Google Play Books has been updated to version 3.8, and it brings along a few new features to the application. The app is now available for download on the Google Play Store. Of course, if you want to sideload the update, you can do so by hitting the download link at the bottom of this article. This update is the one that brings the new Google Play icon to the Play Books app. So you're looking at a triangle with a book inside it. This is to match the icons of the other Google Play apps (Play Music, Newsstand, Play Movies & TV, etc).
On top of that, there are some other features included in this update. One of those is the ability to open downloaded books faster. Also the changes in display options are now easier to see, there are also new notifications. So you can now get notifications when new books arrive from your favorite authors. Definitely great for those that want to keep tabs on their favorite authors and get their new books. The Search bar has also gotten a nice new feature. It now remembers words that you've entered before in previous search queries. It's basically just showing you your search history now. Pretty surprising that Google Play Books didn't have that already.
There are also some new UI changes in this update. This is part of making your Read now easier to browse. The background in Read now is actually blue - the same color blue as the Play Books app. So instead of it being a grayish color like the rest of the screen, it's now blue like the title bar at the top. The More "button" has gone away and it's just text now, in the "Recommended for You" section. In that section, books are now in a horizontal carousel instead of vertical scrolling. This fits better for book covers, but it does mean you only get three to a screen, unlike before where you had about four before needing to scroll down some more.
This update is available in the Google Play Store now, you can also download the APK here.