Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Where do you buy your books? And where I won't list my books ever again

 Permit me a rant today.

My books are available widely, on many and varied platforms to varying degrees of success. Different people buy their books different places. One place I haven't had much traffic was GooglePlay books. In fact, when I first was listed there years ago, I saw a lot of pirating, and they even made my first book available without anyone having to pay for it. I scrambled to have the books taken down. Recently, I saw authors in one of my groups talking it up, how they'd made some improvements, etc., so I figured I'd give it another shot. Lots of traffic, they said, lots of exposure. And again, there's the YMMV (your mileage may vary) disclaimer. So let me tell you about my recent experience with GooglePlay books, where you will NOT find me listed.

Last year I listed my books with them once more, figuring, okay, they've changed their model, they've upgraded their exposures, etc. etc. etc. In fact, they started offering discount coupons for promotions. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you may have seen me offer such a coupon when COYOTE LEGACY was released for subscribers. As a lead up to this, let me say I've had minimal traffic at GooglePlay, despite their "improved" metrics. I figured the promo code would be a good way to drive traffic, or give up on them one more time. This is what happened.

Apparently, instead of 300 codes, the system only recognized 3. Problem, but okay. I wasn't able to edit the mistake to correct it. That's on me. Those three codes were redeemed promptly. Problem #2. The redeemed codes were not recognized as sales. So I asked their customer service department what was up. In practicing how to set up the codes, I'd also made a code for "free" for myself to see how it worked. They originally told me since I had a free code, they'd applied my redemptions to the SEPARATE AND DIFFERENT PROMO CODE I'd created for the free books. WHAT? So I pointed out these were separate and different promo codes and how does that happen? Not to mention the transaction report only reflected the one free book redeemed (by me) and not the others. After much back and forth, they said they had to refer my case to the "broader team" to identify what happened. It took that team SIX WEEKS to figure out that the redemption process wasn't completed, that people redeemed the codes but didn't buy the books. WHAT? How does the code get redeemed, then? Isn't that part of completing the transaction?

Where does this leave me? Welp, they're GooglePlay, after all, and if they want to cheat me out of $1.50, I suppose there isn't much recourse. It isn't worth suing them, and yet it makes me wonder how many other books I can't document that I sold that they lost in the system. I've delisted from them once again, and will NEVER sell my books on that platform again.

So to my newsletter subscribers who tried to redeem those codes, my apologies. I will stick with more reliable booksellers in the future. Coyote Legacy is currently featured at Smashwords for “read an ebook week.” Hop over there to pick up your copy.

Where do you buy your books?


  1. As an author, I also heard the issues with Google Play. Plus, they were discounting books, which led to chaos with other channels price matching. I do like my books available everywhere, but not when chaos might ensue. Draft2Digital does not offer Google Play as a distribution option, which is enough of a red flag for me.
    As a reader, I've been with Nook since they came out with a backlit e-reader, something I'd become accustomed to with my first e-reader (an eBookWise, if anyone remembers). So 95% of the time, that's where I buy books.

    1. I’d read the issues at Google Play had been resolved, which is why I gave them another shot, but never again. Thanks for sharing!