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Whimsical Writing
02-07-2015, 10:08 PM
Hello!

I considered Google Play a while back, but when I read their info pages, it seemed like they could play around with book pricing. I didn't sell my books through them. Is this true, though? I know when it comes to a retailer and price matching, they do it, but aside from that, they leave your prices as-is.

Could you share your experience, good or bad, please? I'd love to know more about them.

Thanks!

WriterBN
02-07-2015, 11:23 PM
I've avoided Google Play precisely because of their pricing policy.

M. H. Lee
02-07-2015, 11:26 PM
Prior to the EU VAT changes Google Play would almost universally discount your book price by 23% or so. (I don't think they did it for 99 cent or $1.49 titles and maybe a few other cheap price points.)

I've heard that that had changed since the EU VAT changes took effect in January, but I have yet to get a nastygram from Amazon related to my prices, so haven't done anything about it.

There were also some popular authors who had Google Play discount their books to free and then had Amazon price match. Since Amazon is such a large percent of so many author's sales, this was a big hit for them. Not sure how common that is. If it's happened to my titles, I certainly haven't noticed it...

Arpeggio
02-08-2015, 12:10 AM
As far as I know Google's pricing policy is that they can discount your eBook within their retail discount % and you still get the same %. The same as how Amazon works or anywhere else for that matter.

Is there something I'm missing or is it that you are saying you'd rather not have any other place than Amazon discount your book?

My experience with GPlay is that the only difference in money I get is due to exchange rates when the eBooks are bought from countries that are not my own currency; the RRP in my own currency is converted for overseas sales as I have set RRP for my own currency only. For stronger currencies I get a few pennies more, weaker ones a few pennies less. If I was bothered by that then I could just set the RRP for all currencies.

Their sales reporting system is glitchy however.

Whimsical Writing
02-08-2015, 01:53 AM
So it is true about them reducing price. If they discount it and Amazon sees it, suddenly I'm losing a lot. So then, what about pricing it higher at GPlay so that it better absorbs their discount? It's not bad, if what Arpeggio says happens. If they still give you your royalty at the price you set despite what they change price to, then it's not so bad. However, the trouble comes when the price-matching wars start. Since Amazon is the bulk of my sales, then I guess I will have to skip GPlay.

c.m.n.
02-08-2015, 02:39 AM
I used GPlay to publish a freebie a few years back. Their system is mind-boggling, but I've had a lot of download for that one short story since then.

Considering their pricing policy, I wouldn't put anything on there that costs $$ for fear they could discount. I do know some readers use GPlay for their ebooks to phones, though, so I'm thinking of using it more for freebies.

Arpeggio
02-09-2015, 01:01 AM
It's not bad, if what Arpeggio says happens. If they still give you your royalty at the price you set despite what they change price to, then it's not so bad. However, the trouble comes when the price-matching wars start. Since Amazon is the bulk of my sales, then I guess I will have to skip GPlay.

In theory, if elsewhere price matched Amazon for your book making Amazon go lower as a result, your book becomes cheaper on Amazon and as a result sells more while you get the same % (profits have never mattered to Amazon since they started 20 years ago.)

I can understand that you're apprehensive about going away from what you are used to and what works for you. If you are already not exclusive to Amazon then I don't think you would be stepping much further.

Whimsical Writing
02-09-2015, 01:18 AM
I'm thinking about it. I'm curious to see how it goes, so maybe I'll give it a try. I have a tendency to think things over a bit too much, and never go at it. Thanks for the info. ��

girlyswot
02-09-2015, 02:56 AM
As far as I know Google's pricing policy is that they can discount your eBook within their retail discount % and you still get the same %. The same as how Amazon works or anywhere else for that matter.

Is there something I'm missing or is it that you are saying you'd rather not have any other place than Amazon discount your book?



The difference is that only Amazon pricematches to other sites. So if Amazon choose to discount your book, you're still being paid the full royalty for your list price everywhere (at Amazon because they chose to discount, everywhere else because it's still full price). But if another site chooses to discount you won't get paid the full royalty by Amazon when they price match. Google Play has been known to discount books to free, which Amazon then pricematch. You get paid the full royalty by Google, but nothing by Amazon. That can cost you a lot.

slhuang
02-09-2015, 04:31 AM
I've avoided Google Play precisely because of their pricing policy.

Same, because of what girlyswot said.

It's Amazon's price-matching policies that make dealing with Google Play's price-changing policies untenable to me. GP is not a large enough segment of the market -- the money I would make through them doesn't justify the risk for me of losing money through Amazon. So between the two, I choose Amazon.

I would be happy to sell through GP as soon as they allow an option to have one's price stay fixed, or as soon as Amazon stops price-matching.

Arpeggio
02-10-2015, 03:36 AM
The difference is that only Amazon pricematches to other sites. So if Amazon choose to discount your book, you're still being paid the full royalty for your list price everywhere (at Amazon because they chose to discount, everywhere else because it's still full price). But if another site chooses to discount you won't get paid the full royalty by Amazon when they price match. Google Play has been known to discount books to free, which Amazon then pricematch. You get paid the full royalty by Google, but nothing by Amazon. That can cost you a lot.

