Following up on its earlier move to pull Audible audiobook purchases from its Play Store app, Amazon is also turning off Kindle digital book purchases on Android. The Google Play purchasing crackdown is to blame, of course. Starting on June 1, Google will require all Play Store apps to use Google Play billing for digital purchases or face removal from the marketplace. Google Play billing technically has been in the rules for a while, but Google is ending a hands-off enforcement policy that effectively allowed companies to run 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 on the app?” link instead of a purchase button. Amazon’s link shows a popup that says, “To remain in compliance with the Google Play Store policies, you will no longer be able to buy new content from the app. You can build a reading list on the app and buy on [the] Amazon website from your browser.”
Amazon Music purchases have also been shut down on the Google Play app. The move brings Amazon’s Google Play app in line with the iOS app, which also doesn’t allow digital purchases. On Android, Amazon is pushing users to the website, where they can still buy digital content or sign up for an unlimited subscription, which avoids the Play Store purchase lockdown.
Google Play billing takes a percentage of in-app purchases (usually 30 percent, though media can be as low as 10 percent), and several big companies have responded to the rule change by removing purchases from their Android apps. Epic Games is dragging Google back to court over the issue, while Barnes & Noble ended up disabling digital purchases on its own Android hardware. Companies not using Google Play for in-app purchases have technically been blocked from issuing app updates since March 31, and on June 1, apps using non-approved billing will be removed from the Play Store.
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