Amazon to Remove Kindle Purchases on Android

Posted on May 7, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Google, Mobile, Android with 20 Comments

Amazon revealed this week that customers will no longer be able to buy ebooks from the Kindle or Amazon apps on Android, thanks to Google’s aggressive crackdown on in-app payments on its platform. The move apes a similar issue that Kindle fans have had on Apple’s devices forever. And Amazon recently removed audiobook purchasing from its Audible app on Android as well.

Starting June 1, Google will require all Play Store apps to use its Google Play Billing platform for in-app purchases, and apps that don’t comply will be removed from the store. Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, obviously has its own billing platform and will not accede to the 10 to 30 percent tax that Google’s billing platform will require on top of every purchase.

The difference between Apple and Google in this regard, to date, is that Apple has always required app makers to follow the rules, while Google has allowed many app makers, including key partners like Amazon, to skirt them. But Google has reversed course.

That said, the timing is curious given all the regulatory and legal scrutiny that Apple and Google are now under because of their unfair app store policies.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Amazon to Remove Kindle Purchases on Android”

  1. KeithSkates

    Kindle purchases... meh, whatever...

    But... What does this mean for everything purchased through the main Amazon app though? The article talks about all in-app purchases...

    • lvthunder

      Physical goods don't have to go through Google's payment system because they only take a cut from digital sales.

  2. bobnetgeek

    Y'know, you watch these manufacturers play cat and mouse with the cost and services in their products. Here is another example, where Google is thinking that it's safe to screw their customers because Apple screwed them first. We saw the same thing with non-replaceable batteries in cell phones. The thing that Google doesn't realize is that by doing what their competition does, you make yourself no better than they are. So another reason not to buy an iPhone is gone. Might as well go with an iPhone, now that the app store will be just as closed as Apple's is....

    • lvthunder

      I don't think these policy screws customers. I think it's important for the app store not to be a loss leader for the company. I also like the idea of typing in credit card information once and not for every app. It also allows all your subscriptions to live in one place.

      • fishnet37222

        You can still just enter your payment info once by using a service like Paypal to pay for things in mobile apps.

  3. Jasmeralia

    I'm wondering if this will only affect versions from Google Play Store, since Amazon has their own App Store for Android. Seems like if you install say Kindle from the Amazon App Store, you should be able to keep doing purchases since Goog.e isn't involved beyond providing the base operating system (which Amazon customizes on their physical Kindle devices). I already have their App Store installed to take advantage of in-app purchases for games using their Amazon Coins system, so switching to that for Kindle, Audible, Comixology, etc. would be no big deal at all.

    • Jasmeralia

      The Kindle app from Google Play doesn't seem to have removed the ability yet, but I checked Audible and I could only buy with a credit or add it to my wishlist. I then uninstalled it and reinstalled it from the Amazon App Store and confirmed the purchase ability was available again. So, if you want to keep that functionality, just reinstall it from Amazon directly. Apps on their app store in general tend to lag behind the versions in Google Play, but I believe that's just a matter of developers not keeping both Store versions in sync, and apps developed by Amazon themselves don't have the same kind of issue.

  4. jdawgnoonan

    The fact that I could purchase Kindle apps from within the app was one of the (very) few things I found better about Android than iOS.

  5. ernie

    I believe in karma - as you sew, so shall you reap, what goes around, comes around. Since I don't make on-line purchases using my phone, this probably won't affect me. It makes me glad that I use my desktop PC as my primary digital device, and that I use my phone mostly for communications, 2FA, and the occasional Internet search, but NEVER for financial transactions of any kind. Looks as if being a bit 'old-school' pays off in the end :)


    I wonder how long it will take for Google to get their come-uppance for this action, if it will back-fire on them, or what the end result of it will be . . .

  6. jimbosf

    Kindle, Audible, other digital goods. I always go to the website of the seller using a browser to purchase goods to screw them out of all of these taxes on purchases.

  7. ruivo

    Short term gains, baby! Who cares the legal troubles down the line a few years from now, the execs overseeing this will be long gone, with all their bonuses and severance packages...

  8. navarac

    Greedy bastards is all I can say. Does nothing to keep consumers on-side.

  9. jgraebner

    I find it totally puzzling why Google thinks it is a good idea to crack down on this. Their more lenient approach to this kind of thing has long been one of their top selling points over Apple. For tablets in particular, it seems to me that the ability to purchase books from the Kindle app on Android but not on iPad is something that could be featured in ads as a top selling point. Basically, they should be using Apple's user hostile policies as a differentiator instead of imitating them.

    • lvthunder

      Most likely the accountants are tired of the app store not making money.

      • Truffles

        This is actually a convenient justification rather than an actual reason. The key way to understand that is to realise that not every unit of a business needs to be a profit making centre, rather, it could be more akin to infrastructure that value adds to the ability of other business units to actually make money. For instance, the cleaner in a shopping mall isn't a profit making centre, but presumably value adds by making the mall more attractive to leaseholders.


        Obviously I'm stretching the analogy because a mall is never an attractive place to be.

  10. Jogy

    When you order for example a pizza via an app, does Apple/Google also take 30% cut?

  11. Daekar

    This seems like a step backwards... I agree that the whole thing is a bit tone deaf, given the timing.

  12. webdev511

    What percentage of app purchases do Apple/Google really need to maintain the app store and make enough of a profit to maintain and enhance infrastructure? I'm betting less than 30% Even more so if the app store isn't doing anything more than insuring that the apps aren't malware. They aren't storing digital goods for Epic or Amazon, it's just an app catalog. (knowing full well that is an oversimplification, but not at 30% over simplification.)