Oh my! Thanks for informing me on that. To me that's sounds illegal but I guess it isn't?! I take it that's in the contract for KDP and perhaps CS but what if you go through an Aggregate such as Draft2Digital? I can't see big publishers having that applied to them as it would be rediculous and suicidal for them. My sigline might be apt.

J. Tanner
02-10-2015, 07:05 AM
This is only concerning ebooks, not POD paperbacks, since Play is digital goods only.

It doesn't affect Draft2Digital because they don't distribute to either Amazon or Play.

Play sells more for me than Kobo, iBooks, and B&N combined.

I priced slightly higher on Play to let them discount and still not impact my Amazon price.

I've had no issues, but I've seen the reports from people who've experienced the pricing problems noted above.

Arpeggio
02-11-2015, 12:06 AM
It doesn't affect Draft2Digital because they don't distribute to either Amazon or Play.

So it's an Amazon vs Google thing, as opposed to Amazon vs anywhere that competes on price? I didn't know D2D no longer distribute eBooks to Amazon, thanks for telling me.


Play sells more for me than Kobo, iBooks, and B&N combined.

Similarly Play sells more for me than Amazon. I notice you mostly link to Amazon on your blog, is that because Play is strong enough on its own and most people that come across your blog would opt for Kindle?

Seems Amazon is getting more unscrupulous with self-published authors what with things like this and KDP unlimited royalties. The amount of Pirate and counterfeit stuff sold on there peeves me also, I guess they aren't going to bother to do anything about it if they aren't going act upon the following since having been first told about it as far back as 2009.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/08/amazon-japan-s-child-porn-problem.html

If Amazon had a machine that a was powered by the screams of dying Kittens and Puppies their customers wouldn't mind so long as prices are cheap and delivery is fast and free.

J. Tanner
02-11-2015, 01:07 AM
So it's an Amazon vs Google thing, as opposed to Amazon vs anywhere that competes on price?

Yep, because of Google Play's discounting policy. Another store (Diesel? Kobo? Sony?) in the deep dark past (2011?) had the same problem though Smashwords and eventually pressure from SW (and SW authors pulling their books) caused them to stop discounting. Google is probably too big to care about that level of pressure.




Similarly Play sells more for me than Amazon. I notice you mostly link to Amazon on your blog, is that because Play is strong enough on its own and most people that come across your blog would opt for Kindle?

Nothing that thought out. I did my layout and icons long before I had anything on Play. Never went backwards to update old posts. My blog never really generated any traffic to the stores anyway based on link tracking results. My buyers discovered me through the stores themselves. (As you grow your audience, I imaging such things play a larger and larger role.)



Seems Amazon is getting more unscrupulous with self-published authors what with things like this and KDP unlimited royalties.

I don't think they've changed much, nor that they're particularly unscrupulous. They're first self-interested as a business, as we all tend to be. The third-party that most aligns with their interests is customers. Self-published authors align in some ways, but are a distant second to their customers. Large publishers face the same basic problem, but with different symptoms. It's important to remember that Amazon EARNED their position in the market, and made their vendors lots of money along the way through their innovations.


The amount of Pirate and counterfeit stuff sold on there peeves me also, I guess they aren't going to bother to do anything about it if they aren't going act upon the following since having been first told about it as far back as 2009.

They've been addressing such things in small ways all along. But scam vendors are like a constantly morphing virus that'll never likely be cured--just mitigated.



If Amazon had a machine that a was powered by the screams of dying Kittens and Puppies their customers wouldn't mind so long as prices are cheap and delivery is fast and free.

Some wouldn't, but mostly hyperbole I'd guess. :) I think Amazon is great as both a customer and vendor. They're far from perfect though.

Google Play pleasantly surprised me once I got through their byzantine upload process.

Arpeggio
02-12-2015, 02:22 AM
Google is probably too big to care about that level of pressure.

At least someone is.



They're first self-interested as a business, as we all tend to be.

Barnes & Nobleís profit margin blows Amazonís out of the water. Amazon hasnít made a profit for 20 years and has a share price to earnings ratio of over 500/1.


Amazon EARNED their position in the market

Its profit margins have always been smaller than the % advantage it has had from not having to pay sales tax (until 2014).


The third-party that most aligns with their interests is customers.

The whole customer centric thing is just an easy way to pump the stock to 500/1 with increasing market share without making any profit. If they could hand deliver by royal courier Mr. Darcy lookalike on unicorn back at a loss they would so long as the stock goes up.

J. Tanner
02-12-2015, 06:36 AM
Hm. I'm not sure why Amazon's stock price, profit or P/E ratio are all that relevant to self-publishing with them, but on that topic one important thing to remember is that Amazon is making a conscious decision to constantly reinvest the money that would be profit into new business ventures--effectively running its own venture capital operation within the company. They could cut that investment at any time they want to show a profit instead (excepting anomalies like the supermassive FAIL! of the FirePhone).