During the big reveal of the new Nexus 7, Google also announced some of the updates coming to Android 4.3 and Google Play. One of the lesser talked about updates was that textbooks would be hitting Google Play soon. It took a few weeks, but college students can start shopping for the next semester on Google Play today.
Google announced today via the Android blog that textbooks are now available on Google Play. The company claims to have secured partnerships with all the major textbook publishers so you shouldn't have any trouble finding that obscure textbook on ancient Mesopotamian interpretive dances.
Like with all other purchases on Google Play, you'll have access to your textbooks on any device that sports Google Play Books. That means that you can buy a digital textbook and access them via the cloud on your Android tablet, iOS device or the Web.
As for specific features within textbooks, here's what Google says you'll be able to do:
With the Google Play Books app, you have convenient tools at hand to make studying simpler and faster. 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 may be digital, but publishers will still nickel and dime you into oblivion. That's why Google offers digital textbook rentals on Google Play. It's cheaper than buying a print copy, but it's still ridiculously expensive. Still, it will save you a few bucks. Use that money to buy yourself something nice, like a mini-fridge. Trust me, you'll need it.