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I've uploaded a lot of ePub files to google play books, assuming I would be able to download them again at any time. I now have a new computer and would like to access them, but Google doesn't seem to allow downloads of eBooks previously uploaded, which seems odd to me.

Since there is no encryption or DRM or anything on them, I figured there must be a way to get them back. Here's what I tried so far:

  • On my linux computer, I installed virtualbox, and installed an Android system there following this guide.
  • I logged into my Google Account on my virtual Android device and opened one of the eBooks I would like to get back.
  • I used the vdfuse utility to mount the .vdi image and navigated to the location where the eBooks are stored, which is /data/data/com.google.android.apps.books/files/accounts/{your google account}/volumes according to this thread.

Now, however, I'm a bit at a loss. If I look at one of the eBooks, they look like this:

./cover.png
./cover_thumbnail.png
./res2
./res2/{some-obscure-id}=
./segments
./segments/html{some-index}

Naturally, I assumed that the segments/html* files would be, well, html files. However, that is not true - they seem to be binary files and just list as data when queried with the linux file utility.

What do I do with these files to get back an ePub? Or should I have taken a different approach to this altogether?

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You can make use of Google Takeouts. Just unselect everything except Play books and download your data. You can then view your books. If the books you uploaded were in epub format, you may have to rename the extension of the downloaded books to epub from pdf.

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