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[Deal Alert] Get $5 off on any book over $5 on Google Play

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Google Play Store. That's right, it has been five years since we saw the last of the Android Market - unless you had a very old device that never received the redesigned store app. To celebrate, Google is taking $5 off any book on Google Play Books - as long as it costs more than $5 to begin with.

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Indie book publishing and reading service Inkitt brings its app to the Play Store

There are many ways you can get your words published online these days, but if you're an aspiring author who takes themselves and their writing seriously, choices are more limited. I hadn't heard of Inkitt before, but from checking the site and reading the impressive editing and vetting process described in its guidelines, it looks like a good contender for indie authors who want to reach readers quickly, get feedback, and publish their writing without too much formalities and hassle.

Inkitt launched on iOS in November and is now available on Android. The app brings over 80k titles to Inkitt's more than 700k readers, in different genres ranging from sci-fi to romance, YA, thrillers, erotica, and more.

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Play Books v3.11 adopts a bottom navigation bar, sub-lists for series, and a settings link for Night Light [APK Download]

As the holidays close in (at least for many readers), Google is rolling out a stream of updates to various apps. In addition to the major Keyboard update earlier today, Play Books is making some changes, as well. The big change on this release is the adoption of the bottom navigation bar. Digging a bit deeper also reveals improvements to the way issues are displayed for comics and other series, and a couple of other visual tweaks.

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You can now gift books and comics through the Play Books app

Do you have a serious reader in your life? Maybe you know somebody that doesn't read, but you'd like to not-so-subtly encourage them to start? In the old days, you would take your carriage to the nearby village and pick out a book from a huge shelf, usually with advice from the store owner. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Forget that noise, now you can get the same thing done from right inside the Play Books app.

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Google Play Books adds Discover mode with customized book news, reviews, and suggestions [APK Download]

Google is rolling out an update to the Google Play Books app today, and for the first time in ages there's a notable new feature. It's called Discovery, and it helps you discover new stuff to read. As is the case with a great many Google features, this one is available in the US only at first.

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Play Books v3.9 adds smarter search suggestions, badges for series with new content, and more [APK Download + Teardown]

It has been a couple of months since Play Books has been in the news, but there's a new update rolling out and it brings a couple of new features. Version 3.9 gives search a little more help with more thorough suggestions and adds a badge to series when new content hits the store. Those two things along with some other general bug fixes and improvements are certainly nice, but there are also a couple of things to talk about in a teardown. Keep reading for details or skip straight to the bottom for a download link.

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Play Books v3.8 Brings A New Search Bar, New Book Notifications For Favorite Authors, Performance Improvements, And Much More [APK Download]

This is certainly a week for updates. Between the latest dev preview for Android N, the rest of the April security updates, and a decent stack of apps from Google, things have been really busy. Play Books joins the lineup, bringing with it a number of visual and functional changes. Of course there is a new icon to join the rebranding effort, but it also includes some updates to the search bar, the reading experience, and more. As always, we've got a link to the download at the bottom.

What's New

Many thanks to the Play Books team for providing a very thorough changelog!

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[Update: Original Source Backpedals] WSJ Report: Amazon Plans To Bring Bookstores Back From The Dead With "Hundreds" Of Amazon-Branded Retail Locations In The US

The information age has not been kind to the humble bookstore. After mega-chains valiantly tried and failed to compete with the 800-pound gorilla that is Amazon, only Barnes & Noble is left in the US (and it's quickly becoming a showroom for LEGO and Pop Vinyl toys as much as an actual bookseller). A few indies are surviving thanks to a small resurgence of dead tree reading and some trendy makeovers, but the writing is on the wall.

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Play Books v3.7.67 Adds Quick-Links To The Store, Updates Night Light Intro Card, And Shows Progress On The Family Library [APK Teardown + Download]

Now that app updates are back to business as usual (more or less), Play Books is showing some activity again with a couple of small-ish changes that add a bit of polish. There are now shortcuts with links to different sections of the Play Store and an updated welcome card for the so-called Night Light feature. But the more interesting change is actually buried where it can't be seen in the live interface: some real signs that the Family Library is moving forward in Play Books. If you're looking for the APK, we have the link at the bottom.

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Play Store v5.10: Support For Books Listed By Series, More Visible App Sizes, And More [APK Teardown]

Yesterday brought a brand new update to the Play Store, bringing the version up to 5.10.29. There are some new UI elements, even if most of us aren't allowed to see them yet, and we can now copy text from the what's new and description sections. Naturally, Google included a few hidden tricks and treats just waiting to be discovered. We can expect to see books organized by series, apps described with size, and some friendlier welcome and exploration messages.

Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
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