Pub Rants

Tagged Google Partners Program

A Little Tutorial On The Google Partners Program

STATUS: Time for sleep.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SELF-ESTEEM by The Offspring

I want to talk about the Google Partners Program as this is not even remotely related to the Google Settlement issue but a lot of people are just plain clueless about it.

So let’s start with defining it. The Google Partners Program is an agreement that Google makes with Publishers to allow book content to be available, previewed, and searched on Google Books.

Since I’m assuming you know nothing, here’s the link to the Google Books Site.

Everyone following along? Great. Then let’s move on. Not every publisher has decided to participate in the Partners program. If a publisher is not participating, then Google Books will only show the cover, give a brief overview, and maybe the inclusion of reviews that can be found freely on the web.

In fact, under the overview, you’ll see the words “no preview available.”

Disney-Hyperion does not currently participate so for an example of the above, if you plug in I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU into the Google Books search field, then this page is what you’ll see.

Easy peasy.

Okay, now some publishers are participating in the Partners Program. If that is the case, then under the title overview you’ll see the words “limited preview.” Click on Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET as an example.

Still with me?

Okay, and here’s why I’m doing a tutorial on this subject, some publishers are participating in the Partners program but they are doing so with the ad links turned on.

Simon & Schuster currently participates in the program with the ad links. Click on Kelly Parra’s GRAFFITI GIRL. Look on the left side bar. Do you see the little section that is titled Sponsored Links? See the click through link right below that? That’s an ad link.

If you were to click on that, your click would generate income that Google would have to pay to S&S and S&S would then have to split with Kelly Parra. On the S&S statements, there is a separate line that clearly details the monies generated from these click-thru ads.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

S&S is participating and reporting. Some publishers, however, are doing the Partners Program with Google, with the ad links turned on, and are receiving income from Google but none of this income is reported on statements and therefore not being shared with the authors.

Ah, there’s the kicker.

In fact, just two weeks ago, I called a publisher because I could clearly see on Google Books that my author’s title was included in the program with the ads turned on. Did I see that income on the statement? Nope. I called.

What did the publisher say in return? “Oh. We did it is a short experiment for 3 months to see how it worked and that should have been taking down by now. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.”


I’m now forcing them to remove the ad links if they aren’t going to report and to track down the monies and pay the author—even though in general, the amounts are currently negligible. I’m talking around a dollar.

Let’s just call it the principle of the thing. What is negligible today might be real money tomorrow.

I could call because I know how the program works and knew to ask. But if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t even know to ask. Well, now you know. The Google Settlement and the Google Partners Program are two wholly different and separate things.

So have you looked up your titles on Google Books yet? Are the sponsored links turned on? Are you seeing those monies on your royalty statements?

You know what to do.