If you try to preview a book on books.google.com from an Android or iOS mobile phone or tablet, it's basically impossible. You cannot zoom in to read the text. For example:

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There is a Google Play Books app which is just a regular e-reader; it doesn't seem to let you view Google Books previews.

Am I missing something or am I stuck waiting until I can get to a desktop OS in order to preview a book?

EDIT, based on answer and comment from @Rubén:

This problem exists for me in Chrome 81.0.4044.138 on a Android 9 phone, and in Safari on a larger but out-of-date iPad. In views where there is a sidebar visible on the left side (not pictured above) I can zoom in on the white space so that the scanned pages are large enough to read, but then it becomes impossible to scroll around the page. I can scroll leftward one time, but then the page is stuck in place until I refresh and I cannot scroll up or down.

As far as I can tell, there is no option to switch between mobile and desktop versions of the site. That's exactly the problem as I understand it--there is only the desktop version and it's not usable in mobile browsers. There is an option to "try the new Google Books" but this has no apparent effect on these mobile OS.

  • 1
    Please add more details like the versions of the OS you tried as well the name and version of the web browsers. Have you already tried to the the web browser to show the desktop version of Google Books? May 31, 2020 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


My phone doesn't have space to download more google apps so what a I do is insert that after the id tag in the URL:


For example https://books.google.com.br/books?id=qXhcAAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=a+pata+da+gazela&hl=pt-BR&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiViNydw9_3AhVcCrkGHQ_RAiUQ6AF6BAgMEAM gives me the computer view of a Google book, that I can't zoom correctly on phone and sometimes doesn't even load.

To get a mobile view I have to first delete the unnecessary URL leaving the id only: https://books.google.com.br/books?id=qXhcAAAAQBAJ then add the mobile options: https://books.google.com.br/books?id=qXhcAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA0&newbks=1&source=gb_mobile_entity.

That's the only way I know, I really hope there is an easier one.

  • nice workaround, thanks for sharing! I agree it's not ideal but it does work.
    – Brian Z
    May 14, 2022 at 18:50

I think that you are missing that some books in Google Books are only available as they were scanned from libraries. If they isn't mobile friendly format you should get a device with a bigger screen. Nowadays some TVs are able to browse the web and some mobile devices could cast content to bigger screens.

Side note: According to the Google Books help there are two versions on Google Books: Classic and New. I'm wondering if the new version is mobile friendly.

Reference Use the new Google Books

  • There are mobile PDF viewers that display scanned pages on mobile devices. The apparent issue is simply that the interface of Google Books is not designed to be mobile friendly like, say, Google Photos is. If I grab just the right spot I can zoom in, but then it becomes impossible to move or zoom out. I've tried selecting the new interface you mention but nothing happens.
    – Brian Z
    May 31, 2020 at 11:52

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