Many audiobook and e-book companies disable in-app purchases on Android. This is mainly due to a new Google policy that just went into effect for anyone who earns more than $1 million a year. They increased the commission rate to 30% for each audiobook or ebook sold through the app and everyone is now using the new Google Play billing API. Audible, Barnes and Noble will no longer support shopping for the next few days and just tell their customers to go buy things from their website. What’s going on with Kobo? They are the world’s number two seller of e-readers, books and audiobooks?
Kobo told Good e-Reader in an exclusive statement “In the near future, and in accordance with the new Google Play Android app policies, Rakuten Kobo will transition to the Google Play fulfillment platform for in-app purchases of eBooks and , if applicable , audiobooks. When this happens, customers may notice some temporary changes to the reading experience as we fully integrate with the Google Play payment platform and will work quickly to update and reintroduce features. reader apps such as the ability to purchase a Kobo Plus subscription and pre-orders.The company has made it clear that there will be some issues with the move to an all-new billing system, but it will continue to support in-app purchases.
It’s a smart move for Kobo, as many of its competitors will no longer be selling content. This will allow them to get millions of new customers who will be loyal to the brand and maybe even buy them a new e-reader. Kobo not only sells books, manga, comics, audiobooks, and other media, but they also have their Kobo Plus subscription platform, where you pay a monthly fee and get access to hundreds of thousands additional content.
Will Amazon Kindle follow suit? They have two main Android apps. One is for Amazon Fire tablets, which don’t use the Google Play Framework, but instead use the Amazon API. Anyone with a Fire tablet or Fire TV will still be able to transact within the app, but what about the Amazon Kindle app listed on the Google Play Store? Will they also disable in-app transactions, instead of paying 30% on everything sold? If history has taught us anything, when Apple changed its policies so that all in-app transactions were done through its own billing program and then charged 30% on everything sold, Amazon disabled all transactions and turned it into a dedicated reading app.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.