Google Play Books is a top-class e-book reader app that combines a slick user interface with tons of useful features that make the reading experience very pleasurable.
Enhanced reading experience
The Google Play Books app is well organized, although it lacks some features of other e-reading apps, such as the ability to sort your books into collections, social connections, and access any magazines you've purchased.
On the side menu, there is a 'Read Now' section, which displays the books you have recently been reading, as well as recommended reads. The 'My Library' section combines separate menus for the books you have purchased, ones you have uploaded (in PDF or EPUB format), any samples you have downloaded to try before you buy, and a menu that displays all of these options. These can be sorted by title, author and recent.
One really useful feature Google has incorporated is text translation, which will help anyone reading a book that isn't in their native language. All you do is highlight the word or sentence and then click on the strange symbol with an A in it then chose your language.
When you are reading a book, you can view the bookmarks in a pop up box, as well as get more information about places (I clicked on Budapest in a book and it brought up a Wikipedia page about the city in Hungry) and definitions of words.
Other features include adding a note to a book, as well as the usual bookmarking tool and text highlight option. You also can easily see an overview of all of your bookmarks and notes in the menu.
Better than reading a regular book (in some ways)
When you click on your book to start reading, you will find a number of really useful features that enhance the reading experience and adds something that you can't find when you read a real book. Firstly, when you tap the center of a book, it zooms out so you can easily flick through pages by using the slider. It's a really speedy way to move through the book.
The Google Play Books shop has been much improved in recent years and, while it can't rival Amazon's Kindle store in terms of deals and special offers, it offers very competitive prices on many books. So it's worth shopping around in the same way you would in any high street store.
The shop is much more visual, attractive and organized than the one incorporated in the Kindle store. It's perfect for mobile browsing. You can also very easily pay with your Google Play details or with PayPal. However, it's not incorporated into the app so you do have to go outside to the books section of the Google Play store to buy anything.
Heading to the top of the charts
With the improvements Google has been making to this e-reading app as well as the related e-book store, Google Play Books has become a force to be reckoned with. If Google added the ability to make purchases within the app, included more deals and special offers on books, and added the ability to organize your books into customized lists or collections then it would be a top choice for reading e-books.