Regretfully, Thea will be pulling her self-published books off Google Play in the next few days. While traditional publishers set prices for ebooks that online retailers honor, Google Play is not allowing self-published authors the same courtesy. Instead, Google Play likes to run ‘promotions’ and slash prices without notifying the author and without an author’s permission.
While everyone loves a sale – especially book lovers – the problem is that Amazon, who owns the majority of the ebook market share, works their computer magic and adjusts their prices to match the lowest price they can find. And because authors have no control over Google Play’s pricing, the results can be catastrophic. If you are an established author with a new book on pre-order, the first royalty check after release can often be the bulk of your sales. Since there are no advances in self-publishing and books take several months to produce, that royalty check has to stretch and cover both living expenses as well as production costs for the next book. Editors, cover artists, formatters – they all need to be paid before a book ever hits the virtual store shelves. If Google Play slashes the book price by 50%, Amazon slashes their price by 50%. Since an author’s royalty rate is a percentage of the book price, suddenly their royalty paycheck – money that they need to live on – takes a huge unexpected hit.
Promotions are great, but authors need to be in control of when and how those promotions occur. While Thea tries to make her books as widely available as possible, she has to protect her livelihood, especially since Google Play has made it clear they will not stop this practice. You can still find her self-published work on multiple other distribution channels. Thank you for your understanding.