The new Nexus 7 is a remarkable improvement over the original, with a gorgeous new screen and quick CPU. Innovation is important in Mountain View, and it shows. Google has worked really hard on their Books app over time as well, attempting to bring it more in line with the Kindle or iOS. Today, they’ve taken a big step forward with a section for Textbooks.
To save students from lugging around “400 page doorstops”, Play Textbooks offers the same functionality in a tiny form factor. You can take notes in the book, highlight sections, bookmark pages, and research words or phrases, just like you can with all other Play Books. You can even switch into “night mode”!
A quick look at the ‘Textbooks’ section in the Play Store doesn’t give you much, but it’s also a brand new segment. There were only about 25 books in there at launch, and most of them medical textbooks. Google promises that all five major publishing houses will have textbooks for Play Textbooks, so it seems Google has done their diligence on this one.
It is available across a variety of platforms and devices, meaning your textbooks can follow you anywhere.
It is available across a variety of platforms and devices, meaning your textbooks can follow you anywhere. Not sure if that’s a gift or a curse, but it’s cool that Textbooks will start appearing on the Play Store. Of course, all your notes and highlighting will sync to all devices as well, so you’ll never miss a beat.
There is a really cool option to rent books as well, which could save you up to 80% according to Google. I’m sure nobody will miss the days of having to sell Textbooks back to the school store, only to find the textbook will be discontinued, making it worthless.
This program also takes care of the lost or stolen book problem, so you never have to worry about having to drop another big chunk of change halfway through a semester. We only hope that Google builds this section out quickly; the fall semester is coming!