Here's Why Amazon Won't Let You Buy Books on Kindle App for Android Anymore

Google wants a 15% cut of digital content purchases people make in apps sold on the Play Store. Amazon has told customers they can buy e-books on the company's website instead of through the Android app.

Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala Former Senior Writer
Laura wrote about e-commerce and Amazon, and she occasionally covered cool science topics. Previously, she broke down cybersecurity and privacy issues for CNET readers. Laura is based in Tacoma, Washington, and was into sourdough before the pandemic.
Expertise E-commerce, Amazon, earned wage access, online marketplaces, direct to consumer, unions, labor and employment, supply chain, cybersecurity, privacy, stalkerware, hacking. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie Award for a single article in consumer technology
Laura Hautala
2 min read
The Google logo is displayed above a phone with the Android logo shown on its screen.

Google cut the percentage it takes from app download charges and in-app purchase fees from 30% to 15% in January.

Getty Images

Amazon let customers know on Tuesday they can no longer rent or buy books or pay for Kindle Unlimited subscriptions using the Kindle app. In an email, the company explained people will have to pay for the digital content on a web browser and then access the books through their app's digital library. 

The change was necessary "to remain in compliance with updated Google Play Store policies," Amazon said in the email.

Screenshot of a notification that says in part, "To remain in compliance with Google's updated Play Store policies, readers will no longer be able to buy or rent Kindle books or subscribe to Kindle Unlimited through this app."

The Kindle app for Android displays this message when users click on a link saying, "Why can't I buy on the app?."


The notification went out one day before a deadline set by Google to comply with the policy. The Android maker said in 2020 that apps must use the Google Play billing system to charge for "in-app features and services," which include digital content in addition to subscription services, upgraded versions of a free app and cloud services like data storage. The company later gave app developers until June 1, 2022, to comply.

Google takes a 15% cut of transactions on its Play Store billing system. The fee was cut from 30% in January. The billing system isn't used for the sale of physical objects like groceries and clothes or for peer-to-peer payments or gambling that takes place on apps.

Google said it will remove non-compliant apps from the Play Store starting on Wednesday. Amazon implemented the change in version 8.58 of the Kindle app for Android. The app displays a notification that in-app purchases and rentals aren't available.

The company has also reportedly disabled in-app purchases on its Audible and Music apps, in addition to removing digital purchasing features on its Shopping and Prime Video apps.

iPhone users are already familiar with this arrangement for the Kindle app. Apple required e-reader makers to remove links in their iOS apps that allowed people to make purchases in 2011, even if the links redirected to a website.