Google Play Now Gives You Digital Shelves For Your Books Online

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Users can now add their own shelves in Google Play Books thanks to a few experimental new features that have been rolled out starting with the web-based application. The aptly named Shelves doesn't only bring better separation for users who want to keep books sorted into categories though. The search giant has used its Play Books organization tool to add several others under testing too.

The experimental features are open to all users via the web interface for Google Play. That means they can easily be accessed simply by navigating to the Google Play Store and then clicking on the Books category in the left-hand side panel. The "My books" section is where the"Beta features" settings can be found, housed under the gear icon at the top-right-hand side of the page.

In that menu, users are presented with a total of three toggles. Those are 'Custom shelves', 'Searching/sorting', and a "Ready to read" shelf toggle. The names highlight precisely what each toggle does. Toggling "Custom shelves" adds a new button that reads "Create shelf" in the left-hand menu.

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Clicking that and naming a new shelf will add a new subheading to its own section below the default sorting categories.

If users toggle the search and sorting option, a new set of icons appears at the top of the page when any of those categories is selected. The first is a sorting icon for sorting by Author, Title, Last Read, and Price. The latter is a filtering tool that lets users type in their own search terms to find books.

Last but not least, the third option does what its name implies. Toggling that adds a new shelf that contains only books that the user hasn't marked as finished.

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Google wants your help designing new Play Books features

The newest features in Google Play Books will undoubtedly make it easier for those who love reading to keep track of their digital reading materials. It also works in the "Audiobooks" section of the Play Books page. But Google isn't stopping with the addition of these new beta features either.

As with other experimental features the search giant has added over the years or has planned, its ultimate goal is to add more features that users are requesting and to get more users involved in that process. So there is a final link at the bottom that Google says users who are interested in the beta features should become accustomed to. That's the "Send Feedback" link at the bottom of the Beta Features menu.

The newest features being pieced together for Google Play Books are those that have been most often requested via user feedback. Clicking that button allows users to suggest new features and provide Google with information about how the service is working out for them.

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Not on mobile just yet apparently

Now, as of this writing, the new Shelves and sorting features don't appear to be available in the Google Play Books Android application. They appear readily enough online but are nowhere to be seen in the app. In fact, custom shelves don't show seem to show up in the app even after being created online.

The search giant has not set a timeline for when Shelves might make an appearance on mobile either. In fact, Google has explicitly said they might never be added in an official capacity at all.