If you use Amazon’s Kindle app on Android, you may have noticed the software doesn't offer the option to buy and rent ebooks or subscribe to the company’s Kindle Unlimited service anymore. Amazon announced the change last month and more recently began notifying customers of the move via email.
If you’re curious about what’s going on, the change puts Amazon in compliance with a policy Google will begin enforcing on June 1st. Starting next month, the company will require all developers to process payments involving “digital goods and services” through the Play Store billing system. Previously, Amazon was among a handful of developers Google allowed to use third-party alternatives to collect in-app payments. Rather than give Google a commission for every ebook it sells on Android, Amazon has decided to remove purchases altogether. It has done the same in its Music app. In Audible, meanwhile, you can still purchase credits through the app, but it's no longer possible to buy audiobooks directly with your credit or debit card as of version 3.23 of the software. In the US, Amazon doesn't offer Kindle in-app purchasing on iOS either.
It’s worth noting Amazon isn’t the only company that has stopped sales on Android. In April, for instance, Barnes and Noble removed direct purchasing from the Android version of its Nook app. Some companies have legally challenged Google on the matter, with Tinder parent company Match Group filing a suit against the search giant in May.
There’s the possibility that direct purchasing could return to Amazon’s Android Kindle, Audible and Music apps at some point in the future. In March, Google partnered with Spotify to test third-party billing systems. However, how soon that pilot could expand to include other companies is unclear.
Update 3:40PM ET: Added clarification about how purchasing works in Audible following Amazon's response to Google's policy change.