Google Play Books Update Allows Uploading eBooks from your Android Device

Still tryinggoogle play books to grasp the idea that users might want to read ebooks that they didn’t buy in Play Books, Google started rolling out a new update for their ebook app this week.

Google Play Books update 3.1.17 adds a number of new features, including tweaks to the appearance of notes and highlights, performance, stability and accessibility enhancements (and the ebooks now open more smoothly), and the ability to upload your PDF and Epub ebooks to Google’s servers.

Google announced cloud storage for a user’s ebooks back in May 2013. They let users store up to 1,000 titles which can be downloaded to the Google Play Books apps for iPad, Android, and iPhone. With a size limit of 50MB, Google not only matched the Kindle Cloud storage feature that Amazon launched in late 2011 – they exceeded it.

But it wasn’t until today that Google would let users upload the files from the Android app.

google play books

The update isn’t available to everyone just yet. Google is rolling it out slowly to a few users at a time and you should expect it to arrive some time in the next week or so. But if you don’t want to wait Android Police grabbed a copy and you can download it from them.

Update: But you might want to wait. Early user reports indicate that the process doesn’t work so well just yet.

As for me, I plan to continue to use Aldiko or Moon+ Reader. This whole “upload before you can download and read” nonsense is simply silly. Yes, cloud storage is a useful feature, but why can’t I simply load the ebooks locally? When you combine it with that deleted books fiasco in August it doesn’t convince that Google really knows what they are doing, and that’s why I intend to continue to avoid their reading app.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Juli Monroe11 December, 2013

    Don’t rush away from Aldkio or Moon+. Yeah, the download–>upload–>download model is just weird. And it’s slow! I tested a book last night, and it stayed at “Processing” for hours. Okay, I admit, I tested it on a Brandon Sanderson door-stop sized book, but still…

  2. Sturmund Drang11 December, 2013

    “and the ability to upload your PDF and Epub ebooks to Google’s servers.”

    Why do I have vision and the whole bloody world wears bifocals? Besides being blatantly evil why in the world would I have to load my books from my computer to google’s servers so I could read them on my ereader?

    I know I’m old but it astounds me that this generation tolerates this. Nay, embraces it.

    1. Nate Hoffelder11 December, 2013

      It’s not the craziest thing I have seen. That would be Kobo making you set up and register your ereader twice before you can use it.

  3. oj82912 December, 2013

    I like FBReader, and have about a half-dozen different devices to which I might have to download titles repeatedly from my Dropbox – which gets populated from my desktop mothership ANYWAY.

    But the real problem is bookmarks. Can’t really pick up on device A where I left off on Device B. It’s not really a *cloud*.

    If Google Reader solves that problem on books I didn’t buy from them, awesome.

    But if their reader software hasn’t improved, then fuhgeddaboutit. I’mma definitely check this out, thought.

    1. Nate Hoffelder12 December, 2013

      I agree, bookmarks (and while we’re on the topic, annotations) would make this whole uploading requirement worthwhile. I’ll see if I can confirm either way.

  4. SsadasS12 December, 2013

    personally, The reason that I prefer this system is because it mimics Kindle whispersync with DRM free books that I already own. So it’s really nice for people with multiple devices as it’ll sync to the furthest read page.

  5. […] Fuente  e Imagen – The Digital Reader […]

  6. […] added the upload feature a couple weeks ago, and that’s what has everyone puzzled. Why add a feature just to remove it 11 days […]

  7. […] And now that you have a video player, it’s time to turn your attention to ebooks. While most new Android devices now ship with Google Play Books, that app won’t actually let you read Epub or Kindle format ebooks which you might find on (legit) free ebook sites without jumping through a couple hoops. […]

  8. […] Play Books had gained the ability to upload Epub and PDF in early December, but lost support for uploading PDFs about 10 days later when Google realized […]

  9. […] added the uploading feature in December 2012 when they added support for personal ebooks. It was intended to both give users free cloud storage […]

  10. […] added the uploading feature in December 2012 when they added support for personal ebooks. It was intended to both give users free cloud storage […]

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top