Google e-Books Now Purchasable in Malaysia

*Google e-Books Now Purchasable in Malaysia*

Saw this in a post in LYN forum:

QUOTE(Andrewtst @ Sep 26 2013, 01:19 PM)
I know everyone is busy with Note 3. But… did anyone notice Google Book is official landed at Malaysia.

Samsung is disable the app, you need need to search it at Play Store and enable it, then voila Google Book finally arrived in Malaysia. I check around got Malay, Chinese & English book and FREE book as well, just those FREE book only have English only.

True enough, if you browse to, you can now buy ebooks priced in RM. 

On my Note 3, I searched for “Google Play Books” in the Play Store, the app was marked as “Disabled” with a button to “enable” it. Once I did that I could open the Google Books app. On my old Note 1 the app just installed without any hassle. It was named “Play Books” in the App Drawer. 

The Play Books app initially complained “You are not allowed to buy books in this country” but after a few taps here and there (can’t remember what I did), it showed me all the categories and books on offer. There are some free books in your My Books folder, and you can find some free books in the Shop also. 

A nice feature is that I can have the book read out to me ( using the Play Book app. It had a choppy voice on my Note 3 at first, but then I was prompted to download a Higher Quality TTS file by Samsung (86 MB) and the quality was much improved after that. I can also read the e-book on the web at, under My Books. The online reader is quite clean and friendly.

Not all books are fairly priced. For example, Jeff Jarvis’s “Public Parts” on Amazon’s US Kindle Store was USD10.39 (RM33.50) whereas it is RM62.16 on Google Play’s Malaysian book store. “An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington” is USD8.66 on the US Kindle Store (RM27.86) and RM23.62 on Google’s Malaysian Book Store. So it is worth to compare.

Maybe there are taxes and sales taxes involved when importing the bits 8-). Or maybe there are regional distributors who need to be paid off. 

For Free books, you can download them as unencrypted .epub and/or .pdf files from the web site. For paid books, Google uses Adobe Digital Rights Management for Paid books so it is a bit trickier. 

I decided to invest RM23 and check out the Paid Book experience. I bought an ebook via my Note 3, and just like other Play Store purchases, my credit card was billed and the full book was then available in the Play Books app. The option to download as ePub was still there (mousever the book cover in My Books, and click the three little dots to bring up the options menu). However, what you get is a .acsm file instead.

The .acsm file is a XML “ticket” that lets you download the books. You then need to install Adobe Digital Editions  (ADE) ( on your Windows PC or Mac, and feed it the .acsm file. In my case, I’m on Ubuntu and need an older version linked here that works with WINE.

Once inside ADE, you need to create and associate it with an Adobe ID the first time you run it. Then, drag and drop the .acsm file into the Adobe Digital Editions application. It will download and create an encrypted ePub into the application, and you can then read the eBook from withinADE. Pull down the “Reading” menu and choose “Item Info” and you will see where the ePub file for this book is stored within your Windows PC (Mine was ended up in /home/ shahada/My Digital Editions/An_Idiot_Abroad.epub).

I don’t have any readers than support DRM’ed ePub, so …

Cracking DRM

There are a number of tools that you can use to strip the ePub of its DRM, once it has been created by Adobe Digital Editions. A great site to get you started is here: With the appropriate plugins installed into my Calibre eBook manager, I’m able to buy DRM’ed ebooks from the Play Store, strip the DRM and convert it into a .mobi, where it can then be pushed to and read on my Kindle. I can convert books originally bought for my Amazon Kindle and have them pushed into my Play Books reader. How’s that for interoperability?


Books on Google Play

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This post was originally published publicly on Google+ at 2013-09-26 18:03:14+0800

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