Audible is changing their app experience on the Android platform. They are switching to Google Play Billing, and this will affect single titles, you will no longer be able to buy them. This will take effect on April 1st, 2022. The company will release a new version of Audible for Android and starting with the Audible for Google Play Android app version 3.23, purchasing titles with a debit or credit card in the app is no longer supported, whether you’re a member or not. In addition, any new Audible memberships started in the app as of Friday will be billed through Google Play, not Audible directly. You will still be able to use Audible credits to buy books in the app, and you’ll also be able to buy more credits in the app.
Audible is basically removing the ability to buy singular titles in the app. This is due to a Google Policy change for developers. They are now charging 30% of each digital good for larger companies who make more then $1 million dollars per year. It does not make financial sense to sell audiobooks directly, since the margins are not very high. The reason why Audible is continuing to offer credits, is because you have to subscribe for this level of access and Google lowered their monthly subscription tier down to 15% per transaction. So it really makes sense for Audible to sell credits as part of a subscription and then these credits can be used within the app to “buy” an audiobook and listen to it.
One of the big draws on the Audible platform is their sales. They often have deeply discounted titles two-for-one promotions. Premium Plus members can still participate in sales by logging on to Audible.com from a mobile or desktop browser. However, sale purchasing is no longer supported in the Audible for Android app on the Google Play Store. Audible told Good e-Reader that customers can simply download the Audible App on the Amazon App Store or for the Samsung Galaxy App Store and have full access to buy single audiobook titles and pay using a debit or credit card.
Obviously regular Audible users are going to be disgruntled about all of the new changes to Android. This OS was the last bastion of hope, after all of the audiobook and ebook companies disabled in-app purchasing on Apple devices over a decade ago. If you want to look at all of the new changes, Audible launched Support page, that answers most questions about the new changes. If you are a regular user, you should check it out.
Incase you are wondering, this is not a purely Audible thing. Many audiobook and ebook companies are also changing their Android apps. Yesterday, Barnes and Noble announced they are disabling in-app purchases for all audiobooks and ebooks on April 2nd. You will no longer to be able to buy anything and it will basically turn into a consumption app. You have to visit their website now and buy everything there and then sync your purchases in the Android app. Like Audible, there are now many hoops you have to jump through just to buy something.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.