Google Play Books update 3.1.17 is slowly rolling out, and I'm glad to report that it finally brings a feature a lot of you have been dying to see - book uploading directly from your devices. As always, we have the APK which you can install if you don't see the update just yet right below.

What's New

As I already mentioned, you no longer need to go to Google's website to upload your own books - 3.1.17 allows you to upload PDFs and EPUBs directly. Just open a book in any file manager or from an email, and you'll see a new option to "Upload to Play Books." From there, it's all smooth sailing.

The update also promises quicker and smoother opening of books, which may or may not be a tangible improvement. One of my books opened pretty fast, but another I tried was taking a while, spinning and spinning just like it used to. Play Books now also shows you the relevant cover while you wait for the book to open, which may trick you into thinking it's actually loading faster. Placebo or not? You be the judge.

The Notes UI has gotten some much-needed attention - you can now set note colors and delete them more conveniently.

Further improvements, which aren't as discussion-worthy, are listed below.

What's New

  • Books open more quickly and smoothly.
  • Upload EPUB or PDF files to your library from your phone or tablet. From email or Downloads, touch the file to open it and choose Upload to Play Books.
  • Improved look and feel of highlights and notes.
  • Lower brightness settings, for better reading in low light.
  • Read any book in landscape view.
  • Dismiss recommended books in Read Now.
  • Additional improvements in performance, stability and accessibility.

Screenshot_2013-12-10-17-20-19 Screenshot_2013-12-10-17-20-28 Screenshot_2013-12-10-17-20-53

Screenshot_2013-12-10-17-36-34 Screenshot_2013-12-10-17-36-13

Left: old simple Note UI; right: new, much better Note UI


The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File name: com.google.android.apps.books-3.1.17.apk.

Version: 3.1.17 (Android 3.0+).

MD5: b7b9d843d5e339a6da4bf8299685a1cd.

Thanks, +Tj Hafer!

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Wazzifer

    Kind of a big deal.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think so.

      • Wazzifer


      • Megan shemale

        Have sex with me artem.plz

      • Josh Crumley

        I'm here to steal thunder. Hi!

    • mustbepbs

      Seriously, it took them long enough. I've been wanting to use Books for over a year.

  • Francisco Frazão

    Lower brightness setting is also very welcome, that was one of the things Readmill did better.

  • Mick Collingwood

    Nice upgrade, shame they don't support the .mobi format. I'm a big fan of fan fiction for various books/tv series etc. I have 100s of books/stories in the .mobi format and my kindle is on its last legs. Would of been nice if I could of just transferred everything to play books.

    • Paul Darr

      You can run books through Calibre first and then upload it to Google books. Sure you have to place them on your computer first but it can still be done.

      • Mick Collingwood

        Thanks, I forgot about Calibre.

    • NF

      Can they support .mobi? Isn't that Amazon's proprietary format?

      • Mick Collingwood

        .mobi is a format based on the open eBook distribution format. Amazon use .prc & .azw which is a modified version of the .mobi format

  • Lawats Lord

    So much Google app update and Google related news today is it Christmas already? :D

    One thing i'll like Play Book and Newstand to implement is notes/highlights to be stored in a different tab (bookmark?) so i don't have to open each book/magazine/newspaper to access it

  • Tj Hafer

    I just uploaded all my CompTIA books. :D

  • xTomyLEE

    Still waiting :(

  • Kussie

    Another step in the right direction. All that is stopping me from switching to Google Books now is the ability to sort and organise my book collection.

    • Sadsause McReads-a-lot

      Exactly the problem I have with this app. If Google wants me invested in their cloud solutions for things, great, but give me better tools to sort the data I have. I have hundreds of ebooks and without categories, Google Books is an absolute nightmare to use. Heavy readers need not install, I suppose.

  • bunnybash

    Not sure why - but now Google books app seems to have some kind of crazy overlay on the screen when books are open - almost makes it impossible to read. Which is strange cause the menus etc show up fine, but the book pages themselves are weird.

    huh... it turns out that the brightness was turned down in app to the lowest possible setting which was causing the issue. All fixed now!

  • Josh Phillips

    Changing the theme from day to night (or the other way) is now super annoying. Kicks you back to the book selection screen. I wonder why they would change that??

    • Kees

      Keeps me in the book I'm reading. Not sure what you're doing.

  • Matt

    Still can't highlight text or make notes in uploaded pdf's, even if they've been OCR'd. Damn.

  • lbrfabio

    I'm not 100% sure but the immersive mode doesn't work like it's supposed to. Whenever I swipe down/up to it break the immersive mode. I vaguely remember the status bar was trasparent while on immersive mode. Can someone confirm this?

  • smeddy

    I'd use it... but I still always feel like I'm downloading my book, whatever tweaks I do.

    • Alex

      lmaoo exactly. It doesn't load the pdf's normally

  • Jiggy

    Offline dictionary? Like, hello?

    • Dani

      Ding, ding ding!
      Amazon Kindle is the solution for that problem

  • And the guest is history

    "OK Google", please increase the 50Mo limit

  • Orbit

    "Upload EPUB or PDF files to your library from your phone or
    tablet. From email or Downloads, touch the file to open it and choose
    Upload to Play Books."
    To prevent piracy, any book uploads to users SHOULD NOT BE SHARED TO THE PUBLIC (in other words, releasing on the Google Play Books Store).

  • Adrian

    I like this update :)

  • fl1nty

    Not seeing the upload to play books option on the open for menu or in the share menu.

    • andfreud

      Did you hear back on this one? I do not see the upload option there too.

      • fl1nty

        Yeah there is no upload button. If you have an epub on your device somewhere then when you try to open it one of the options would be to "upload to play books". Tap that and the book gets uploaded and processed on your play books account in a few minutes

        Sadly this doesn't work with PDFs yet

  • Ben Leonard

    now all i need is categorizing folders and epub link windows and ill be so so so happy

  • Mert ÇELEN

    Wow,it would be destroy google sells for sure :D

  • Skyw3rd

    Now if they can just improve the way highlighting works, I might use this instead of iBooks for my studying.

  • Robert

    Google is introducing new technology so that its customer stick to it.http://bit.ly/GoogleFame

  • Arnol

    Something is off with the download? Getting a remote desktop invite error when installing...the kind you get when malware is spoofing a file.

    • Arnol

      Never mind, somebody fixed it. Thanks.

  • http://www.littlereview.com/ Michelle Erica Green

    I've been able to sideload and run Google Books on my Kindle Fire before, but with this update I keep getting the message that the file can't be parsed, even after trying all three downloads. Anyone have any idea what I need to do to make it run? Thanks!

  • Nathan D’Alessandri

    the upload facility is good, but i am unable to highlight or notate any pdf's that i upload. anyone have any solutions for this please?

  • Debbie Kalina

    Any suggestions for copying illustrations from Google Play books? Found an 1890 publication that includes the biography of an ancestor, and would like to be able to copy the picture of him that's included. Was able to copy the text, but it's the picture I really want.