Google Play Books vs Kobo
Choose from millions of titles on Google Play including new releases, New York Times best sellers, up-and-coming authors, and free books. Easily personalize your reading experience, pick up where you left off on your phone, tablet, or computer, and get reading today
Browse and shop over 2.5 million eBooks including new releases, NYT® bestsellers, and 1 million free titles. Automatically syncs your library across all your devices including iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, BlackBerry PlayBook and smartphones, and all Kobo eReaders. Choose from multiple font sizes and styles, plus read in day or night mode.
Latest news about Google Play Books and Kobo:
24.01.18. Google brings audiobooks to its Play store. Google Play store now features audiobooks. The new audiobooks feature is launching in 45 countries and nine languages. Like on similar platforms, you can hear a preview of the audiobook on the Play Store and audiobooks are automatically part of your family library, so you can easily share your audiobook copy of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” with everybody in your household. One nifty feature here is the integration with the Google Assistant on your phone and on Google Home. Using this integration, you can simply ask the assistant to read you your book and it’ll do that. You can also ask some basic questions about the book (“Who is the author?”). Google’s pricing looks to be competitive with similar offerings from Amazon.
09.09.17. Kobo launched Audio Bookstore. Kobo has launched an audiobook bookstore that sells audiobooks individually and also provides them on a subscription level basis. Their entire audiobook catalog is powered by Overdrive and this is the first time they have ever been involved in an audiobook subscription scheme. Kobo has updated their app for Android and iOS and have brought over a fully functional audiobook player. You can make purchases and listen to your content on Android, and with iOS you can only listen to titles you have already bought or have used a credit on. The Kobo audiobooks service is available today in the US, UK, Canada, Australia for $9.99/mo.
04.08.17. Kobo will discontinue PDF Files support. Kobo has announced that it will no longer be offering PDF files to download from their online store by November 1st 2017. This change will only affect self-publishers and legacy content that was only made available in the PDF. In these rare cases Kobo will be automatically converting PDF files to EPUB/KEPUB. If there are specific titles that cannot be formatted correctly, Kobo will be sending out an email and provide a breakdown of the books that failed the conversion process.
23.07.17. Google Play Books improves reading experience. Google Play Books app for Android has undergone a major revision and it now simplifies the reading experience. The Library page went through some significant changes, four of the five tabs have been removed and there are just two: Shelves and Books. The new Shelves system provides bright and bubbly covert art that shows you books that you have not begun to read yet and underneath that are books you are in the process of reading. The third row is devoted to books you’ve finished. Everything provided by the removed tabs can now be found in the Books tab. All of the previous tabs were basically filters on the books on your account. The new Books tab contains a full list of your books, but you can hit the filter button at the top right of the page to now the list to your uploads, purchases, or those in the family library.
22.02.17. Kobo Plus - unlimited e-Book subscription program. Kobo launched a new unlimited subscription program for e-books, called Kobo Plus. The first two countries where it will be available is the Netherlands and Belgium. Readers can pay € 9,99 per month to have access to 40,000 titles and 16,000 of those are in the Dutch language. This new e-book subscription platform is a byproduct of Bol and Kobo. Bol.com introduced digital reading in the Netherlands and Belgium five years ago, and since then has experienced amazing growth. In addition to the 1.2 million eReaders sold in the Netherlands, customers can also read their eBooks digitally via tablets and smartphones. The selection of eBooks has grown enormously over the past few years. One in seven non-fiction books sold in the Netherlands is digital.
24.10.16. Google Play now allows to gift e-books. Google Play Books has issued a small update to their Android app that allows users to gift e-books. You simply need to navigate to one of the books on your homepage or within the Play Books Store and click on the three dots. There is an option to gift the e-book to someone with an existing account and they will get instantly notified that you have sent it and gives them detailed instructions on how to read the book within the app.
21.04.16. Kobo Cloud Reader is discontinued. Kobo Instant Reader, Kobo's web-based reading interface, has been officially discontinued and the link to access it now redirects to the companies general app page. The Nook Cloud Reader has also been abandoned with the advent of the new Barnes and Noble website that was unveiled last summer. Both online reading apps were developed in 2012 to bypass the new Apple policy to handle all in-app purchases through their own financial system, instead of app developers processing it themselves. They never gained significant traction because the companies that ran them never really promoted them. They languished in obscurity for a number of years, until they were quietly discontinued. The Kindle Cloud Reader remains the only online reading app to be maintained and available for public use.
