Google Books – iPad App of the Week

Google Books – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Google Books.

The Google Books app offers access to over 2 million Google eBooks on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Take your favorite books with you on the go.

Great Reading Experience

– Change font, search within book, information about book
– Night-reading mode
– Offline reading mode

Discover Millions of Titles

– Millions of books in every imaginable category, from New York Times bestsellers to favorite classics
– Over 2 million free ebooks available instantly
– Over 400,000 ebooks for purchase
– Free preview pages
– Unlimited storage of books in the digital cloud
– Worry-free archive

Syncs With Your Google Books Library

– Find books at and add them to the ‘My Google eBooks’ shelf to sync
– Access all your ebooks wirelessly from the digital cloud; no dedicated e-reading device required
– Automatic page position synching across devices — pick up reading where you left off


Okay firstly an important disclaimer, this app is not currently available in the UK iTunes Store and more importantly even if you could get hold of the App from the US Store and install it on your iPad (or iPhone) you can’t buy any books for the App, though you can download free books.

Google announced Google eBooks on the 6th December.

Today is the first page in a new chapter of our mission to improve access to the cultural and educational treasures we know as books. Google eBooks will be available in the U.S. from a new Google eBookstore. You can browse and search through the largest ebooks collection in the world with more than three million titles including hundreds of thousands for sale.

Alas the eBookstore is US only, though outside the US you can download free books. In this post however I am going to focus on the app and look at the service in another blog post at a later date. A key part of the service though is how it links to your Google account.

Google have also released an App for the iPhone and the iPad. However as already stated this is not (yet) available in the UK store.

Having managed to get hold of the app, how does it compare. Like the Kindle App if you want to buy books (and could) these have to be purchased via the browser. Likewise choosing free books is also done via the browser.

The experience if very similar to the Kindle or iBooks apps and like those apps you can change text and colours to meet your needs. There is no way of highlighting text or making notes, this makes it less useful to learners who may want to do such a thing.

It does make me smile when Google extol one of the features of their service is an offline reading mode! One of the reasons I like native e-book readers (either as apps or devices) is that they work when a browser doesn’t, like when there is no connectivity. For me it’s not a feature, but an expectation.

Overall the app is what you would expect from any kind of e-book reader app, nothing outstanding and nothing special. However where Google Books falls down as an app is that in the UK you can’t buy books. So at this time, it isn’t really worth the effort or time to get the app, as you might as well use the Kindle app or Apple’s iBooks. Maybe in the future this will change, we’ll wait and see.

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