashing (due to paranoia the bundle could be mistaken for one of the singles).



Excellent.

Offline Zelah Meyer

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3681
  • Gender: Female
  • England
    • View Profile
    • My Website
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #92 on: June 11, 2014, 07:18:02 AM »
I recently submitted a few titles to GooglePlay, and it is because I'd heard of the crazy price-slashing practices that, besides the perma-free available everywhere, I submitted special GooglePlay editions (2-book bundles) not offered elsewhere. These bundles are priced higher than any single item I have available on Amazon etc., even after GP slashing (due to paranoia the bundle could be mistaken for one of the singles).

But I'm definitely keeping my eyes open since it seems almost anything goes with GP!

That is an excellent idea.  Thank you!

Offline ElHawk

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3930
  • Gender: Female
  • San Juan Islands, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #93 on: June 11, 2014, 07:24:11 AM »
Why not just jack your price up on Google Play? They don't have a maximum.

Because I'd probably sell even fewer, but if they still wanted to discount to $1.50 or whatever, Amazon would eventually price-match that, where they DO sell a lot, and it WOULD impact my income. So not selling any copies, or maybe two copies of a higher-priced but heavily-discounted book on Google Play would not make up for the loss of income on Amazon.

In fact, in an eerie coincidence, after I posted in this thread Amazon DID price-match the box set, which I'd told GP to remove but it was still processing, so still up on the website for a few hours. All my books are now gone from Google Play but both price-matched books are still price-matched on Amazon, including the one that earns me the most. I'm taking a two-dollar-per-sale hit on it, which adds up fast. Hopefully Amazon updates soon and it goes back to regular price.


Take Off Your Pants and see what everybody is talking about!
Libbie Hawker | Site + Blog | Mailing List | Twitter

Offline Wansit

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2644
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #94 on: June 11, 2014, 07:30:56 AM »
I recently submitted a few titles to GooglePlay, and it is because I'd heard of the crazy price-slashing practices that, besides the perma-free available everywhere, I submitted special GooglePlay editions (2-book bundles) not offered elsewhere. These bundles are priced higher than any single item I have available on Amazon etc., even after GP slashing (due to paranoia the bundle could be mistaken for one of the singles).

But I'm definitely keeping my eyes open since it seems almost anything goes with GP!



Just FYI - that's exactly what I did and my duology on GP was price-matched to the trilogy boxed set on Amazon. That, and the fact that I rarely sold there, made me pull it.

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 #95 on: June 11, 2014, 08:10:53 AM »
A heads-up to the author, from Google Play, that their book was about to be offered for free would solve the problem for me. I'd de-list the book from Amazon during that time period, which would also serve Google.

I don't know how serious Google is about giving away books and paying the royalty anyway. For instance, if I knew that such a promo was coming up, I'd go for the whole promo push hoping for thousands of downloads. I wonder what Google would think of that.

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

Offline Quiss

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5199
  • Gender: Female
  • Canada
  • spits infinitives
    • View Profile
    • Chris Reher Author page
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #96 on: June 11, 2014, 09:10:10 AM »
A heads-up to the author, from Google Play, that their book was about to be offered for free would solve the problem for me. I'd de-list the book from Amazon during that time period, which would also serve Google.

I don't know how serious Google is about giving away books and paying the royalty anyway. For instance, if I knew that such a promo was coming up, I'd go for the whole promo push hoping for thousands of downloads. I wonder what Google would think of that.

Ha! Business idea:  Create a Bookbub-esque service that targets only Google users at short notice. Charge authors to promote those free promos to those users directly.
Imagine how much authors would pay to get a few thousand downloads!
        NEW:

 
author website | facebook

Offline Crime fighters

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Ohio
  • Something in the way
    • View Profile
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #97 on: June 11, 2014, 10:07:12 AM »
A heads-up to the author, from Google Play, that their book was about to be offered for free would solve the problem for me. I'd de-list the book from Amazon during that time period, which would also serve Google.

I don't know how serious Google is about giving away books and paying the royalty anyway. For instance, if I knew that such a promo was coming up, I'd go for the whole promo push hoping for thousands of downloads. I wonder what Google would think of that.

You really think it's be worth it to lose your rankings on Amazon?

Offline Debbie Bennett

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1764
  • Gender: Female
  • UK
    • View Profile
    • Debbie's website
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #98 on: June 11, 2014, 10:27:01 AM »
Small comparisons, but I ended up putting my prices up on Smashwords for this reason. Smashwords distribute to B&N at US$ prices and B&N push to Nook UK at (with their own exchange rate), so I can't set a separate UK price. Then Amazon UK price-match to Nook.

So I had to set all my Smashwords prices $1 higher, so that my Amazon UK Price could be what I wanted it to be.....













Psychological thriller/crime & fantasy writer

All ebook formats and paperbacks available.
www.debbiebennett.co.uk

Hamelin's Child currently FREE in most ebook stores
Rat Run coming soon ...

Offline DuncanMH

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 149
    • View Profile
    • Website
Re: Why I had to delete my book from Google Play Books
« Reply #99 on: June 11, 2014, 11:33:56 AM »
I was wondering if this is a recent development, or if it's been happening for a while? Anyone know?

DH