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Amazon just made the Kindle app on Android worse — here’s how

a photo of the Amazon Kindle app in the Google Play Store on an Android phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you were an avid reader of Kindle books on your Android device, you’re in for some bad news, as Amazon has removed the option to buy ebooks using the Android Kindle app.

Until very recently it was possible to buy Kindle books from within the Amazon app on Android. But as Ars Technica (opens in new tab) noted, that option has been removed by Amazon — now users are directed to a screen that explains the option to buy books in the app has been removed, in order “to remain in compliance with the Google Play Store policies.” 

The policy is one that came into action this April and requires companies with a turnover of over $1 million to pay a 30% commission on all in-app purchases on Android.

This could be bypassed by companies enabling in-app purchases to be done though their own payment service rather than Android’s Google Pay. But since March, Google has been preventing apps that don’t use its payment platform from being able to issue updates. And from June 1, any apps not using Google-approved payments will be removed from the Play Store. 

As such, it looks like Amazon is getting in early to remove non-Google Pay payments from the Kindle app. But rather than surrender 30% of the Kindle app purchases, Amazon now directs users to its website in order to buy books that can then be downloaded to the Kindle app. This is the same reason why Amazon recently removed the purchase of Audible audiobooks through its Android app. 

Such moves aren’t surprising as the same happened to the Kindle app on iOS, as  Apple had inflicted ‘tax’ on companies' digital goods purchased through apps on its App Store, which also saw Amazon remove the purchase of Kindle books via its on iOS app back in 2011.

This new move by Amazon doesn't mean the Kindle app on Android becomes useless, but it does make it trickier to make quick book purchases, say downloading an ebook before a flight or long commute. Effectively, the user experience for Kindle has got a little worse, meaning you may want to consider an alternative, so check out our rundown of the best ebook apps

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.