Why we’re dropping Google Play books, for now

I am always keen to make sure my readers have the best possible experience. From pricing to flexibility in ereaders, I have always been keen to try new things that traditional publishers won’t do.

Take for example, DRM. That’s digital rights management. It is a process that encodes your book, just like a DVD, so that you can’t take it and read it on another company’s ereader device or app.

I don’t do DRM. I don’t like the fact that a company can tell you that you don’t “own” the book you bought. Like a regular paperback book, I believe you should be able to take your book wherever you go. Major publishers, like record companies and movie distributors will tell you these technologies fight piracy. The data suggests they do close to nothing against piracy but make it harder on consumers – trying playing your US DVD on a British friend’s DVD player. Tragic.

So in the spirit of pushing the boundaries, we decided early on to go with Google Books, or as it is called now, Google Play. (There is now a Google Play Books and a Google Books. Yeah, that’s reader friendly). We thought that those innovators at Google would shake up the ebook world – deep pockets, big brains, all that.

In short, they haven’t. I don’t know if it is lack of focus or lack of interest, but the ebook store on Google has lumbered from one horrible iteration to the next. We waited for the interface to get better. It didn’t. We waited for them to stop randomly changing prices on books, often resulting in higher prices for Google readers. They didn’t.

Google themselves recently stopped allowing new publishers to join their program, perhaps in tacit admission that the system just didn’t work. We waited for things to happen. So far they haven’t.

As a result the latest Jacaranda Drive book, Deep Rough, will not be offered for sale on Google Play.

You will still be able to use Android version of Kindle or Kobo to read on Google and Android devices.

Our current library of books will stay on the store, unless something gets worse, which we don’t expect. So those readers will still have access to their books.

Hopefully Google recommits to the ebook world and develops a system that works for readers, publishers and authors. If and when they do, we’ll be ready and waiting to provide readers with the best experience possible.



3 Responses to “Why we’re dropping Google Play books, for now”

  1. Peter Divergilio says:

    I like your attitude about DRM – I agree! Google, however, jumped into all kinds of things at the start, trying to corner as much Market Share as possible. Once they got there, they found out there was much more to the world than a scattershot philosophy of selling – you also have to support things, refine them, make sure they are relevant, etc. It’s a lot of hard work, and not sometimes easy.
    There is hope that Google will get it right eventually, but I believe it will take quite a while. Of course, if I were that bright, I’d offer them a solution and make some money myself – not much chance of that, either.
    Take care!!

  2. Diana Nelson/ Moroz says:

    Though I totally agree with your rationale & disappointment w/ Google Books, etc., I do want you to understand that you have left us avid AJ Stewart fans out to dry in the wind w/ no where to go to get your books w/o Android devices. We are stuck in our Google world for now! Highly disappointed in your decision as well!😔. Hopefully, you have a thought & suggestion on how to resolve our dilemma too? I stand as one of your devoted fans!!🌹

    • AJ Stewart says:

      Hi Diane, I know its a bummer, but pretty much every ereader except ibooks has an android app – Kindle, Nook, Kobo all do. Hopefully Google gets its act together.