I just uploaded an eBook I bought directly from the publisher to my Google Play Books account and went to search for some text in the book only to see the following text come up in a tooltip when I hovered on the search magnifying glass icon...

Search (Unavailable for uploaded books)

search unavailable for uploaded books

What kind of nonsense is this? Is this some resentment that I didn't purchase this thing directly through them? Is search a service only for books purchased on GPB as some kind of perk?

  • Same problem here. Ridiculous. Did you find any solution/alternative?
    – user11946
    Oct 24, 2018 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


Dear Sir / Madam & Citizens of the Internet,

I find that, with the current version of Play Books on android (version 5.7.5, as of 09/02/2020), if one launches the app connected to Wi-Fi or the internet via. mobile-data, then the search option is "disappeared", i.e. it simply doesn't show up. But, if one disconects from the internet (i.e. turns off Wi-Fi & Mobile data) then the search option suddenly appears. I also found, once the search option appears, then wi-fi and mobile-data can be turned back on again.

I hope this is useful to someone. I was annoyed and perplexed by this, but didn't know for quite some time that the "fix" was so simple. I hope Google doesn't see this and patch it out.

Take care,

G. Ward.

  • Search does not work for me in web app, but does work on my Android phone even when the Internet is connected
    – Kirill
    Mar 17, 2020 at 12:58

If you have Android, you may find an older version of the application online which supports it. I can confirm that version 3.16.1 is working fine. Search in uploaded books - Google Play Books, for Android, version 3.16.1

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