Google Play has changed their app developer terms in early 2022. They currently charge 15% for the first million dollars in revenue and this jumps up to 30%, once the threshold has been met. This means that selling digital content such as audiobooks and ebooks are not financially viable, since they have low profit margins. This is primarily due to companies like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo acting as agents from the publishing house, who determine the prices. Barnes and Noble has announced that they will be disabling in-app purchases within the Nook app for Android on April 2nd, 2022. This means, that users will no longer be able to buy books through the app.
Barnes and Noble will release a new version of their app, which will enable Consumption Only mode. Customers will enjoy the same curated bookstore they’re used to, but they will no longer be able to make purchases in-app. They can add titles to their Wishlist, and the app will advise them to complete their purchase on BN.com or a NOOK reader. As always, a customer’s library of digital content syncs between devices and is “consumable” on any NOOK platform. Any prior purchases made from the app will continue to be available in the library.
Barnes and Noble is facing the same situation on Android as they do on iOS. Close to ten years ago, Apple changed their policy, so all apps had to use their own billing system and overnight, all of the major ebook companies disabled the ability to buy ebooks and simply treated them as an e-reading app. In terms of buying digital content via Google Play, Barnes and Noble is simply the first company to disable in-app purchases.
The bookseller will also disable purchases on their complete line of tablets. Such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab for Nook, Nook HD and the Nook by Lenovo. Basically, any Android device sold by the company will no longer be able to purchase digital content through the Nook app.
Rakuten is a Japanese company, who also own Kobo. On the Rakuten Kobo website in Japan, they have announced they have disabled in-app transactions on March 28th, 2022. This only affects the Japanese app, Kobo will continue to support in-app transactions globally for the foreseeable future.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.