Google Play Books should have been a slam dunk for Google. With the recent release of the Nexus 7 and updates to the play store it should have been an easy sell to everyone with an android device. Instead, due to some glaring lack of features in the app, few people will be making the switch from the various other reader ecosystems anytime soon.
Don’t get me wrong there are some cool features. The 3D effects are nice like in the book carousel.
The text is sharp and the page turning feature is slick as well.
But these features are just eye candy and the bulk of the flaws are with the general functionality of the app. So just what are these flaws I speak of?
1) No way to sideload content. By far the most serious limitation as it makes it impossible to migrate your collections from other stores such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Why would you switch to Google if meant you had to buy your books all over again?
2) Along the same lines there is no way to read many of the DRM free .epub or .mobi formatted books or PDFs. With Kindle you can email books and articles to your amazon account and have them sync to your readers.
3) No dictionary support. Even the Kindle Android App which has been seriously neglected has this feature.
4) No note taking features. Not an issue for many but a large problem for some.
5) Lack of configuration options. For me specifically it is missing the warm sepia background color available on the Kindle app.
While I would like all my content synchronized in the Google cloud as I have done with Music, this wont happen until at least a couple of missing features are addressed. Until then I will be taking advantage of the open and competitive nature of the Android store and keep using other reader apps such as Kindle, Nook, Aldiko, or Cool Reader.