Users of Barnes & Noble’s Android app will no longer be able to make purchases of digital books via the app. This will be due to the Google Play policy deadline that has been around for more than a year and a half. It’s not only Barnes & Noble that is affected; users will also no longer be able to buy Amazon’s Audible titles using a debit or credit card in the latest version of its Android app.
The changes would thrive as a result of Google Play policy which insists that apps make use of Google Play’s billing systems. Although Developers have agitated or criticized why Apple and Google would insist on the use of their own billing systems, especially because of the so-called “app store tax” on many transactions.
In September 2020 Google made an update to its policies, in this update Google made it clear which types of in-app transactions required the use of its billing system, but Barnes & Noble and Audible are only just now making changes — and at the last minute, too. Google originally gave a deadline of September 30th, 2021, a six-month extension was again then offered to bring the date to March 31st, 2022. At the time of writing this, the date was a while ago. Audible and Barnes & Noble have both pointed to Google’s updated policies as the reason users will be experiencing these changes.
Dan Jackson a Google spokesperson has directed users to this page, “Understanding Google Play’s Payments policy,” to explain Audible and B&N’s moves. Words from the page simply state that “apps using an alternative in-app billing system will need to remove it in order to comply with the Payments policy.”
Barnes & Noble has also made a statement as it regrets the changes its users will start to experience. Barnes & Noble says that “as of 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 on its website. “You will no longer be able to make purchases of digital content in the B&N NOOK Android app.”
Barnes & Noble has further explained that it was “not given the option of participating in an alternative billing program” and has later found out “it was unable to integrate with Google billing.” Although not ideal, Barnes & Noble notes that the policy affects only its Android app, users can proceed to make still purchases directly from its website, which will then be synced to the app. To make up for the inconvenience imposed on its highly esteemed customers, the company has announced a number of ebook discounts and promotions planned for the next 60 days.
According to Amazon’s Audible, users can no longer purchase titles either with a debit or credit card in the app, In addition, any new Audible memberships started in the app as of Friday will be billed through Google Play, not Audible directly. Users can still be able to use Audible credits to buy books in the app and even buy more credits in the app. The company has made it clear that credit redemption is still available as “it has integrated the core features you love and expect.” The company further states that “You can still sign up in the app. And we know that credit redemption is a primary way that customers use Audible, so you can still purchase credits and redeem them for audio titles.”
Although it’s still unclear why Google is enforcing that developers make use of the Google billing systems rather than include their own however Google’s spokesperson pointed out that participants in the pilot will first need to offer Google’s billing system before they can include their own. Currently, Spotify is the only named company 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.