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Guide: Google Play Books vs iBooks: Comparison and Review
Android and iOS are the two dominant forces in the mobile OS world, each with its own set of apps tightly integrated with its ecosystem. Whether you want to watch a movie, listen to music or read an eBook, both Apple and Google have developed a platform and partnered up to bring you the best.
While Android may have the larger user base of the two, that’s not to say that Apple is very far behind when it comes to active devices in the world.
Today we will learn which is a better platform if you want to read an eBook: Play Books or iBooks.
1. Cross platform compatibility
Here’s the thing, Apple has a very tight ship. It always has been. The number of Google apps available in the App Store has always been higher than the number of Apple apps in the Play Store. This also applies to the eBook app.
While Play Books can be downloaded and used on iOS devices, you cannot download and install iBooks on any Android device. This considerably reduces the range, especially if there are more smartphones with Android OS.
Why is this important? Authors and publishers will consider their potential audience reach when publishing their books. A larger user base clearly gives Play Books an advantage.
Smartphones users with both Android and iOS devices will also need to rethink their options. I would like something that is widely available.back to menu ↑
Again, Google gets the brownie points here. Not only can you read Play Books on any Android or iOS device, but you can also launch your favorite browser and read eBooks online from the Play Store.
Apple, on the other hand, uses iCloud to sync books that you can then open and read only on iOS or MacOS devices. No love for other platforms or browsers. This makes Google Play Books a more convenient option of the two.back to menu ↑
3. DRM protected content
Apple is known as a lonely forest ranger. Always willing to walk the less beaten track, create their own rules and format. DRM-protected content is not an option for them, it seems. That’s why Apple decided to create its own DRM policy called Fair Play.
This means that any eBook purchased from iBooks cannot be read on any other eReader device such as Kindle, Kobo and Nook. This is important because these are popular eBook readers that people love to take and use.
Google Play Books uses Adobe’s digital edition, which is also supported by some popular eBook readers, such as Nook and Kobo.
Please note that eBooks purchased through iBooks and Play Store will not work on Kindle devices. While both iBooks and Play Books work with the .epub format, Kindle uses .mobi.
The PDF format is supported by all of them.back to menu ↑
4. Availability of titles
Availability of titles and prices are different on both platforms. Some titles are available on one platform and not another, and some titles are free on one platform while being paid for on another. Why?
This largely depends on two factors:
- Offers and promotions
I think this is a draw as there is no clear data on how many titles are available on both platforms.
By the way, we all have our own private collection of eBooks on our local hard drive. What’s with them?
Book readers tend to become attached to their books and love to maintain a library. Both Play Books and iBooks let you add PDFs and EPUBs, but Apple has made it difficult. After version 12.7 of iTunes was released, the functionality was completely removed. There is an iCloud solution that is too cumbersome, but still works.back to menu ↑
Google is also leading the race when it comes to audiobooks. While eBooks are still more preferred due to the high costs associated with audiobooks, there are a number of audiobook titles available on the Play Books.
As an Apple user, you cannot purchase audiobooks from Audible or a Kindle app. Why? Because Apple charges a 30% commission that Amazon says is contrary to the interests of its users and its business model. Frankly, I think Amazon is here.
Do you want to listen to audiobooks on Mac? Instead of iBooks app, you have to go through iTunes and then transfer them to iBooks. This means that you have to go through two apps before you can listen to them. Play Books offers a more integrated solution.back to menu ↑
6. User experience and user interface
Both Play Books and iBooks come with a number features to provide a refined reading experience. You can change and adjust the font and font size depending on your screen size and eyesight.
Both eBook reader apps come with a night reading mode that reduces blue light emissions. You have a built-in dictionary with the ability to highlight text, take notes and share them.
Having used both of them to read Sun Tzu’s Art of War, I personally liked Play Books. Why? There were some additional options, such as translation. Highlighting the text in Play Books would yield up the dictionary automatically at the bottom of the screen. In iBooks you have to scroll through options.
Both iBooks and Play Books have a page turn animation that looks good but does little to improve functionality or featureback to menu ↑
Reading is to the mind what Whetstone is to Sword
Reading is a great activity. Something that everyone has to surrender to. After going through the two apps for over two days, I realized that Play Books is much better than iBooks in several ways.
The fact that Apple was caught and subsequently fined for setting and raising eBook prices from five major US publishers doesn’t help either.
It’s no secret that Apple hasn’t been paying much attention to this part of their ecosystem for a long time, but that could change soon after the rebrand. Until then, there are plenty of options available in the market and Play Books is a solid contender.
The next up: Looking for free and discounted eBooks up your collection? Search no further. Read the below guide to learn more about 10 Sites to Get the Best eBook Deals.back to menu ↑
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