Google Play Books

Rating Google Play Books - 5 out of 5 - Best Rating 5.0

  • Android, iPad, iPhone
  • Free
  • age 18+
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About Google Play Books

Google Play Books app is an excellent app that can be accessed on Android as well as on iOS devices. This audiobook app allows users to digest content through ebooks, textbooks, audiobooks, and comic books. Google Play Books is available for free to download for iOS and Android devices.

Google Play Books Review

Google Play Books is an app to read our favourite books anytime and anywhere, directly from your Android device. Google Play Books has a selection of millions of books available, amongst which we can find some of the last releases, the present time best-sellers, works of new authors, less known books, and even all the free ones.

What is Google Play Books

Google Play Books is full of thousands of unique and interesting titles and that’s why it stands above the standard Google Play site as a source for viewing and reading your digital library. The free audiobook app is great for those who wish to test the waters and find out if audiobooks are something you would enjoy.

Google Play books is well-known; however, its positives and negatives both should be discussed before making a decision.

Pros:

  • Uploading: One great thing about this app is that you can upload your own documents and books to read online or offline, all in one convenient place.
  • Dictionary app included: Just click a word and you’ll find that the definition appears! No more wondering what a word means but forgetting to look it up.
  • Text to speech when publisher allows: If there’s an allowed option by the publisher, you can enable text to speech and listen to the audio on your device.

Cons:

  • Android only: Obviously, this is an Android-specific app. iOS users will have to rely on native apps instead.
  • No library organization: You can’t organize your books by tags or folders, so if you end up with a lot of books, it’s very inconvenient to sift through them all.

What's it about?

On the iPad, opening Play Books takes you first to your library, which displays any titles you've previously bought or sampled on a simple grey tray – there's no attempt to emulate the slick bookshelf look of iBooks. Titles can be sorted by date, title and author, sliding around obligingly when shifting between each. Once you've finished reading a publication or you've lost the will to go further, you can tidy it into an archive, leaving the main view for the most relevant titles. Book graphics are displayed above written titles.

Those using Play Books across more than one device will find that their reading progress is automatically saved and synchronised, along with any notes or bookmarks they make. The default reading view is a fullscreen white-on-black with a progress slider and page count at the foot of the display. Tapping the document body brings up a range of options that includes navigation by chapter, bookmarks or notes, a text search feature and book information.

The display options include day and night themes, a choice of several fonts, line spacing and text sizes, but it's possible to abandon flowable text and view a book's original page layout – the iPad's large screen makes this viable, but it's less practical on a smartphone. Long-pressing the document brings up a text selection tool that offers four colours of highlighting and the ability to enter notes, perform translations or a dictionary lookup, or search online or within the document text.

While the Android app's functionality is similar, its presentation and operation is a little different. The default carousel view displays books with their title and author, and on our Galaxy S’s screen there was room only for two titles, or four when viewing in landscape orientation. There's also a list view, but, with no sorting options, this isn’t ideal either. We found night mode most restful on the eyes and, on phones with an OLED screen, it ought to prolong battery life too.

The Android app supports bookmarks, but it doesn't allow you to add notes, and it also doesn't support the quick bookmark, note and chapter navigation found on the iPad. Fortunately the page slider displays page and chapter information as it moves, so you can navigate by chapter after a fashion. We weren't impressed with the Read aloud option, which occasionally spelled out common words – we couldn't fathom why.

The Play Books store sells protected, ePub-formatted books, so you can transfer the titles you purchase to a compatible eReader if you have one. The reader app doesn't support other file formats, however, so it can't be used to read PDF files on a smartphone or tablet – a bit of an oversight compared to Apple iBooks and the Kobo eReading App.

This isn't a bad reading app, but it's not as slick or fully-featured as some of the competition and so it's only any use if you plan to buy or download free books from Google. We'd recommend the Kobo eReading App, which can handle content bought from stores other than Kobo's own.

The free Play Books reader lets you read content bought or sourced from the store. It's a free download for Android phones and iOS devices including the iPhone and iPad, while a browser-based version should work with almost any browser and operating system. You'll need a Google account to use it.

Is Google Play Books suitable for kids?

Google Play Books can now read stories to kids. The app is also getting a kid-friendly dictionary to help make reading more fun for young readers.

Google Play Books is getting additional kid-friendly tools for beginner readers. Google says the vast majority of kids' titles, which are books designated for ages 0-8, have reading tools enabled. You can download a free sample of any book to confirm if it supports reading tools before purchasing the book. Google promises to continue adding new tools to Play Books to make reading more accessible and fun for everyone.

How to use Google Play Books for kids

When you open a kids title in Google Play Books, you will notice four large navigation touch buttons on the screen. There's a "back" button at the top left corner and three more buttons within a tray at the bottom-center. The first one is to for the "read & listen" feature. If you hit play, the app will read out the book aloud, highlighting each word as it is read. You can also set the app to turn the pages automatically.

The second button lets you zoom out and scroll through all the pages in an ebook. The scroll bar at the bottom will show the total number of pages as well as the page you are currently seeing. The bar will also highlight the page you last read. The last button is for bookmarking a page so you can return to it whenever you wish.

App Details

Ratings

Devices

Android, iPad, iPhone

Price

Free

Category

Skills

Organisational and Productivity Skills

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - Yes

In-App Advertising - No

Publisher

Google LLC

Download Google Play Books

You can download Google Play Books on your iOS or Android devices from the app stores. Download the Google Play Books app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Download Google Play Booksfor Android Download Google Play Booksfor iOS

Screenshots of Google Play Books

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