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Google Play Books review

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Get your audiobook fix with as many titles as you can read on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Google Play Books is a single app you can use to listen to audiobooks purchased from Google Play. Rather than a subscription service, it functions more like a retail store: There is no monthly fee — instead you simply buy the audiobooks you want whenever you want them. You can find over 5 million titles of audiobooks and e-books available for download.

What is Google Play Books?

While there isn’t a specific Google service to listen to audiobooks, you can access a plethora of titles through Google Play. The Google Play store is your go-to for all things entertainment. From there, you can choose to access Movies & TV, Music and Books.

Under the Books category, you will Audiobooks in the left nav, along with an offer front and center to redeem $5 off your first audiobook purchase of over $5. And here’s the rub: Google Play Audiobooks is unlike other audiobook providers in that there is no membership or subscription fee — but you pay for each title you want to read.

Pros and cons

As with any service, there are perks and drawbacks. Here’s what we found with Google Play Books:

Pros

  • Frequent sales ensure a deal for less than the cost of a credit on rival audiobook services
  • Many title categories, including a free children’s book section
  • Books are available in nine different languages
  • Listen with seamless syncing on any device that uses the Google Assistant

Cons

  • New releases and popular classics end up being more expensive than when using the credit system
  • Narration by the Google Assistant can feel stilted and unnatural
  • Google Play interface is bland and simplistic
  • No member discounts like with other subscription services

How much does Google Play books cost?

Google Play Books is not a subscription service, so you need to pay for individual titles at their listed price. There is no return policy so once you’ve bought the book, it’s yours. But there are frequent sales, and the Google Play reader app is free from the Google Play Store.

Does Google Play Books have a free trial?

You can download the Google Play Book app for free, and you can listen to free samples of specific titles you’re interested in. But because Google Play Books is a pay-as-you-go service, there is no free trial.

Google Play Books customer reviews

Google Play Books offers fair competition in the audiobook race — this is what the reviews say:

PlatformReview (Last updated August 3, 2020)
Apple App Store4.6 out of 5 stars (‎8,600+ reviews)
Google Play4.2 out of 5 stars (1,680,000+ reviews)

Compare audiobook services

No matter what your digital reading preferences are, research and compare all your audiobook options to choose the best service to meet your needs.

Name Product Cost Subscription type Free trial Listen offline Library size
Audible
$14.95 per month
  • Credit
  • Rental
30 days
Yes
470,000
Google Play Audiobooks
Pay-per-book
  • Unlimited
No
Yes
5,000,000+
BorrowBox
Free
  • Rental
No
Yes
Depends on your local library
Downpour
$12.99 per month
  • Credit
  • Rental
No
Yes
80,000
Blinkist
$14.99 per month
  • Unlimited
7 days
Yes
3,500
Scribd
$8.99 per month
  • Unlimited
7 days
Yes
500,000
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Compare up to 4 providers

Expert review

Melanie Huddart

Review by


Melanie Huddart joined Finder’s editorial team in 2017, helping to polish up content across niches that include home loans, share trading, shopping and travel. Melanie earned a BA in Specialized Honors English and a BEd from York University in Toronto, Canada. When she isn’t focused on making articles shine, you can find her hanging with her son and her dog, practicing yoga or searching for the next greatest beach.

Expert review

Google Play Books offers a great way to access a huge library of audiobook titles to listen to as you go. For people new to audiobooks, it’s a good way to test the digital reading waters before making a commitment — to either a service, or to an individual title.

But for avid readers, buying many titles can get expensive — even with frequent sales — and no membership means no discounts.

Enjoy playback on as many devices that support Google Assistant, as long as you’re happy with the Assistant’s narration. All devices will sync with each other, so you can bookmark where you leave the story on your phone and resume on your tablet later on.

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