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You can buy books through the Amazon Kindle app again, but only in this region

Amazon is seemingly taking advantage of a Google Play program only available for users in the EEA

Published onMay 23, 2024

Amazon Kindle app on Android smartphone
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
  • Some Android users in Europe are able to buy books through the Kindle app again.
  • This comes after Amazon had turned off the ability to buy books through the Kindle app in June 2022, citing changes to Google Play policy.
  • Amazon is seemingly making use of Google Play’s alternative billing without user choice program that’s only available for users in the EEA.

Back in June 2022, Amazon killed off book purchases via the Kindle app for Android. Following this change, users could no longer subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited service, nor could they buy or rent Kindle books through the app. The reason Amazon did this was because Google was going to crack down on apps that didn’t use their billing system. Switching over to Google’s billing system would’ve meant giving Google a cut of every purchase, something Amazon didn’t want to do. That’s why for the past two years, users have been unable to purchase any content from within the Amazon Kindle app for Android, though that’s starting to change for users in Europe.

One of our readers in Europe recently contacted me to say that they saw a new dialog in the Kindle app. They shared a screenshot of this dialog, which we’ve attached below, that appears when they tried to make a book purchase.

The dialog says the following: “This app does not use Google Play’s billing system. The developer will be the seller of all in-app purchases and manage all aspects of your purchases, including customer support, refund requests and applicable consumer rights. Google Play features like gift cards, Play Points, subscription management and purchase controls won’t be available.”

The wording in this dialog suggests that Amazon has enrolled in Google Play’s “alternative billing without user choice” program. The program lets developers skip showing Google Play’s billing system for users in Europe, though Google will still collect a service fee that’s reduced by 3% from the base rate.

Google announced this program in September 2022 in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). As such, it’s only available for users residing in the European Economic Area (EEA). Our tipster is from Italy, which is why they were able to be shown this screen. They said that tapping the “OK” button would complete the payment, while tapping “Learn more” would open a web page. Previously, users would have to open a web browser or use another device to complete any Kindle purchases.

Amazon, for a long time, let users purchase content directly in their Android apps, but when Google announced they would more strictly enforce its in-app purchase policies, Amazon abruptly pulled this capability the night before Google’s crackdown began. When Google first announced its “user choice billing” program in early 2022, Amazon wasn’t mentioned as one of its partners, nor did they say anything when Google expanded the program in late 2022. The fact that Amazon is now exploring this program a year and a half later is interesting, especially since it requires paying Google a service fee.

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