14.01.16. Kobo released reading app for kids. Kobo has just released a standalone app for Android called Kobo Kids. It is an e-reading app, but also an online shopping system where there is a number of e-books and graphic novels available. In 2013 Kobo developed a children’s portal to showcase all of their comics, graphic novels and e-books. This system was only available on the web version of their store and this is the first time the company has ever developed a dedicated app to draw attention to it. The Kobo Kids app features a bright and bubbly interface that showcases a series of icons pointing to genre topics such as space, dinosaurs, animals, classics, superheroes and many others. When you click on a particular topic it displays a number of titles and offers previews. Kids, are not able to buy content on their own, but the parent has to purchase them, but it is significantly easier to do this once they download a sample.
17.12.15. Google Play Books makes it easier to read at night. If you’re a night reader on your mobile device, then you know that it’s hard to get tired with the bright screen burning your eyeballs. This of course isn’t a problem with physical books, as you can add a soft light to the room to wind down. Google Play Books wants to emulate that softer experience with a feature it calls “Night Light.” As the evening goes on, it gradually filters out the blue light from your screen, replacing it with a warm, amber light as the sun sets, to make flipping through pages more comfortable. Night Light automatically adapts to the amount of natural sunlight outside based on the time of day, giving you just the right temperature and brightness. The color adjustment is more comfortable on your eyes and greatly improves low-light night reading.
13.11.15. Google improved Comic Book reading in Play Books for Android. Google launched an upgrade to its Google Play Books app for Android that will make it easier to read comics on your phone and tablet. Reading comics (or graphic novels, if that’s more your thing) on small screens has never been ideal. The new reading experience on Android (with iOS support coming soon) will pop up when you are in landscape mode. In this mode, you can now easily scroll through a story with just vertical swipe. Google also introduced personalized comic recommendations to make it easier to find similar series, as well as a set of curated series pages for comics in the Play Store.
14.05.15. Kobo launched free ebook platform for Southwest Airlines passengers. Kobo introduces an e-reading platform for Southwest Airlines passengers, the latest in a flurry of separate initiatives to put ebooks in closer reach of travelers. The platform offers approximately 140 free ebooks (a figure Kobo plans to grow), of which about 85% are full-text editions, while the remainder are samples of titles readers can buy after landing. Kobo’s in-flight e-reading platform represents another push toward curated ebook discovery as publishers and retailers strive to deliver the right content to the right readers at the right time. The move also falls in line with efforts by Kobo’s parent company Rakuten to expand its global ebook business, a key growth area the company identified earlier this spring when it acquired the library distributor OverDrive.
03.12.14. Kobo offers ebook catalog on third-party e-Ink readers. Kobo announced an initiative to give E Ink’s hardware partners the option to offer their customers access to Kobo’s catalogue of more than four million eBooks. By adopting Kobo’s reader application, hardware partners can now add a digital book solution to their offering or expand their existing collections, making titles from all popular genres available on their devices. In addition to Kobo’s line of E Ink eReaders, the Kobo bookstore is now available on select Sony Reader devices, as well as the most popular smartphones and tablets with Kobo’s free eReading apps. As a result of this initiative, E Ink’s hardware partners will be able to provide their customers access to a large collection of eBooks without having to invest in creating an online library. E Ink’s hardware partners will be able to negotiate contracts and revenue sharing options directly with Kobo.
31.10.14. Google Play Books’ new reading mode lets you browse huge ebooks faster. Google has just updated its Google Play Books eReader application with a focus on efficient reading. The new Skim mode allows you to zoom between pages in an endless stream rather than forcing you to flip through page by page. Quick Bookmarks lets you set multiple saved spots in the book and quickly jump back and forth between them — perfect for when you’re required to refer to some reference table 200 pages away from what you’re trying to read. You can now view all of your notes and highlights on one page and quickly jump to the correlating passages. The study benefits there are pretty obvious.
