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Summary:

A year after it was launched as the new version of Android Market, Google Play contains over 5 million ebooks, 18 million songs and 700,000 apps, the company announced Thursday. But it’s still struggling to compete against Amazon and iTunes.

Google Play Books
photo: Google Play

A year after its launch-slash-rebrand, Google Play contains over 5 million ebooks, 18 million songs and 700,000 apps, Google announced in a blog post Wednesday.

Google Play is a rebrand of the Android Market, intended to remind users that Google sells content besides apps. So far, success has been mixed. When it comes to ebooks, for example, Google hasn’t been able to compete with Amazon or even Apple; its share of the ebook market is likely in the single digits, and while 5 million ebooks sounds high, a lot of those are free public domain titles. And as our Erica Ogg wrote recently, while the number of Android apps has grown quickly, developers almost never choose to develop for Android before or instead of iOS.

Google is taking some steps to bring more users to the store. It started offering gift cards and a wishlist feature last year. Today it’s running sales on a bunch of content — $5 ebooks, some 99-cent movie rentals and other promotions.

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  1. Paolo Amoroso Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    My experience confirms that the selection of books at Google Play Books is pretty limited. Only 8 out of the 53 ebooks I bought at Amazon over the past three years are also available at Play Books. I wrote a little more about this here:

    Google Play Books: the world largest selection of ebooks?
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/115447412616529141867/posts/EE87Gd2nXu5

  2. Numbers don’t tell the whole story. Google has offended the working artist by steamrolling over the writers with their Book project. They could have asked permission but they chose to digitize everything. Now they can’t even settle the law suit with all of their billions.

    Until they fix their anti-artist ways, they’ll always have a second tier store filled with cast offs.

  3. The process for an author to add books to Google Play, which goes through the Google Books program, is unbelievably difficult, to the point where I would describe it as publisher-hostile, esp. for indies.

    Aside from one’s philosophical issues with Google Books and copyright, the fact that customer service is unresponsive, that there is no place to enter book descriptions or metadata (or ability to fix what they screen scrape from other sources), and that they discount without permission, has finally made me pull the plug on the whole channel, the only channel I’ve every had to do that with.

    Google Play — NOT recommended for indie authors.

  4. g2-2551367392025d285ab2f59c9e7753fd Thursday, March 7, 2013

    Play Books is undoubtedly hurt by the limitations of the Books app. I for one do not use it at all, because it has no ability to import/sideload my existing (DRM-free) books (!). Useless.

    Since I’m not using their app, their store is not the one that springs to mind when I’m looking to purchase a new book. Fail. Why are they treating books so differently than music?

  5. Their site has to be one of the worst designs in the history of the internet.

    They are the last place I would look for an ebook and will never publish there.

    _______________

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