How to add, buy and read a book from Google Play Books

google Play Books Hero androidability - How to add, buy and read a book from Google Play Books

Google Play Books can make any Android device a great eReader, but how do you use it?

acu google play books - How to add, buy and read a book from Google Play BooksSure, Kindles and Nooks have (relatively) long been forces to reckon with in the digital book arena, but Google Play Books allows you to enjoy your favorite page turners on so many more Android devices.

But how to get started? How do you buy and add books to your library? How do you even go about reading the darn books on the device? It’s not anything too crazy, we promise. Read on to find out the answers to these and other burning questions you may have.

Getting going/buying a book

Step 1: Getting Google Play Books on your device

Before you can do anything else, you have to make sure you have Google Play Books on your device. Chances are, it’s already installed on it (it’s on mine as “Play Books”). If it’s not preinstalled, go ahead anddownload it here.

Step 2: Shop books

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When you first start up Google Play Books, you’ll see something like this on your screen. Go ahead and hit “Shop books” to get the ball rolling.

Step 3: Selecting a book

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Once you find a book you’d like to read (for our purposes here, we’ll go with a time-bending classic, “The Time Machine”), hold down on the title or on the three horizontal dots in the upper right-hand corner you’ll see for each title. When you do so, you will have the option to buy the book. In the case of “The Time Machine” (and many other books), the book is actually free. Hit “Buy.”

Step 4: Begin putting in payment info

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Even if a book is free, Google will ask for a payment method to “confirm your country of residence.” Press “Continue.”

Step 5: Pick your poison

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Pick which payment method you’d like to use. Your options may vary, but you should at least have the options of using a credit or debit card or PayPal. Proceed to follow the onscreen directions.

If you choose to use a credit card, it will go through Google Wallet.

Step 6: Confirm

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When you enter your payment information, you’ll come to a confirmation page. Hit “Buy.”

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You may see something like this after you finish your purchase. If you do not want to be able to purchase Google Play content without a password for 30 minutes after buying the book, go ahead and follow the “Change settings” link. Otherwise, go ahead and select “OK.”

Buy/add more books

Step 1: Get to the hamburger menu from the start screen

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Now that you’ve had some experience with Google Play Books, your home screen will be a little different. You may actually have a book or two displaying there now!

If you see the three parallel lines (or “hamburger menu”) in the upper left-hand corner next to “Read Now,” select that or swipe to the right from the left side of the screen to get some recommendations from Google.

Step 2: Select “Shop”

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The above screen is what you should see next. Go ahead and select “Shop.”

Step 3

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You may see more free books offered in Google Play Books. If you’re interested, you can select the book and “Add to library.” It’ll take you to a confirmation screen that may look familiar. Select “Buy” and it’ll download, but not charge you.

If you would like to buy something that does actually cost money, select the book and select “Buy.” It’ll take you to the confirmation screen. If you select “Buy” again, you will be charged and the book will download.

If there’s a specific book you’d like to buy, you can use the magnifying glass found in the upper right-hand corner in the screens pictured above or from the main menu of Google Play Books. Type in the title of the book and go from there.

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GRE Vocab Lock Learn A New Word Every Time You Look At Your Phone [Android]

Having a richer vocabulary of words in your arsenal is one of the most effective ways to improve your speaking and writing skills, but there are so many words in English that it sometimes get really difficult to know where to begin. A few Google queries may return various online resources to nourish your vocabulary, and while it does work if you opt for the proper techniques, there are a number of smartphone apps now that can help you accomplish the same. If you want to learn a new word everytime you pick up your Android then GRE Vocab Lock is worth giving a shot. It acts as a secondary lock screen for your device and lets you learn a new word every time you unlock it. It houses a comprehensive built in dictionary for Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and SAT students, but is just as helpful for anyone who wants to learn new English words with ease.

The simple interface of GRE Vocab Lock is indeed not very impressive but it works as it should. After launch, GRE begins running in the background, and only pops up when you unlock your phone. The working of this app is as simple as the UI it boasts – after unlocking, it presents a word along with two possible synonyms one of which is the correct answer and all you need is slide the word onto the right one.

GRE Vocab Lock Begin - GRE Vocab Lock Learn A New Word Every Time You Look At Your Phone [Android] GRE Vocab Lock 2 - GRE Vocab Lock Learn A New Word Every Time You Look At Your Phone [Android] GRE Vocab Lock 1 - GRE Vocab Lock Learn A New Word Every Time You Look At Your Phone [Android]

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How to Add an Instant Dictionary to Android

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Android and iOS have many things in common. However, one thing that iOS users sometimes miss is their on-screen dictionary.

iPhone users – particularly iPhone users who don’t speak English as a first language – love this feature, as was discussed in this post. It’s a great way to quickly identify a word on a website, text, or email without having to switch to another app. Many people don’t use the pop-up dictionary, but those who do use it a lot.

Today, I’m going to show you that switching to Android doesn’t mean giving up your pop-up dictionary. Here’s how to easily add a pop-up dictionary to your Android device.

Step 1) Download and install an app called WordLookup:

Step 2) Open any text, email, or webpage and, when you come across a word you don’t know, press and hold it to highlight it

Step 3) Press the Share button and choose WordLookup from the menu that pops up. If your Android is truly a smartphone, then it will display WordLookup first.

Step 4) WordLookup will pop up the definition on your screen. That definition will automatically disappear after a few seconds, although you can adjust the specific length of time from the app’s settings menu.

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Add a pop-up dictionary to Android

If you’re familiar with the iOS pop-up dictionary, you may wonder why the same functionality isn’t built into Android. On iOS, you can select words in most apps, and easily access their definition.

