Google Play Books App Overview

Google Play Books App Overview

Google Play Books iconThe Google Play Books store offers one of the largest collections of new releases, bestsellers, textbooks and classics. The Google Play Books app is available for Android and iOS devices. You can also use Google Play Books web reader app for Chrome on your computer.

Notable Google Play Books app features:

  • Read online or offline.
  • PDF or unprotected EPUB files can be uploaded for reading with the Google Play Books app.
  • Bookmarks, notes, and reading positions are synced across all devices (phones, tablets and computers) when logged in with the same Google account.
  • Search within book text, look up words in the dictionary, Wikipedia or the web.
  • Customize your display by changing fonts, font size and display themes.
  • Listen to books read aloud with text-to-speech (TTS). This feature may be blocked in some books by the publisher.

The process of purchasing books and reading in the Android app is described below. The process of purchasing and reading books on iOS devices is similar. You can also check out the Google Play Books Help page which has details on using this app on all platforms.

Getting the App

On Android devices, Google Play Books is likely to be preinstalled. If it is not on the device, you can search for “Play Books” in the Google Play Store and install this free app. On iOS devices you will need to search for “Play Books” in the Apple App Store and install it. On the computer, in the Chrome browser search for “Play Books” and select the link leading to Chrome Web Store. Click the “Add to Chrome” button to download and install this free add-in. Here are the direct links to the app on Android, iOS and Chrome store: Android | iOS | Add-in for Chrome browser

Purchase books

In the Google Play Books app, tap on the Shop tab in the bottom of screen. You can now browse the collection divided into “eBooks” and “Audiobooks” categories. Use the Search option to find the titles you want to read.

Each book is listed with the cover page and price. Tap on any book title to check its synopsis, ratings and reviews from other readers. Tap on the Free Sample button to preview the book or tap on the Buy button to purchase. The price of the book is mentioned on the buy button. In case of free books, you will find the Add to Library button in place of the buy button.

The first time you try to download a book, you will be prompted to choose the payment method and provide credit card details. Note that paying for a book is similar to purchasing an app from the Play Store.

Follow on-screen instructions to complete the payment process. Your selected book will now be downloaded to your device and will be available in the “Library” screen for reading.

You can add your own books to Play Books app Library for reading. While opening the EPUB file in your device, choose “open with Play Books”.

Read books

In the Google Play Books app, tap on the Library tab seen in the bottom of the screen. You will now see a list of the books available for reading. You can sort and filter the list using the options available near top of screen.

Tap on the book you want to read. You may be prompted to download the book. After the book downloads it will open for reading in full screen mode.

Navigation within the book

  • To go to next page swipe from the left to right. To go to previous page swipe from right to left. You can also tap on a page to bring up the slider at the bottom of screen which can be used to quickly move forward or backwards in the book.
  • In the full screen reading mode, tap on the right corner of a page to set a bookmark.
  • Tap and hold on any word to bring up options for highlighting, adding a note and searching the word on web. The definition of the word is displayed in a box at the bottom of the screen. Drag this box upwards to see more definitions.
  • To increase font size, place two fingers on the screen and drag them away from each other. To decrease font size, do the opposite that is perform a pinch in gesture with two fingers.
  • The Skim mode which can be activated by tapping anywhere on the page, contains the Search, Contents (TOC) and the Display options buttons. The Contents button provides access to the Chapters in the book and the Bookmarks and Notes created by you.

Accessibility with Talkback Screen Reader

The app controls are accessible with Talkback. Book search, purchase, opening, page navigation, text and visual settings can be easily performed with Talkback. Precise text highlighting/selection is not possible with Talkback.

With Talkback continuous book reading is not possible, the reading stops at the end of currently visible page. You will have to manually move to next page and then start reading with Talkback. Therefore, it is advisable to use the built-in Read Aloud feature for reading book text instead of Talkback.

Tags: EPUB