Google Play Books upload hero

Google Play Books gives power to the people to upload their own books

One feature I'm discovering on Google Play Books that I really enjoy is that I get to upload my own files, which I can then read within the Google Play Books app. Just keep in mind that the files should be of the PDF and/or EPUB varieties. The files you upload should also be DRM-free. DRMs are things that allow sellers to control what you do with their product to some extent. You can get DRM-free files from different sources, like Project Gutenberg.

Google Play Books actually makes a pretty decent eReader. One thing I think makes it pretty solid is it syncs notes, highlights, the place you leave off and more across all the devices on which you use Play Books. The syncing takes place with your Google account.

Let's talk about how to get these files uploaded. In this case, I just saw The Giver and I'd really like to check out the book and see how the book and the movie compare to each other. Join me on my journey as I upload a PDF.

Enable book uploads on the app

PDF and EPUB files can be uploaded from the app and from its desktop counterpart.

Before I could upload The Giver via the app, I had to go in and manually enable file uploads. You don't have to do this from the web version of Play Books.

Google Play Books settings

When you open up the app, hit those three lines next to the book in the upper left-hand corner of the screen to bring up the "hamburger menu." Select "Settings."

Google Play Books enable PDF uploading

In the settings menu, you'll see several different options. Go ahead and check "Enable PDF uploading" to be able to proceed.

Uploading books using the app

Sweet! Now you can upload your books.

In order to upload a file, you'll need to have it saved to your phone or tablet. Access the file once you've downloaded it by selecting it in the notifications menu, or where you'll see the rest of your notifications. You can also access the file from "Downloads" on many devices, which you may see as an icon where you access the rest of your apps. Once you've found the file you want to upload, select it.

I downloaded The Giver from a school site and found it in "Downloads."

Upload to Play Books

Once you've selected the file, you should get some different options. Select "Upload to Play Books."

Upload to Play Books

You may see something like this pop up. It basically just explains that the upload may take a few minutes. Go ahead and hit "Got it"! The upload process should begin from there.

Google Play Books upload complete

Once the upload is complete, you'll see something that looks kind of like this. It really shouldn't take very long for the process to finish. For me, it finished within a minute or two and I could access the uploaded book immediately. I've definitely heard of it taking longer for other people, but be patient. Good things come to those who wait.

Uploading books on the web

As I mentioned before, books can also be uploaded on Play Books' website. Once you're signed in, you'll see an "Upload files" icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Select that.

Now select the file you want to upload from your computer.

The file will upload, process, then show up in the "Uploads" section of your library.

Anybody want to start a book club?


Reader comments

How to upload your own file to Google Play Books


I'm interested to know how you got The Giver in a DRM-free PDF? "From a school site"? I mean that honestly, as I would love to read it as well. But for free, I'm probably limited to borrowing from my local library (which is something we do a lot, for the record).

Once you buy a book with DRM and you want to move it to a different platform there are ways to remove the DRM. This doesn't defraud anybody.
I've moved my whole Barnes and Noble library to DRM free mode. I PAID for them.

Probably can't post those methods here in AC. But Google is your friend.

Um. Technically correct, but still shady. It's shady if you can't talk about it openly on here. It's shady if the provider of the content doesn't want you to do it. It's shady if you have to say "Google is your friend".

AC has/had a policy (somewhere) about not helping people break DRM. (Which is odd, considering all of the rooting and jailbreaking that gets discussed.

I maintain all my ebook library in Calibre. Calibre does not remove DRM. But it is built on a plugin model. Nuff said.

Call it shady if you want. (You are essentially calling me a thief). I paid for the ebooks and I want to read them on linux and opendsd.

What's truly the shady part is the companies and the laws they lobbied/paid for that make it a technical "crime" to remove DRM from things you have legally purchased, just to be able to view it in the reader of your choice, that offers the features/interface you like.


Self-justification is a powerful thing, one that is not easily overcome. Make whatever excuses you want about breaking the law.

That said, I actually agree with you - one I'm personally agitated with right now is the NFL licensing on videos. Why on Earth in this day and age can I not simply pay $150 to stream every one of my team's games? Does anybody think that WOULDN'T make money?

Its not shady. What is shady is providers of content trying to lock you into using their platform to read a book you BOUGHT from them. Once you buy it, it is yours to read however you want. There is nothing shady with removing DRM to allow you to read it in another app instead of being locked into Play Books, or Kindle, Nook etc. If an individual wants to use a superior reading app to read a book that they got thru Play Books, or kindle, etc, it is their right and there is nothing wrong with it.

I'm pretty sure what I did was fine. However, to avoid controversy, I've gone ahead and deleted the book from my library. I'd still like to read it, though!

Local library ftw.

