Many authors distribute their books through aggregators/distributor (3rd parties) instead of creating their own independent accounts with retailers. Retailers prefer authors and publishers creating their own accounts instead of going through a distributor.
The first retailer implementing this new policy is Google – they now require each author/publisher to have their own Google Play account. You can still go through a distributor but this distributor will have to maintain your Google Play account (which Draft2Digital cannot do with thousands of accounts and automated distribution – D2D therefore cancelled distribution to Google).
Why did this happen and will this affect more retailers in the future?
I’m confident that the issue is due to piracy. Google has/had a huge problem with pirated and copied books made available through distributors, and they want to clamp down on that. With the requirement for authors to have their own account, it will make it much easier for Google to weed out piracy. Many dishonest ‘authors’ who had their ‘pirated’ books removed from various retailers went straight to distributors to re-upload ‘their’ books again and many succeeded (all they did was make a few minor changes to the title and had the distributor assign a new ISBN and all was good). Finally, Google put a stop to that.
This is actually a very positive development in the publishing industry. It’s a reminder that authors like you will have to create your OWN DIRECT account with all major retailers (Amazon / Apple / Google / kobo / Barnes & Noble) and not go through a middleman.
Surely, more retailers will implement the same or similar restrictions and what will you do when your book is suddenly no longer available anywhere, solely because your distributor has been cut off?
If you haven’t already, it’s about time that you take control of your book.