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Comixology eliminates in-app purchase function on Android

The move comes as Google clamps down on in-app purchases

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Digital readers are about to get another kick in the teeth as Amazon will remove the ability to purchase their comics on the Comixology Android app. Users will now have to purchase their comics via the Amazon Comixology website.

In an email today users were told,

“To remain in compliance with updated Google Play Store policies, the option to buy comics, graphic novels, or manga or subscribe to Kindle Unlimited will no longer be available in the Comixology app for Android with the release of app version 4.0.1. You can continue to read books in your library, read samples, and browse within the app but will need to visit the website – amazon.co.uk/comixology – on your preferred web browser to buy new content or to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.

3 ways to get comics to read in the Comixology app for Android

1. Visit amazon.com/comixology to buy titles to read in the app.
2. Add titles to your list (tap the heart icon), and buy on amazon.com/wishlist later.
3. Access over 20,000 comics, graphic novels, and manga in the app with Kindle Unlimited (amazon.com/ku).

Thanks

The Comixology team

This move isn’t an unfamiliar one for iOS users, who very quickly lost in-app purchases shortly after the Amazon acquisition in 2014.

The reason for this move is similar to the 2014 one on Apple iOS – Amazon doesn’t want to give a 10-30% cut of each purchase to Google, who runs the Google Play Store and the store’s payment system.

Recently Google has started clamping down on loopholes that enable larger companies to use the Play Store ecosystem without paying fees for in-app purchases. This has led to Amazon removing in-app purchase options in their other apps, like Amazon Music, Kindle and Audible – and now the same is happening to Comixology. Apparently even Barnes and Noble have done similar, and Epic Games – who took Apple to court, lost, and are still appealing – are also taking Google to court.

As Ars Technica summarises,

“Starting on June 1, Google will require all Play Store apps to use Google Play billing for digital purchases or face removal from the marketplace. Google Play billing technically has been in the rules for a while, but Google is ending a hands-off enforcement policy that effectively allowed companies to run their own billing systems.

“…Google Play billing takes a percentage of in-app purchases (usually 30 percent, though media can be as low as 10 percent), and several big companies have responded to the rule change by removing purchases from their Android apps…

“Companies not using Google Play for in-app purchases have technically been blocked from issuing app updates since March 31, and on June 1, apps using non-approved billing will be removed from the Play Store.”

Whatever the reason, long-time Comixology users will likely continue to feel aggrieved as February’s version 4.x update on iOS and Android threw the original Comixology reader out the window and shunted users onto the Kindle codebase, while simultaneously absorbing the Comixology website into the monolithic Amazon store – rendering the reading and shopping experience an inferior proposition for many.

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