Starting next week, Barnes & Noble’s Android client will no longer be available for consumers to purchase digital books. This may be due to a policy change on Google Play. As a result, consumers will also not be able to purchase Amazon’s Audible audiobooks with debit or credit cards.
The Verge reports that the problem lies in Google’s insistence that apps go through the Google Play billing channel. Developers have long been unhappy with the high rake of Apple/Google. It is reported that in September 2020, Google updated its policy to clarify which types of in-app purchase transactions must go through the Google Play billing channel.
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But after about a year and a half of delays, Barnes & Noble and Audible were forced to hit the deadline to make the change. In July last year, Google allowed developers to apply for a longer grace period.
Both companies blamed Google’s policy changes for the service downtime, and Audible even provided a direct link to that September 2020 post. On the other hand, Google spokesman Dan Jackson wanted everyone to “understand Google Play’s payment policy” to explain Audibly and B&N’s latest move (ie, excluding third-party in-app billing systems to comply with the new policy).
For end-users, Barnes & Noble clearly stated on the official website that after the release of version 6.1 of the NOOK software on April 4, 2022, the Android client will drop the in-app purchase function. And in an email to The Verge on Friday, B&N was even blunter about mentioning that you won’t be able to buy digital content in B&N NOOK’s Android app.
As for Audible, Amazon also wrote on the support page: “On Friday, you will no longer be able to make purchases with debit/credit cards in the app”. After that, any new Audible memberships purchased through the Android app will be paid through the Google Play channel, not Audible Direct. However, consumers can still use Audible Points to buy books and earn more points in the Android client.