WordLookup is an Android app that can offer you that same convenient and omnipresent dictionary. The one restriction when using the app is whether or not the text will be available for long-press selection — as not every app allows this. Ready to check it out? Let’s get started:

Step 1: Grab a copy of WordLookup for your Android device.

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(Credit: Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET)


Step 2: When you come across a word you want to lookup, press and hold to highlight it.



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(Credit: Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET)


Step 3: Next, press the share button on your Android and choose WordLookup (it will probably be first, as opposed to alphabetical with the w’s).

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Word up: 16 apps to help you read on the move

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From books and magazines, to op-eds and reviews, if the digital onslaught has been responsible for anything, it’s been for delivering a myriad of content. Oftentimes, way too much content, in fact.

But where problems lie, solutions normally follow, so here’s a quick snapshot of some of the best apps out there to help you get lost in a world of words.


There’s just no getting away from it, Pocket is one of the best apps out there for bookmarking all those articles you never quite get around to reading.

Unlike Flipboard, Pocket is all about those articles that you personally want to read – so it’s not automated or curated by any third-party. You can start reading an article in your browser on your laptop, suddenly realize it’s way longer than you anticipated and you have a bus to catch, hit the little Pocket bookmarklet, and it’s saved to your account where you can read it in full later from your mobile device.

Alternatively, you can save articles you’re reading directly from your mobile device. On Android, the common browsers will let you share directly to Pocket, while on iOS you can install a little bookmarklet for Safari that lets you save any article, while a slew of third-party apps including Zite, Flipboard and Reeder let you share directly too.

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Readmill: A Synced, Social Home of Reading

Books are amazing. They can thrill, sadden, educate, inspire and amuse with only the words they hold. For bookworms like me, the introduction of e-reading only further broadened the opportunities to be captivated by prose, particularly given the considerable selection of public domain titles which are freely available to download.

There are quite a few apps which provide access to these ebooks, as well as offering the option to sync your reading progress between multiple devices — Kobo and Amazon’s Kindle being the most prominent examples to be found in the Play Store. Over on iOS, though, another e-reading app has been making all the waves.

It goes by the name of Readmill, and it has already gained a cult following. Now, it has landed on Android – but does it have enough to push aside more familiar Play Store offerings?


For the design-savvy developer, e-reading is a difficult market in which to stand out. Yes, fonts can be chosen, margins adjusted and colours played with, but ultimately, text is text.

Or, at least, that is how it appears to the untrained eye.

David Kjelkerud, one of the co-founders of Readmill, tells me that a lot of effort has gone into fine-tuning Readmill’s reading experience: “Initially we did a lot of testing of readability of fonts and so on, which was the groundwork for the typography in Readmill. Android is a different challenge than iOS though, mainly because of the big variety of devices and screen sizes. Every screen size really requires a different setting for the reading experience to be good. I think we have a good start on Android so far, it looks good on most devices, but there’s still improvements we can make. It’s small details that make a big difference.”

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The default (and only) font is highly readable, and a few other visual adjustments can be made.

I have to say that those small details combine to provide a handsome, highly readable look — which is just as well, given that the default font is the only one provided. Thankfully, there is some adjustability. Five preset font sizes are included, screen brightness can be adjusted from within the app, and a white-on-black Night Mode is available for low-light reading.

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iStoryTime Library of Titles Now Available for Android Devices

mzl.kgroubxe 300x300 - iStoryTime Library of Titles Now Available for Android DevicesThe award-winning children’s enhanced ebook creators at zuuka’s iStorytime have announced that their complete catalog of titles, many of which are adaptations of some of the most beloved current children’s films, are finally available for Android-powered smartphones and tablets. Formerly only available for iOS devices, this catalog includes favorites like Shrek, Madagascar, Rise of the Guardians, and many more, along with some of its in-house children’s titles.

“Zuuka is proud to bring one of the most popular libraries of digital children’s storybooks to Android tablets and smartphones around the world,” said Graham Farrar, founder of zuuka. “From Kung Fu Panda to The Smurfs, our collection is full of fun characters that kids can enjoy with their parents, grandparents, teachers or by reading to themselves.”

Apart from innovative work in children’s digital publishing by incorporating optional read-aloud narration, easy swipe for small fingers, and bonus content to hold young readers’ interest, zuuka has also won awards for its various purchasing and reading models. Parents can subscribe to the entire iStoryTime catalog of titles, can preview and purchase individual titles within their app, or can even earn free titles by interacting with option sponsor-delivered content.

The iStoryTime app for Android is now available for free through the Google Play and Amazon App stores, and for a limited time users who found the news on this article can have up to five free popular titles from Dreamworks and iStoryTime. Simply download the free iStorytime app and open the Rise of the Guardians title, then enter the code ANDROIDLAUNCH under the “enter story code” link.

“To celebrate, we want to give readers the Rise of the Guardians storybook, in addition to the four free books it already comes with: The Giant Smurf, Madagascar, Ice Age, and Robin Hood. The Rise of the Guardians interactive storybook app retells the exciting story of the movie. Join forces with the legendary Guardians in this fully animated, narrated and interactive storybook. Fans follow Jack Frost, North, Tooth, Bunny and Sandy as they come together for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of the children from the evil spirit known as Pitch.”

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Motivational app Lift lands on Android to help users turn goals into regular habits

Lift, an app that lets you pick from predefined personal goals which you want to transform into habits, has finally landed on the Android platform more than a year after an iPhone app was launched.

The team behind Lift announced in a blog post that the Android version, available for both smartphones and tablets, is a fully functional version of Lift replete with coaching plans, simple goal tracking, community support, and reminders via push notifications.

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In June, Lift launched a new Web app that scales across multiple platforms — including desktops and devices like Android and Windows phones – with a responsive design.

➤ Announcing Lift for Android [Lift Blog]

➤ Lift: iOS Google Play

Headline image via Shutterstock

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