File types & formats for reading on your device

When reading books on Google Play on the web or using our iPhone/iPad/iPod touch and Android apps, you don't need to worry about downloading any special files; you can browse and read ebooks directly in the browser or application.

However, if you are planning to read offline on your computer or using a reading device, the following types of file formats are available.

  • ePub: ePub is an open-standard file format for digital books. The benefit of the ePub format is that it allows a book's text to adjust or "reflow" automatically to different screen sizes, including netbooks and e-reader devices. We often refer to ePub files as "flowing text". ePub files may be as large as several megabytes (MB) in size. For some books on Google Play, only the PDF (scanned pages) is available and not the ePub.

  • PDF: PDF is a file format which presents the book in its original layout and visual formatting. These files are generally larger in size -- anywhere from a few megabytes (MB) to over 100 MB, depending on the length and content of the book -- and the text doesn't adjust to fit the device or computer on which you are reading. We often refer to PDF files as scanned pages.

    For some books on Google Play, only the PDF (scanned pages) is available and not the ePub, and these can be difficult to read on smaller screens. These titles are only listed as having "Scanned pages" in their respective about-the-book pages on the Google Play store.

What is an .ACSM file?

As you may have noticed, many downloadable books on Google Play have an ".ACSM" extension. This is an Adobe file format used for Digital Rights Management (DRM) of your ebooks. Ebooks with DRM are protected under copyright law, and our publisher and author partners require us to guard their titles against unauthorized copying and abuse.

We provide more complete instructions for other types of reading on devices:

  1. Transfer files to Sony Reader
  2. Transfer files to Nook
  3. Transfer files to Kobo Reader
  4. Transfer files to other supported devices