Amazon Kindle book purchases are the next victim of Google Play billing

Amazon's new purchase explanation and the "learn more" clutch.
enlarge Amazon’s new purchase explanation and ‘more information’ link.

Following on from the earlier move to remove Audible audiobook purchases from the Play Store app, Amazon is also disabling Kindle digital book purchases on Android. The crackdown on Google Play purchases is, of course, to blame. Starting June 1, Google will require all Play Store apps to use Google Play billing for digital purchases or removal from the market. Google Play billing has technically been in the rules for a while, but Google is ending a hands-off enforcement policy that allowed businesses to use their own billing systems.

When you visit the Amazon app, you can still buy physical books, but digital purchases now show a “Why can’t I buy in the app?” link instead of a buy button. Amazon’s link shows a popup that says “To comply with Google Play Store policies, you can no longer purchase new content from the app. You can create a reading list in the app and continue purchasing [the] Amazon website from your browser.”

Amazon Music purchases have also been discontinued in the Google Play app. The move aligns Amazon’s Google Play app with the iOS app, which also doesn’t allow digital purchases. On Android, Amazon pushes users to the website, where they can still purchase digital content or sign up for an unlimited subscription, avoiding the Play Store purchase lock.

Google Play billing takes a percentage of in-app purchases (usually 30 percent, although media can be as low as 10 percent), and several major companies have responded to the rule change by removing purchases from their Android apps. Epic Games is taking Google back to court over the matter, while Barnes & Noble ended up disabling digital purchases on its own Android hardware. Companies that do not use Google Play for in-app purchases will no longer be allowed to issue app updates since March 31, and on June 1, apps that use unapproved billing will be removed from the Play Store.

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