With all the deals flying around lately, we know many of you have recently wrapped your fingers around a brand spanking new phone or tablet. Now comes the time to fill it with content. Just because the device likely came with Play Books pre-installed, that doesn't mean it's your only option for skimming through books. Amazon's massive collection of ebooks are only a click away, and now the company has announced its second annual 12 Days of Deals promotion.
Yes, yes, we know: Google takes its sweet time in getting all the various parts of the Play Store rolled out to all corners of the globe. This evening (or morning, I suppose) they've expanded the Google Play Books service to South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. Android and Chrome users in these countries should be able to buy and read books right now.
Pics or it didn't happen: South Africa
Today's update brings Google Play Books to 39 countries, mostly in North America, Europe, and Asia - in fact, South Africa is the first country on the continent to get access to the service.
Last month Amazon announced MatchBook, a new service that gives customers the option to get discounted Kindle versions of physical books they've already bought. It launched today with support for over 70,000 titles, seven times what the company promised would be available from the get go. Discounted books range from free to $2.99.
Eligible books date back to 1995, the year when Amazon first launched its online bookstore. Just remember that only purchases tied to your current account will apply, so while many of us didn't have email address way back when, those that did probably haven't held on to them.
On Tuesday night, surprisingly ahead of the usual update-all-the-things-Wednesday, Google released a major revision of the Play Books app for Android, updating it from v2 (2.9.21) to v3 (3.0.15). The changelog, which was shockingly present from the get-go (thank you!), confused me a bit but after digging around, I finally figured out what it means. Oh, and I found another fix that wasn't mentioned.
The official changelog is as follows:
- Added the ability to search the text of original-pages books.
There are a number of ebook readers available for Android, but if you want a Holo-friendly option, your best bet is to rely on Google Books or the latest version of Aldiko. Now there's another competitor making its way over from iOS that seems to blend in just as well, if not more so. Readmill for Android offers a reading experience that's easy on the eyes and - since it's not tied to a bookstore of its own - your wallet.
Google's got a surprise for users across Asia and New Zealand today, bringing Play Books availability to nine new places: Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and New Zealand.
The company that claims the world's largest selection of online books has been slowly but surely making headway in spreading its Play products across the planet. Of course, it would be great if Google could simply flip a switch to bring Play to all Android users everywhere, but legal issues and other roadblocks mean it still takes some time to expand.
Anyone that reads on a mobile device, but doesn't dig Amazon's Kindle thing is probably using Aldiko. This is a super-popular ebook reader that supports EPUB, PDF, and Adobe DRM ebooks. It also works with titles rented through public libraries. You're probably going to wish it worked with more services because the new update looks excellent.
There are some companies that seem to really love puns. Google certainly does, but so does Amazon. Amazon's new service is called Kindle MatchBook, and it lets you buy the Kindle edition of books at a steep discount if you've bought them in physical form from Amazon at some point in the past. It doesn't even matter if you still have the book, or if you lost it a decade ago.
You like to learn stuff? That fancy book learnin' don't come cheap though, right? Well, the new Chegg app on Android could make it a little more affordable and simple. Chegg is an established web service that offers tons of real and electronic textbooks, as well as guided solutions. But now it's on your phone.
You can search for any book by subject, title, author, or ISBN. The app is mainly aimed at giving you access to eTextbooks on your mobile device, but some more features for physical books are coming soon.
If you want to listen to an audiobook, Audible is the number one source. Though, the app was never great on Android. It wasn't terrible, but it didn't have a strong Android aesthetic and the layout was strange. With the version 1.5 update, that's a thing of the past. The app looks excellent now, and there are other improvements too.