- 1 year ago

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With summer ending and the back-to-school season approaching, Google is lending a hand – and textbooks – to students across Canada who are returning to the classroom.

Google Canada announced yesterday that Canadian university and college students can now rent or buy digital textbooks from its Google Play Books app.

“We want to bring Google Play to as many people as possible and now with the launch of textbooks, we can bring more titles to students in colleges and universities,” explains Wendy Bairos, a spokesperson for Google Canada, in an interview.

Here’s how it works: within the Google Play Books app, which is available for free on both Android and iOS devices, you can search for textbooks by title, author or ISBN. Once you’ve rented or purchased your books, your textbook library is stored in the cloud and synced to your devices, giving you instant access to your textbooks on your Android, iOS device or the web.

“With the Google Play Books app, you have convenient tools at hand to make studying simpler and faster,” Google notes. “You can instantly search within a textbook for a particular word or phrase, bookmark chapters and pages, highlight and annotate key passages and get quick access to dictionaries, translation tools, Wikipedia and Google search.”

The textbooks offered cover a range of topics in both English and French.

“Currently, there are a number of titles covering English, history, science, mathematics and geography,” Bairos says. “As publishers continue to make more titles available, we will continue to expand the library.”

You can also reportedly save up to 80 per cent renting textbooks on Google Play Books compared to buying print copies.

“With the addition of textbooks on Google Play, we expect students will engage with the books as many people have with books in Google Play,” Bairos says, highlighting the ability to take notes on the app, save money on books and lighten the load comparing to carrying multiple books. “It has always been our mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”

As Google notes, “an overstuffed backpack is a thing of the past.”