The eBook Reader on Your Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

To sate your electronic book-reading desires, your Android phone comes with Google’s eBook reader app, Play Books. It offers you access to your eBook library, plus the multitudinous tomes available at the Google Play Store

Open the Play Books app to behold any eBooks you’ve recently read, which are displayed on the Read Now screen. To browse your entire eBook library, tap the Side Menu icon and choose my Library from the navigation drawer.

The library lists any titles you’ve obtained for your Google Books account.

The Play Books library.

The Play Books library.

Scroll through the library by swiping the screen.

Tap a book’s cover (or card) to open it. If you’ve previously opened the book, you see the page you last read. Otherwise, you see the book’s first page.

This image illustrates the basic book-reading operation in the Play Books app. You turn pages by swiping left or right, but probably mostly left. You can also turn pages by tapping either the far left or right side of the screen.

Reading an eBook in the Play Books app.

Reading an eBook in the Play Books app.

The Play Books app works in both vertical and horizontal orientations. You can lock the screen orientation for the app to either direction: Choose the Settings item from the navigation drawer, and then choose Auto-Rotate Screen. Select a Lock item to prevent the app from rotating the screen while you read.

  • If you don’t see a particular book in your library, tap the Action Overflow and choose Refresh.

  • Books in your Play Books library are stored on the Internet and available to read only when an Internet connection is active. It’s possible to keep a book on your phone by downloading it to the device.

  • To remove a book from the library, tap the Action Overflow on the book’s cover and choose Delete from Library.

  • If the onscreen controls disappear, tap the screen to see them again.

  • Tap the A icon to view options for adjusting the text on the screen and the brightness level.

  • Unlike dead-tree books, eBooks lack an index. That’s because text on digital pages can change based on the book’s presentation. Therefore, use the Search icon to find text.

  • Copies of all your Google Books are available on all your Android devices and on the books.google.com website.

  • You can obtain books at the Google Play Store, as well download books to your phone.

  • If you have a Kindle device, you can obtain the Amazon Kindle app for your phone. Use the app to access books you’ve purchased for the Kindle, or just as a supplement to Google Books.