Google Books

Website review by
Polly Conway, Common Sense Media
Google Books Website Poster Image
Make online libraries, review books, and read the classics.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn organizational skills as they choose categories for their libraries and add books to each list. They'll also compare their opinions about books with other readers' by looking through the site's reviews. Google Books can help kids understand that there are many ways to read: they can read online, use an ereader, listen to an audiobook, or even do it the old-fashioned way -- get a book.

Positive Messages

A search for "sex" on Google Books brings up many links, such as "Cosmo's Guide to Red-Hot Sex," "Ultimate Sex Positions," and many more titles inappropriate for kids. Sometimes even Snippets contain inappropriate language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Google Books is a book-finding search engine with many bonus functions and a great selection of free, public-domain content. Kids can read some of their favorite classics online, like Wind in the Willows and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, among others. They can fill their libraries with favorite books and organize them into categories; they also can write personal reviews or reminders about each book. Reviews and libraries can be made public or private. Google Books is a great resource, but make sure your kids are using it wisely -- it has no content filters. Just as in the regular library, kids can find all kinds of books here, including very inappropriate ones. They can come across explicit excerpts almost without trying. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCharles M. February 11, 2017

Amazing Careers

How did William Shakespeare, Dr Marie Curie, Einstein, and Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, the first qualified female doctor develop their careers? Students can learn h... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old September 16, 2020

chill, it's just books.

Some bad books and good ones. For mid-aged kids.
Kid, 8 years old September 4, 2020

What's it about?

GOOGLE BOOKS works like the classic search engine, except it only searches books. Enter a title, keyword, or author name into the search box, and the site will give you a series of links, called Snippets, which are short summaries of each title. If the book is out of copyright or the publisher has given permission, you can view the book (Limited Preview), and in some cases you can see the entire text (Full View). If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF. If you find a book you like, click the \"Buy this book\" or \"Borrow this book\" links to see where you can buy or borrow the print book. You can also buy the ebook from the Google Play Store.

Who's compiling this giant online repository? Google's Library Project is working with libraries and publishers to obtain links to all books, even those that are out of print, while still respecting copyright. You also can search some magazine content using the Google Books search tool, and you can save and store favorite books on your My Library page. Within your library, you can write reviews for books and organize them into lists.

Is it any good?

This is a rich resource. So many classic books are in the public domain, and Google Books is a fun way to access them all in one place (although the regular library has its merits, too). Kids can read Anne of Green Gables and look at the original 1908 illustrations or look at Homer's Odyssey, all for free. Privacy can be tricky; make sure your kids' libraries are marked private or else anyone can see them. Although it's easy to purchase books through Google Play, Google Books is best used as a resource for free content and as a way to collect and share favorite books with friends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reading books online compared to reading printed books. What are the main differences? Which do your kids prefer?

  • Encourage your kids to add their favorite books to a Google Books library -- they'll be proud of the growing list and excited to keep adding titles.

Website details

For kids who love reading

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