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Alternatives to Google Play for books, movies and music for Android

Nowadays, when you buy a smartphone, you are not just buying a product, you are buying an ecosystem. With Android devices, it’s usually from Google. The Play Store and its corresponding Play apps are the first content outlets newcomers will see when they turn on their devices, but people looking to break free from Google won’t want to shop here. And even those who don’t care may not want to trust all their eggs in one basket. Here is a list of alternative places to find books, music, and videos to enjoy on your Android devices.

Books and magazines

Play Books is a great app for reading eBooks. Users can purchase books from the Play Store and access them from any Android device or web browser. They can even load epubs or PDFs from other sources, assuming they are DRM-free. If they aren’t (which they won’t be, most likely, if you bought a bestseller from any major online retailer), then you can’t read them here. Play Books is primarily designed for books from the Play Store.

Fortunately, you can install many other apps on your Android device. If you have an app like Aldiko or Moon+ Reader, you can read books from a large number of sources. Then you can get books from such notable sources as Barnes and Noble Amazon, which have their own Android apps. Alternatively, you can buy books from stores like Food Books or eBookMall, which don’t invest in locking you into a particular ecosystem and just want to sell you things to read.

There’s also no shortage of niche and innovative ways to discover books. tomely is full of content from independent writers and editors. Unbound is essentially Kickstarter for authors, where you can help fund the stories you want to read. Librosdechicas offers texts written exclusively by female writers.

As for magazines, there is always Zinio.


Music is the easiest situation to deal with. Sure, there’s the Play Music app, but Google’s store is relatively new compared to its competitors, many of which have Android apps available. You can get music from Amazon using a web browser or the newly redesigned Amazon Music app. If you’d rather avoid such a ubiquitous company, there’s 7Digital and the 7Digital Android app.

There is Jamendo, which offers listeners free music from independent artists. Magnatune lets you download anything you can listen to for a monthly fee.

But these days, many people prefer to stream unlimited music instead of purchasing albums individually. Fortunately, almost all of the major players in this space have apps available. There are Spotify, Beats of Music, Rhapsody, and others.

Some of the stores mentioned above, such as Amazon and Magnatune, also offer unlimited streaming. And if you just want radio, there’s Pandora and Tune In.


Movies are complicated. Film companies keep tight control over their releases, so it’s difficult to obtain a copy that isn’t tied to a particular service. You can “buy” movies from the Play Store, but you can’t export them to watch elsewhere. Depending on where you live and what movie you want to watch, the easiest route is usually to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu. Alternatively, you can watch Crackle for free or buy/rent voodoo movies. Amazon Prime is a good source of movies, but unfortunately there is no Android app that takes advantage of the service.

If you have some copied DVD files, plexo can manage them seamlessly, loading and streaming them to many of the devices in your home.

And if you simply prefer physical products, there’s a red box app that lets you reserve and rent records from the convenience of your phone.


Just because you have an Android device doesn’t mean you depend on Google for your content. Just try any of these alternatives and try to keep control of your content in your own hands. If you have other sources for books, music, or movies you’d like to recommend, please share them with us below.

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