Starting next week, users of the Barnes & Noble Android app will no longer be able to purchase eBooks within the app, and this appears to be due to a Google Play policy deadline that has been more than a year year and a half in preparation. And it’s not just Barnes & Noble that’s affected; you also can’t buy Amazon’s Audible titles with a debit or credit card in the latest version of its Android app.
The changes appear to stem from Google’s insistence that apps use Google Play’s billing systems. Developers have long criticized Apple and Google for requiring the use of their own billing systems, largely because of the so-called “app store tax” on many transactions.
Google updated its policies in September 2020 to clarify which types of in-app transactions required the use of the Google Play billing system, but Barnes & Noble and Audible are only now making changes — and at the last minute. , too. Google initially gave a deadline of September 30, 2021 and then offered a six-month extension until March 31, 2022 — which, as of this writing, was yesterday. Audible and Barnes & Noble both pointed to Google’s policies as the reason for the changes, with Audible even linking us to this September 2020 post.
Google spokesperson Dan Jackson also asked us for this page, “Understanding Google Play’s Payments Policy,” to explain Audible’s and B&N’s moves. It clarifies that “apps using another in-app billing system will need to remove it in order to comply with the payment policy.”
How can this affect users? Specifically, Barnes & Noble states that “effective April 4, 2022, with the release of NOOK software version 6.1, the ability to purchase has been removed from the Barnes & Noble Nook app for Android and the Nook HD. 10” Designed with Lenovo. on a page of its website. The company got a little more candid in an email sent to a Aisle Friday: “You will no longer be able to purchase digital content in the B&N NOOK Android app. »
With Amazon’s Audible, you can no longer purchase titles with a debit or credit card in-app starting Friday, according to a support page. Additionally, all new Audible subscriptions started in the app from Friday will be charged through Google Play, not Audible directly. You will still be able to use Audible Credits to purchase books in the app, and you will also be able to purchase more Credits in the app.
You might be wondering why Google is enforcing this just a week after announcing a potentially major policy change: a pilot program that will allow developers to use their own billing systems. We wondered about that too, but Jackson pointed out that pilot participants will have to offer Google’s billing system. before they can include their own.
Currently, Spotify is the only company named in a pool of “a small number of participating developers”. Audible spokesperson Kamian Allen said the company had nothing to share about being part of the program, and Barnes & Noble did not respond to our question.