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

Enlarge / Amazon’s new purchase explainer and “learn more” link.

Following its earlier decision to remove Audible audiobook purchases from its Play Store app, Amazon is also disabling Kindle eBook purchases on Android. The crackdown on purchases on Google Play is of course to blame. Starting 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 has technically been in order for a while, but Google is ending a hands-off app policy that allowed companies to run their own billing systems.

When visiting 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 buy button. Amazon’s link displays a pop-up that reads: “To maintain compliance with Google Play Store policies, you will no longer be able to purchase new content from within the app. You may create a playlist on the app and buy on [the] Amazon website from your browser.”

Amazon Music purchases have also been halted on 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 always buy digital content or subscribe to an unlimited subscription, which avoids blocking purchases from the Play Store.

Google Play billing takes a percentage of in-app purchases (usually 30%, though media can be as low as 10%), and several large companies responded to the rule change by removing purchases from their Android apps. Epic Games is taking Google to court over the issue, while Barnes & Noble ended up disabling digital purchases on its own Android hardware. Companies that don’t use Google Play for in-app purchases have been technically blocked from releasing app updates since March 31, and on June 1, apps using unapproved billing will be removed from the Play Store.

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