The Google Publisher Program allowed independent authors and small presses to sell ebooks in the Google Play bookstore. When the program was active it become a cesspool of piracy. Fake authors would sell ebooks they never wrote and publishing companies would rename all of the main characters in Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey and would peddle them off as their own original works. In 2015 Google closed their publisher program and for the next four years the only way authors and publishers could get their digital content on the platform is through aggregators. Today, Google has just reopened their Play Books publisher program with a few new caveats.
Google has just revised their publisher program and have included AI into the ebook submission process. Whenever a title is submitted it will compare the body of text to other books in the Play Bookstore and if it is similar it will be automatically denied. Digital books also have the option to enter an ISBN number and it will fetch some ebook metadata and sales could be tracked from Nielson. If you do not have an ISBN Google will automatically assign you a GGKEY, which you can use on Google Books and Google Play.
The publisher program is not fully public yet, but you have to fill out an online interest form. It asks basic questions about your publishing entity, but takes only a minute or two to fill out. You can submit books from a ton of countries. I heard Google will respond normally within 48 hours of a submission.
I think it’s great that Google has opened their publisher program again, although it is a bit limited in who gets approved. To be honest, I am happy Google is manually approving authors and hopefully there will be some semblance of quality and control in their bookstore. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Streetlib and hundreds of other companies will publish anything that the author uploads and clicks submit. That is why there are dozens of scams that authors employ to game the system and so many crappy books it is hard to find good ones. Google has created a very nice walled garden, that keeps all of the bad authors at bay.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.