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Google Play Books Gets Sizable Update; Brings Better Note Taking and PDF, ePub Uploads

December 11, 2013 - Written By Justin Diaz

I don’t know about you, but Google always seems to layer it on thick when it comes to updates with their own apps. Updates happen often, and they usually come along with massive amounts of bug fixes if they’re needed and quite a few new features to spice things up a bit. Google Play Books is just one of the many apps that they offer in the Play Store (and one that also comes pre-installed on just about every Android device)and today Google just dropped a pretty huge update for it. Some of you will have noticed it already, while it may start to trickle out to some users as the day goes on.

The most notable thing about this update which is something people that are users of Google Play Books have been asking for for a long time, is the ability to upload your own books into your Play Books library, as long as they’re in PDF or EPUB formats. Even though the feature to add in your own ebooks is limited to these two file types, the ability to add them at all is a nice touch as many users have plenty of books that were purchased in a PDF style outside of the Google Play store. You must be connected to the web so you have the capability to connect to your Google Play Books library to read your uploads. No local offline access for these but adding in your ebooks, online or not is awesome.

One of the improvements you might notice if you are someone who uses note taking inside Google Play Books at all is that note taking has been greatly improved, and the UI is much cleaner allowing you to get rid of your notes easier while also being able to define your note colors more simply. Play Books also opens faster than it did before, so you can get to and access your books quicker and get to reading.

There are some other smaller changes and updates that Google has made to Google Play Books, not the least of which is a lower brightness setting for low-light conditions.(no more waking up your partner in bed!). Here is a statement from Google on some of the changes that were made, some of which we have already discussed.

“Books open more quickly and smoothly. Upload EPUB or PDF files to your library from your phone or tablet. From email or Downloads, touch the file to open it and choose Upload to Play Books.Improved look and feel of highlights and notes.Lower brightness settings,  for better reading in low light. Read any book in landscape view. Dismiss recommended books in Read Now. Additional improvements in performance, stability and accessibility.”

If you absolutely can’t wait for the update to hit your device which will happen in incremental rollouts throughout today and the next couple days probably, you can grab the app and sideload the new .apk file for Google Play Books, in effect replacing your old copy of the app that is already installed on your device. If you don’t have the app yet, you can install it fresh from the Google Play Store once it updates to the newest version or also grab it here thanks to Android Police.