Also, I'm pretty sure you can download a fully legit copy of something at the other link you provided. Like the Sherlock Holmes books. That's how I read all of them!

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I love this feature and it what's kept me using Play Books over other e-readers. The fact that it can sync sideloaded books across devices was great, but that I can read my documents and books ANYWHERE with just a web browser, without needing to install the app, was what did it for me.

Hey Google,

How about giving me the ability to upload my own movies to Google Movies?

I can already upload music, books, etc. What about movies now?

What if I have "legal" movies downloaded and wish to stream them. Sure there's Allcast and other apps, etc. But why won't Google give me one of their official, better apps?

You know, just how I stream "legal" music on Google Play

You can upload your videos to youtube and stream from there. Or use Google Drive. Both support casting, and are official Google apps

You can't upload cough cough "legal" movies to youtube *cough cough ;)

You can upload movies to Google Drive? I didn't know. I never tried, But I would think it would make more sense that Google did this with the current, useless movies app instead.

In simple terms, make Google movies more like Google music.

Google would be in trouble with the moviemakers if it let users upload pirated movies to youtube.
Drive - yes, you can store pretty much any stuff there (again, not sure if you can upload content of questionable origin to drive).

Music? The difference I guess is that music is usually not sold on copy right protected discs - while movies are. So, it is easy to assume that movies, if uploaded by a user, are "illegal" (because they had to break copy-right protection to get it into digital format). But hard to prove that for music since there is no disc protection - mp3 are available freely/legally.

I agree but then, it has been a grey area. I took all my DVD's and ripped them to digital so that I can watch them anywhere I want. As the owner, I should be able to do this so I stored them all to my Gdrive for that reason. I just don't see how they would see that as illegal.

I am not a lawyer, and don't represent any corporation or legal system :)
So, I can't comment on whether the owner "should be able to" rip them or not. All I'm stating is one possible reason (based on what I know about the rules/laws - which admittedly is limited) why perhaps Google doesn't allow users to upload ripped DVDs to their servers.

If you feel that you are within your rights to do what you are doing, go right ahead :)

To make it easier for streaming through Chromecast.

I'm not a big fan of Allcast and all those other streaming sources.

THIS... getting tired if firing up this dinosaur laptop because I don't have an album or record in the cloud! Long live micro SD...

Uploading gets done at normal internet speed. But this processing is taking too much time. 10 minutes and it still hasn't finished processing the PDF..

Posted via the Android Central App

You don't "have" to, but if you want those to be available to you even without an internet connection, you will need to.

Google Play Books (And the Kindle App) is such a sparse reader, that I haven't used it more than a few times. Moon+ Reader Pro is a much better alternative for me. I can't believe they just started allowing side-loading!

Side loading for Google Play Books has been around for a while now. This was just extended to Android, but you've been able to do upload your books via web browser for at least the past year (probably longer, that's just when I discovered it).

Why is there no mention of the file size limitations that can be frustrating especially when dealing with PDF's which can easily be larger then 100MB.. It's one of those arbitrary lines drawn that makes no sense, and severely limits the use of the app, but overall it's still pretty great. I just wish every time I see an update that Google has finally decided that limiting file sizes is not the way to manage space.

Yes. This has been the only downside I could see so far. I was also looking for a mention of this limitation.Any ideas as to why this limitation in the first place?

I like this option, though I wish there was the ability in the book area to categorize your books. That said, I am trying to determine the benefit of having the books here versus on Google Drive. I keep as many of my manuals as possible in .pdf format and store them online for access from any device. This would work, gdrive works. have to wonder which is really the better.

Google Play Books is awesome. I only wish there was a high quality, e-ink alternative to the Kindle Paperwhite that would work seamlessly with Play Books. That would make it perfect. Google should come out with a Nexus Reader.

i like the sync feature built in, and it generally is a pretty decent app, but as one who reads in lots of different light levels (ie at night, and out in the sun) it needs a better way to control it's brightness the way most other reading apps do. the auto brightness never seems to get it quite right for me.

I love this app. Been trying to get my wife to drop Aldiko on her g2 to no avail for months

Posted via my OnePlus One

I use ES Explorer and opened my "Download" folder. Selected a PDF file, and click on the "Share" button. I do NOT see Playbook icon. I see Acrobat, Gmail, Evernote, etc.

Am Idoing something wrong?

That's not how you do it. When you open o epub RR PDF file and click on it like you want to open it, the open with "Google okay books" will appear, choose it and you can open and it'll start uploading the file to Gpb

Posted via my OnePlus One

Isn't this is the same as what I did? Otherwise, where did you "open" the file? In Gmail, file attachment is only shown as "Save to Drive" or "Save", no open.

One thing I found: in DropBox, ePub file is automatically opened and added to Google Play Book.

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