Google Play Books has a new feature called "night light" that should make tearing through text in the app in the evenings a bit less stressful on your ocular organs. The toggle, found in the same part of the UI as all the other in-text visual adjustments, works by slowly removing the amount of blue light on the screen the later in the day it is. The visual effect is to give the background an amber color which is supposedly less likely to cause visual strain in low ambient light.
Google says the feature is rolling out now, but if you don't have the latest Play Books update available to you, you're in luck: we do! Read More
Reading books on a tiny smartphone screen can sometimes be quite a hassle. The issue is somewhat mitigated for digital books that scale text to adjust to the size of the display, but for things such as PDFs or comic books which have strict page dimensions, it's difficult to enlarge content in a way that doesn't also negatively impact the content layout or require a lot of zooming and panning around the page.
To tackle the problem, Google is announcing an update to the Play Books app specifically designed to allow for a better comic reading experience. Read More
A good eBook reading experience isn't defined solely by what you're reading, the device you're reading it on, or a couple of settings – it's defined by all of those things; and as one of those things changes, the others may have to change along with it. If you're popping open a copy of Hitchhikers Guide for the third time, you might have to tinker with the background color and font so a full page of text is comfortable to read. On the other hand, those options don't make sense when you're looking at graphic panels from the latest issue of The Walking Dead. Read More
You can get a very popular book for a really, really low price on Google Play today. And by low price, I mean it's totally free. The book, which inspired the movie, is number two of the three-part series by Suzanne Collins that follows Katniss Everdeen's adventure in the dystopic future.
Normally, the book is $12.99. The first and third books are also marked down to $8.57 and $6.50, respectively. Giving away the second book is kind of clever, since it is not all that useful without also getting the first book. And, if you get the first and the second, you're not just going to ignore the third book. Read More
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.
Obviously this will be a boon for places where you might not be able to get reliable Internet access, notably during air travel or in a foreign country, but tablet users in particular will be happy to see the offline dictionary. Read More
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.
After years of waiting, folks in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan can now purchase books from the Play Store. Read More
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.
This isn't the first time Google has directly published a book for end-users: a similar guide is available for Android 4.4, in English and a handful of other languages. Read More
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. We reached out to Google for a statement and were told by a spokesperson that the PDF functionality was indeed removed because it was experimental, but will return soon. Read More
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.
If you live in one of the above-listed countries and have been yearning for access to the world's largest eBookstore, now's your chance. Read More
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. Read More