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Will Google ever reopen signups for its Google Play Books self-publishing platform?


Google “temporarily” stopped allowing new publishers to sign up for its Google Play Books Partner Center more than a year ago, largely due to rampant piracy on the service. Now, a year and a half later (it was originally shuttered in May of 2015), the Partner Center still hasn’t opened back up…

The Partner Center allowed indie publishers to sell their books on Google Play, and provided an avenue for books to be “discovered and previewed on the world’s most popular search engine through Google Books,” according to the Books Partner Center website. “The Play Books Partner Center makes it easy to upload content, set prices, and choose the countries where you want to sell your books. Sign up now and have your first book live in minutes.”

Clearly, the site is very outdated.

This was the initial statement that Google provided when Google stopped offering new signups, all the way back in May 2015:

We’ve temporarily closed new publisher sign ups in the Play Books Partner Center, so we can improve our content management capabilities and our user experience. We’re working to reopen this to new publishers soon. Thanks for your patience.

A support article entitled “How to sell a book on Google Play: a checklist” lists the following notice:

New publisher sign-ups in the Google Play Books Partner Center are temporarily closed.

Now, over at the Google Product Forums, there are still people posting about this asking if it will ever open back up. Even as recently as earlier this month, people interested in selling their books on Google Play Books have shared their conversations with support reps, revealing that exactly zero progress has been made.

One answer from a support rep in early November 2016 echoed the initial statement, and provided a little bit more non-information:

Please know that we’ve closed new publisher sign-ups in the Google Play Books Partner Center so we can improve our content management capabilities and our user experience.

I’m sorry, as I’m unable to share any firm details as to when they will reopen. We would love to have your books on Google Books. However, we’re making some behind the seen changes to the interface and process due to which we’ve not be able to reopen the publisher program.

Clearly Google is working with large publishers to make sure their books are available on the platform — plenty of books released in the last few months are in the top charts of Play Books right now — but this lingering problem has prevented lots of self-publishers from selling their books to Android users.

We’ve reached out to Google to see if they can shed any light on the matter.

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Avatar for Stephen Hall Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.