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. Read More
On a new Android device (or an old one), opening up the Play Store is the quickest way to get your hands on a digital book. Thing is, that's only the case if you live in a supported country. Today Play Books are making their way to nine countries throughout the Middle East. Read More
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
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
One billion is a big number. It comes with nine zeroes. Nine. It's the amount Facebook paid for Instagram, and now, it's how many times Play Books has appeared on an Android device. Google's app for reading ebooks has passed the one billion installs mark.
Since this is a Google app, the accomplishment isn't as impressive as it was for WhatsApp, as Play Books comes pre-installed on probably the majority of devices it's on. People don't go to the Play Store looking to install this app. They find it a couple icons over when they open their app drawers for the first time. Read More
A couple of months ago, we published a story about the scam problem in Google Play Books, and we haven't been alone in criticism of the store's issues.
The gist is this: Google's Play Books store was plagued by scammy "guide" books that, for a few dollars, promised access to cracked APKs, but in reality provided nothing but scams and malware.
Two of the publishers we mentioned in the post - Monster Guides Editor Pro and leon Master - were removed from the Play Store, but plenty remain, still distributing links to pirated apps and malicious sites, or outright selling the work of legitimate authors. Read More
Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a 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 snagged a new Nexus 9 this past week, hit up the Google Play Books app. It looks like Google is offering a free book from a selection of best-sellers, and all you have to do is accept. We don't yet know if other devices are eligible or if there are geographic restrictions, but you might as well check.