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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.

Table of Contents


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.


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.


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

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Purple Lady April 12, 2016 um 1:08 pm

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.

Nate Hoffelder April 12, 2016 um 1:38 pm

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.

purple lady April 12, 2016 um 6:36 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder April 12, 2016 um 6:37 pm

It’s mentioned on the ebook listings.

R April 12, 2016 um 9:48 pm

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

Paul Beard April 13, 2016 um 1:22 am

I find Aldiko very convenient for DRM’d Epubs.

maureyn June 16, 2017 um 11:45 am

with this you can!

Victor Moran July 23, 2018 um 3:52 pm

What to do to download the book if the download option does not appear in the three dot menu of the book in Google books?

Nate Hoffelder July 23, 2018 um 4:02 pm

I don’t think there’s anything you can od. Some of their ebooks are not available in a form that can be downloaded.

Harold July 25, 2018 um 11:21 am

If you download ad Google Play book and upload it in a Kobo e-reader, I’m assuming it won’t sync between devices so you can keep reading in another device. Is that so?

Anon September 14, 2018 um 1:52 pm

If using Takeout to download previous uploaded epubs, It will download pdf format but it is still a epub. Just change the .pdf extension to .epub and you’re good to go.

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