Voracious readers and Word-A-Day calendar fans, this one is for you. While the latest update to Google Play Books isn't anywhere near as dramatic as the Material Design refresh six weeks ago, it nonetheless adds a couple of features that regular readers will find useful. First of all, version 3.3 adds a downloadable dictionary option to augment Play Books' instant lookup feature. To apply it, just highlight a word in any book and then tap the contextual "download" button.
The debate between physical and digital books is a heated one. Some people prefer the look of a tome on their bookshelf and enjoy the smell of each page as they hold their nose to an old favorite. Others like the convenience that comes with having access to an entire personal library of books whenever and wherever they have their phone. One clear disadvantage of digital books, though, is the ability for a single company to determine when and where you can buy them.
If you're impatiently waiting for a new Nexus device to be shipped to you and/or for Google or another manufacturer to send an Android 5.0 update your way, then you've probably read every word that Android Police has published on Lollipop. On the off-chance that you want to read even more, Google has just published an official Quick Start Guide for Android 5.0 on the Play Store. You can download it for free right now.
Last week, Google rolled out a huge update to Google Play Books that included support for uploading PDF and EPUB files. When the latest update, version 3.1.23, began rolling out, we tested it and noticed that PDF uploading was removed. A quick look at the Play Store's description also shows clearly that it was taken out.
Additionally, a comparison of the 3.1.17 and 3.1.23 APKs revealed that the following line of code was removed:
<data android:host="*" android:mimeType="*/*" android:pathPattern=".*\\.pdf" android:scheme="file"/>
If you want to upload PDFs into your library, you can still do so via the web interface.
The last time we saw an expansion of Google Play Books was nearly a month ago when the service opened up shop in South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. Since then, it would appear Google has been making headway in its continued effort to bring more of its services to as many countries as possible. This time around, the list of countries in which Play Books is available has been updated to include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.
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.
Comic book fans have had various ways to read their favorite titles on Android for quite a while, most notably official stores like Comixology and Dark Horse. Now they can skip the middleman (well, at least one of the middlemen) for DC Comics. The nearly 80-year-old company has finally started publishing its comics, graphic novels, and trade paperbacks directly to the Books section of the Google Play Store.
At the moment the selection of DC titles is somewhat limited, at least when compared to the tens of thousands of issues published over the years.
Google just released textbooks to the Google Play Store yesterday, and oddly enough, there's a synergistic update to the Google Play Books client available now. This version unsurprisingly expands the notation capabilities, as well as adding some education-friendly capabilities like book rentals and contextual copying.
Users can now highlight text and annotate pages that have been scanned in (as opposed to the simple, malleable text and digitally published pages that make up most ebooks).
Google quietly brought Play Books today to four new countries: Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and Portugal. The aforementioned countries only had access to Google Play Apps and Music before, so I'm sure the book lovers among those of you who reside in the four territories are ecstatic.
The new Books section as seen in Ireland
Google has been very slow to roll out various content stores worldwide. The last time Play Books expanded was all the way back in March and only included one country - Mexico.
Google's Play Books service launched last year as a competent reading app, and a necessary pillar for Google Play. But one feature readers have since been asking for is the ability to incorporate their own files into the library, and now Google is adding that option to the service.
Play Books supports PDF and EPUB files, which can be uploaded through the online library on your desktop. The feature appears to still be rolling out, so don't worry if you get a 404 right now.