How to Download and Read eBooks From Google Play Books

16846222361_735163d72a_hNow supported in 60 plus countries, Google Play Books is growing in popularity, but it is still a little difficult to navigate.

As I was reminded on MobileRead last week, some users were daunted by process of downloading ebooks so they can be read elsewhere. So here are a set of instructions which should clarify the steps involved.

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First, where do you want to read the ebooks?

I ask because Google Play Books has an app for Android, Chrome, and the iPad and iPhone. It also offers an option to read ebooks in most web browsers, and if all you want is to read the ebook this is a lot less work.

Simply visit the "My Books" page in Google Play and click one of the ebooks you bought from Google Play Books. If both the ebook and your web browser support this feature, the ebook should open. Technically this does not count as downloading an ebook (you will need to stay online if you want to continue to read the ebook), but it is a quick way to get started reading.

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Next, which ebooks did you want to read, the ebooks you bought from Google or the personal ebooks you uploaded?

If you want to download the personal ebooks you uploaded to Google Play Books, I have some bad news. Those ebooks can only be downloaded via Google Takeout, and you will only be able to download the ebooks in PDF format. That sucks, I know, but there's nothing to be done.

But if you want to download the ebooks you bought in Google Play Books, I can help you with that.

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Before we go further, you'll need to take a couple steps to set up the process.

  1. Download and install either Bluefire Reader or Adobe Digital Editions, or another app which supports Adobe DE DRM.
  2. For ebooks with DRM, you'll need to enter an Adobe ID in order to download and transfer the ebooks. You can get an Adobe ID here.

To download ebooks form Google Play Books, open a web browser on your computer and visit the "My Books" page in Google Play.

You can find the download option in the three dots menu. Depending on the ebook, you will either see an option to download an Epub, a PDF, or both:

google play books download page

After you click the download button, you will get either a file ending in EPUB, PDF, or ACSM.

  • The PDF file can be opened in either Adobe Reader DC or Adobe Digital Editions.
  • The Epub file can be opened with Adobe Digital Editions, or copied to and opened with most ebook readers like Kobo, Pocketbook, etc.

The ACSM file, on the other hand, must be opened in either Bluefire Reader or Adobe Digital Editions (or in another app or ereader which supports Adobe DE DRM). This file has DRM, but it is not actually the ebook file. Instead, this file tells your app how and where to download the ebook. 

Once you have opened the ACSM file in Bluefire Reader or Adobe Digital Editions, the app should automatically download the ebook. If that does not work, Adobe has a page on its website which you can use to troubleshoot the problem.

Adobe Support

image by GotCredit

About Nate Hoffelder (11581 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

6 Comments on How to Download and Read eBooks From Google Play Books

  1. You should warn people to only use ADE 2.01 or lower if they want to remove drm. Google doesn’t currently use the new drm, but there’s no way to know when they might start. I think Bluefire also does the new drm.

    • I’m checking on the status of that DRM, but I do know that Google still promises that the ebooks it sells can be loaded onto ereaders. That’s not possible if they use the new DRM.

  2. I didn’t know they promised that. It doesn’t mean they won’t change that whenever they want to though.

  3. I use ADE 4.0.3 and can make the DRM disappears from my books and load them onto my Kindle.

  4. I find Aldiko very convenient for DRM’d Epubs.

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