How to purchase digital content in Amazon apps on Android – Android Police
Amazon has removed payment functions in its Android apps, but there are ways to work around that
You used to be able to purchase digital content within Amazon apps until May 2022. It was possible to get the best movies, ebooks, music, and audiobooks without jumping through extra hoops on your favorite Android phone. You can still use the Amazon Shopping app to buy physical goods, but when you want digital content, you need to go a different route. We explain how you do this and show you how to bring back in-app purchases to Amazon apps.
Amazon's Android apps are available through the Google Play Store, which is subject to certain rules. Among them is a policy that forces developers to use Google's payment methods only, at least if they want to sell in-app subscriptions or other digital goods. For a long time, Google hadn't enforced this rule for digital goods, particularly to the benefit of big companies like Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and more.
The search behemoth is cracking down on the practice, though. From June 2022, all developers are prohibited from selling digital content using their own payment methods when they want to distribute their apps through the Play Store without any exceptions.
Amazon could have opted to switch over to the Play Store for payments. However, Google's payment processing comes with an extra fee that can be up to 30% of the cost of a purchase for Amazon. Rather than share its revenue with Google (and potentially raise prices for customers), Amazon opted to stop using its apps to sell digital goods altogether.
So, you can't buy ebooks or digital MP3 music from the Amazon Shopping app anymore, but the implications are reaching further. Amazon also removed its digital stores from Kindle, Prime Video, Audible, and Amazon Music on Android, essentially demoting them to content consumption apps only.
Due to the open nature of Android, nobody can stop you from installing another app store other than the Play Store on your phone, and this is something that Amazon leverages. It offers its own Amazon App Store as an alternative to the Play Store, and in it, it distributes versions of its apps that come with the full store functionality. Here's how to get started with it:
While it's handy to get Amazon's digital stores back in its Android apps, this solution comes at the expense of a bit of your battery life. The Amazon App Store essentially offers the same functionality as the Play Store, so it constantly runs in the background on the lookout for app updates. To keep your Amazon apps up to date, keep the Amazon App Store installed.
There is also the caveat that the Amazon Shopping app isn't available through the Amazon App Store. This means there is no way back for the Shopping app, which you can only get from the Play Store. You will have to do without purchasing digital goods through it. At least you can still use it for getting regular physical purchases like you always could.
If you prefer not to install the Amazon App Store, you will need to use the browser on your Android phone to purchase digital products from the shopping giant. To do that, visit amazon.com, log in to your account, and look for the content you're interested in using the on-site search. Once you've acquired your ebook, audiobook, music clip, or film from the website, head to the respective Amazon app to enjoy your new purchase. It will automatically show up there after a short moment.
If you'd like a direct link to the various dedicated Amazon stores, here's what you need to visit:
Amazon Music is available at amazon.com/music, but you won't find the dedicated MP3 store. Instead, it's just a landing page for the Amazon Music subscription.
If you rarely purchase books, audiobooks, or films and movies because you have a subscription to the relevant platform, not too much will have changed for you. TV shows and movies available to you via your Amazon Prime subscription are still visible and accessible in the Prime Video app. The same goes for Kindle Unlimited, the Audible subscription, and the Amazon Music service.
The Prime Video app from the Play Store has become better now that purchase options have been removed from it. When searching for things to watch using the search function in the app, you won't come across paid content anymore. Everything you see in the Play Store version of the app is content included with the Amazon Prime subscription.
While you may not love that you have to dig deeper to purchase content, it's easy enough to work around the limitation of the Play Store versions of the Amazon apps by just getting the Amazon App Store. And let's face it. The removal of the store functionality might be good for your wallet, as you might be more likely to finish the books and films you've purchased and that are available in the app rather than going out of the way to buy new content in your browser.
Manuel Vonau joined Android Police as a freelancer in 2019 and has worked his way up to become the publication’s Google Editor. He focuses on Android, Chrome, and other software Google products — the core of Android Police’s coverage. He is based in Berlin, Germany. Before joining Android Police, Manuel studied Media and Culture studies in Düsseldorf, finishing his university “career” with a master’s degree. This background gives him a unique perspective on the ever-evolving world of technology and its implications on society. He isn’t shy to dig into technical backgrounds and the nitty-gritty developer details, either. His first steps into the Android world were plagued by issues. After running into connectivity problems with the HTC One S, he quickly switched to a Nexus 4, which he considers his true first Android phone. Since then, he has mostly been faithful to the Google phone lineup, though these days, he is also carrying an iPhone in addition to his Pixel 6. This helps him gain perspective on the mobile industry at large and gives him multiple points of reference in his coverage. Outside of work, Manuel enjoys a good film or TV show, loves to travel, and you will find him roaming one of Berlin’s many museums, cafés, cinemas, and restaurants occasionally.