It was recently announced that the Harry Potter books will finally be made available in e-book versions, and offered in an arrangement with Google Books.
While this option will provide e-book formats for virtually every e-reader out there, I find this choice for the e-book platform incredibly disappointing due to Google’s unfavorable treatment of all other, independent e-book publishers. Google Books has, by far, the worse royalty rates of any major site. They assure you the author receives the majority of revenues. Yes: 52% and a whopping $100 minimum payout. Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer 70% and 65% royalties respectively, and a small minimum payout amount, if any.
Google also gives authors no control over previews and by default display an excessive 20% of your content. The 20% will be the first 20% (plus front and back covers). For some e-books, it may serve to get the reader interested and they will be compelled to purchase the entire book. But for other types, this may show too much important content that you don’t wish to share for free.
And the real kicker: although Google Previews provides purchasing links to your e-book listing on your website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others, you have no control over these links other than your own, and unfortunately they probably won’t work. As Google explains, they convert your 13 digit ISBN to a 10 digit ISBN, and then use that to locate your book on the retail sites. But Amazon and Barnes and Noble use unique identifiers anyway and not either ISBN, so your book is not correctly linked to. Although the issue is known by Google, they choose to not fix it nor manually correct the links.
With other cooperative and responsive major retailers available, this is one more reason that I choose not to use Google Previews and Google eBooks (beyond research purposes for writing my latest e-book).
Learn more about how to create, publish, market and sell an e-book with my e-book about e-books, called The E-Book Handbook.