29.10.14. Kobo adds Marvel Comics to its library. A new partnership brings more than 250 of Marvel’s digital comics to Kobo platform. Many of those titles are tied to popular franchises with established fan bases, like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, so the move probably doesn’t herald a seismic shift in the outlook for fixed-layout and illustrated ebooks. Super Hero fanatics young and old can enjoy these illustrated eBooks on Kobo devices, such as the full-color Kobo Arc 10HD Android tablet, or via free reading apps available for most popular tablets and smartphones. Still, it’s a modest vote of confidence in the format on Kobo’s part, not to mention an expanded play in a field dominated by ComiXology, which was acquired by Amazon earlier this year.
08.09.14. Kobo adds books for kids from Reading Eggs. Kobo partnered with Reading Eggs to make more than 120 of their children eBooks available to millions of Kobo Readers worldwide. For the first time, the popular Reading Eggs eBooks will be available in the digital format outside of the Reading Eggs program and are available exclusively on Kobo. Developed by a highly experienced team of educational teachers, writers and developers, the Reading Eggs program focuses on a core reading curriculum of phonics and word memorization so that kids learn skills and strategies essential for sustained reading success. It directly supports what children learn at school and will help to improve a child’s results at school.
07.02.14. Sony gives its e-reader business to Kobo. Sony is getting rid of its unprofitable businesses. The Japanese company is selling its VIAO notebook business, TV business and also quits the e-book platform market. The move isn’t entirely unexpected: Sony has always occupied a relatively small portion of the market compared to Amazon, Google, Apple, B&N and Kobo. Sony Reader store will be shut down next month. Owners of Sony Readers shouldn’t be worried about what happens to all their purchases, since Sony is generously migrating accounts and existing libraries intact to Kobo, which works on iOS and Android devices as well as Android hardware. The Kobo Android now will also ship pre-installed on Xperia devices as part of the arrangement. As for Reader hardware, it appears to have been doomed as far back as October last year, at least for the U.S. market, when the company removed the Reader section from its website entirely and listed existing models as discontinued.
2013. Kobo updates its digital publishing service Aquafadas. Kobo announced updates to its digital publishing platform for iPad and Android-tablets Aquafadas. From now it offers support for iOS 7, the ability to add premium enrichments such as real world physics to digital content, and overall improvements for Android interactive book creation. Publishers can add physical properties to any element of the design, create animations using the tablet’s accelerometer (content responds to gravity and moves with the tablet), allowing publishers to create interactive books without writing a single line of code. New option to control the HTML animation inside the page and bypass some limitations of iOS, allowing several animations to play at the same time.
2013. Kobo stops showing Goodreads ratings and reviews. As you remember, Amazon acquired book-review social network Goodreads in March, so it's logical, that Kobo has stopped using the Goodreads API on its website and in its apps. That means no more Goodreads ratings and reviews on Kobo book pages. It sounds as if the decision was driven by Kobo, not Goodreads or Amazon: The company’s chief content officer Michael Tamblyn tells Good E-reader that Kobo might re-add the Goodreads API in the future. But the move demonstrates the risk of relying on what is now a competing retailer’s API. At one point, Goodreads actually encountered a similar problem itself: In early 2012, it stopped sourcing its book data from Amazon’s API, switching over to book wholesaler Ingram’s data instead. Even now, Goodreads says, it’s using metadata from a mixture of sources — Ingram, WorldCat and ONIX feeds.
2013. Google Play to sell and rent digital textbooks. In August Google will start selling and renting digital textbooks through the Google Play Books store. Google said it’s working with the five largest textbook publishers and that students would be able to purchase digital textbooks or rent them for up to six months. It also said that prices would be “up to 80 percent” off print list prices, which is the same claim that Amazon makes on Kindle textbook rentals. Google is already selling a few digital textbooks through the Play store, but they’re not from the big publishers and they are not available for rental. Getting into the textbook market helps Google compete against Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple, all of whom have already entered the digital textbook space.
2013. Google Play Books is Now Available in 9 More Countries in Europe. The world’s second most slowly expanding ebook store Google Play Books made some progress this week with the launch of new local ebookstores in 9 more countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden. Back in late June Google Play Books expanded to Portugal, Austria, Ireland, and Belgium. Google's eboo kstore is now available in 26 countries from the US to Russia to Australia. It primarily sells Epub and is actively encouraging Epub3 and discouraging any other ebook format.