Google Books Launches Three New Features

Google Books released three new features you can try.

The Google Books logo.

The items are part of Beta Features, a new addition to Google Play Books. According to a Google blog post, Beta Features, “lets you test out experimental features on the web.”

What new features are now available in Google Books?

One new feature is Custom Shelves. You can use this tool to create digital shelves on which you store books.

Also new is the ability to search for and sort books in your Google Books library. You can search by author, title, price, and last read.

And the third feature is a shelf called Ready to Read. It’s described as showing “you the books you haven’t finished yet to help you quickly pick up where you left off.”

How to Use Google Books Beta Features

If you want to use Beta Features in Google Books, follow these steps:

Screenshot showing the Beta Features option in Google Books.
  1. Visit play.google.com/books.
  2. Click on settings on the top right of the page. (The gear icon.)
  3. Select Beta Features.
  4. Pick which features you want to enable.

You can select all three features, just one or two. And you can turn off the features at any time.

Google Books, by the way, is a platform for consuming books digitally.

If a book is available in the public domain, it may be available for free on Google Books. Or, if you need to purchase the book, you can do so through Google Books.

Related to Google Books is a controversial endeavor Google started in 2002. Called Project Library, Google began digitizing books held by major libraries. The goal was to make these books available to anyone for free online.

The issue is that some of these books are copyrighted.

There were lawsuits and court decisions. To make a long story short, Google is not making available online all the books they scanned.

You can read more about Project Library, including the good and bad that it wrought, in this article.


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