Amazon tells customers they can no longer buy books on the Kindle app for Android

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Kindle users cannot use the eReader’s Android app to rent or buy books or pay for Kindle Unlimited subscriptions, according to an email sent to company customers today. Instead, people will have to pay for content on a web browser and then access the books through their app’s digital library.

Amazon confirmed the customer’s notification to CNET. The company says in the email that the change is necessary “to stay compliant with updated Google Play Store policies.”

Screenshot of a notification that says in part:

The Kindle app for Android displays this message when users click a link that says “Why can’t I buy on the app?”.

CNET

Google clarified in 2020 that apps must use the Google Play billing system to charge for “in-app features and services”, which include digital content in addition to subscription services, upgraded versions of a free app and cloud services such as data storage. The billing system is not used for the sale of physical items such as groceries and clothing in the apps, or for peer-to-peer payments or purchases made in the gambling apps.

Google is taking a 15% transaction cut on its Play Store billing system. The fee was cut by 30% in January.

The deadline for complying with the policy is June 1, when Google announces that it will remove non-compliant apps from the Google Play Store. Amazon has already implemented the change in version 8.58 of the Kindle app for Android, with the app displaying a notification that in-app purchases and rentals are unavailable.

iPhone users are already familiar with this arrangement, as Apple forces e-reader makers to remove links in their iOS apps that allowed people to make purchases in 2011, even though the links redirected to a website.

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