Embracing Accessibility: Listening to Books on Google Play Books

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Technology continues to break down barriers and make content accessible to everyone. Google Play Books, a popular platform for digital reading, is no exception. Among its array of features, the ability to have books read aloud is a game-changer for those who prefer to listen rather than read. In this article, we’ll explore the ‘Read Aloud’ feature on Google Play Books and how you can make the most of it.

Enabling Read Aloud in Play Books

If you’re someone who enjoys having books read out loud to you, Google Play Books has you covered. To turn on the ‘Read Aloud’ feature, follow these simple steps:

  • Open the Play Books app on your mobile device.
  • Select a book from your library.
  • Enter skim mode by tapping the page.
  • In the top-right corner, tap the Menu icon.
  • From the menu, select ‘Read aloud.’

Automatic Activation of Read Aloud

For those who want the ‘Read Aloud’ feature to kick in automatically every time they open a book, here’s how to set it up:

  • Open the Play Books app.
  • Tap your profile picture in the top-right corner.
  • Access ‘Play Books Settings’ and choose ‘Automatically read aloud.’

Keep in mind that not all books support the ‘Read Aloud’ feature, as publishers have the option to decide whether to make it available for their titles.

Enhancing the Reading Experience

Google Play Books allows you to customize the reading experience by using a more natural reading voice. Follow these steps to achieve a more lifelike narration:

  • Ensure your device is connected to the internet.
  • Open the Play Books app.
  • Tap your profile picture.
  • Navigate to ‘Play Books Settings.’
  • Turn on ‘More natural reading voice.’

Customizing Voice and Language

To further personalize the reading experience, you can change the default voice and language on your device:

  • Open the device’s Settings app.
  • Tap on ‘Accessibility.’
  • Scroll down and select ‘Text-to-speech output.’
  • Choose ‘Preferred engine’ and access ‘Settings.’
  • Install voice data and select your preferred language.

Adjusting Speech Speed

Tailoring the reading speed to your preference is another feature offered by Google Play Books:

  • Open the device’s Settings app.
  • Go to ‘Accessibility’ and select ‘Text-to-speech output.’
  • Under ‘Speech rate,’ set your desired speed.

Integration with TalkBack

For users who rely on TalkBack for accessibility, Google Play Books seamlessly integrates with this feature. Here’s how to enable ‘TalkBack’:

  • Open the device’s Settings app.
  • Tap on ‘Accessibility’ and then ‘TalkBack.’
  • Turn on ‘TalkBack.’
  • Scroll and access ‘Settings.’
  • Turn off ‘Explore by touch.’

In the Play Books app, titles are read aloud first, followed by menu options. To reverse this order, swipe left.

Additional Tips

If you have a preferred text-to-speech app, you can set it as the default, as Google Play Books utilizes the default text-to-speech engine.

Remember that the ‘Read Aloud’ feature works best when your device is connected to the internet.

Google Play Books goes beyond traditional reading by offering an inclusive and customizable experience for users. Whether you prefer listening to books due to personal preference or accessibility needs, the ‘Read Aloud’ feature ensures that the joy of literature is accessible to all. So, sit back, relax, and let Google Play Books bring your favorite stories to life through the power of voice.


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