For all hardcore Kindle readers, there’s bad news, Amazon has disabled the ability to purchase ebooks in the Kindle app for Android. When trying to purchase eBooks, a new screen will appear informing customers that to stay satisfied with Google’s policy changes, purchasing eBooks is no longer supported. This happened because Google has now required all apps to use their billing system and will take a 30% discount on every transaction.
The policy is one that went into effect in April and requires companies with over $1 million in revenue to pay a 30% commission on all in-app purchases on Android.
Amazon removed the ability to purchase e-books in its iOS app in 2011, when Apple implemented a similar policy, requiring companies to use their own billing system. Since Apple users are wealthier and buy the most content, this was a blow. To circumvent this problem, Amazon developed its Kindle Cloud Reader, which was designed to work with Safari and allowed people to buy and read books directly in the browser. Amazon then dubbed its official app for Android. They did this because Google didn’t actively enforce that everyone use their own billing system, and it worked just fine for about a decade. That all changed when Google announced in 2021 that it would start requiring all apps to use their billing system by June 1, 2022. Google said it would remove apps that violate its rules from its system. billing.
Why can’t Amazon just keep selling books on Android and just pay Google the 30% commission on every title sold? Indeed, anyone who operates a bookstore and stores it with digital content from major publishers is acting as an agent for the publisher. Major publishers such as Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon and Shuster and Penguin Random House set the price of an ebook and all retailers must sell it at that specific price, this is called the agency price. Publishers didn’t implement this system until 2015, when Amazon essentially set its own prices and suffered a loss on every title sold, to drive Kindle adoption. The purpose of agency pricing is to level the playing field so that no one has a price advantage. This means that the profit for each title sold is rather small, Amazon sells millions of ebooks per month, so they make a lot of money from their scale.