How to Upload Your Own E-Books to Google Play Books

Save your e-books online to read them anywhere

Screenshot of books uploaded to Google Books
Books Uploaded to Google Books.

You can upload your personal EPUB and PDF books or documents to Google Play Books to store them online and use them from anywhere on any of your compatible devices. This process is similar to what Google lets you do with Google Play Music

Uploading books to Google Play Books is done through the Upload files button on the Google Play Books website. Books can be loaded from your Google Drive account or from your computer.

Steps to Upload Your Books

Screenshots showing how to upload e-books to Google Play Books

You can import your e-books into Google Play Books in just a few steps.

  1. Open My Books on Google Play and log in to your Google account if asked.

  2. Use the Upload files button to browse for the e-book.

    To upload a book from your computer, use the Upload tab. Otherwise, look under My Drive to pick an e-book from your Google Drive account.

  3. Click Select when you've chosen all the books you want to upload.

Your items may take a few minutes to have cover art appear. In some cases, the cover art won't appear at all, and you'll have a generic cover or whatever happened to be on the first page of the book. There doesn't appear to be a way to fix that problem at this time, but customizable covers may be a future feature. 

Another missing feature is the ability to meaningfully organize these books with tags, folders, or collections. You can search for books in your library, but other than that they're only organized into separate sections: uploads, purchases, rentals, and samples.

Troubleshooting

Your books aren't uploading to Google Play Books? There are a few things you can check.

  • Is your book in a compatible format? Your e-book must be in EPUB or PDF format. If you ended up with some other format, such as MOBI, you can try converting it using a document converter program like Calibre. DRM-protected books are not supported.
  • Do you have too many books? Perish the thought, but Google currently only allows you to upload 1,000. You might have to prioritize the documents you want to store in the cloud or figure out some way to juggle them between accounts. 
  • Are you logged into the correct Google account? If you upload a file and it looks fine but later disappears, you probably uploaded it to the wrong account. If you no longer have the original, download it from Google Play Books and then re-upload it to the correct account.

Background

When Google first released Google Books and the Google Play Books e-reader, you couldn't upload your own books. It was a closed system, and you were stuck reading only books you'd purchased from Google. It shouldn't be surprising to hear that the No. 1 feature request for Google Books was some sort of cloud-based storage option for personal libraries.

Back in the early days of Google Play Books, you could download the books and put them in another reading program. You can still do that, but it has some disadvantages. If you use a local e-book reader app like ​Aldiko, your books are also local. When you pick up your tablet, you can't continue the book you were just reading on your phone. If you lost your phone without backing up those books somewhere else, you've also lost the book. ​

It doesn't match the realities of today's e-book market to keep e-books offline. Most people who read e-books would prefer to have their choice about where to purchase books but still be able to read them all from a single location.