Google Play Books redux

I gave a quick review of Google Play Books when it first came out with user uploads.  (tl;dr version: meh.)

It turns out that the iOS version is the weakest of their representations.  As foolish as that is, I should have known.  Now that I have tried the Android version, I see some significant advantages.

  • On Android you can sort by “most recent” which is quite useful.
  • You can view your books in a list view (with small cover thumbnail).
  • You can search within your uploaded books for a specific title

Each of these is a glaring omission in the iOS version.

There is a somewhat circuitous way to solve another big issue I originally had – inability to download books again.  I found that if you select “keep on device”, you can browse to the /eBooks folder and find the ePubs right there.  Use a USB cable and it’s simple enough to copy it right off again.

Rendering is good (Kobo’s is slightly better).  Highlighting and annotations are quite good (except if you want to highlight something on the top line. Um?) but the biggest killer feature is SYNCING.  Google will sync your uploads and the annotations therein to the web, to your Android and iOS devices.  Kobo won’t do this, neither will Kindle.  iBooks, well, Apple hasn’t yet released iBooks even for desktop devices (as of this date), never mind on the web or on Android (which, as we know, will never happen) so that’s a non-starter, as pretty as it is.

Thus I am in the process of transferring all the annotations of my programming books from iBooks into Google Play Books.

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