Amazon removed payment options for digital content from its apps on Android in May 2022, forcing customers to find other ways to purchase e-books, music, movies and TV shows. While it’s still possible to use the Amazon Shopping app to buy physical items like you always have, you can no longer use any of the company’s apps from the Google Play Store to get digital goods. Luckily, there are ways around this, and there’s even an option to bring this functionality back into the apps.
Why Amazon has removed payment options for digital goods from its Android apps
Amazon’s Android apps are available through the Google Play Store, which is subject to a number of rules. Among them is a policy that forces developers who distribute their apps on the Play Store to only use Google’s payment methods, 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, especially in favor of big companies like Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and more. Now, however, the search giant is taking action against the practice. As of June 1, 2022, all developers, without exception, will be banned from selling digital content using their own payment methods if they wish to distribute their apps through the Play Store.
Amazon could have opted to switch to Google’s payment methods, but the company’s payment processing comes with an additional fee that can add up to 30% of the purchase cost. Instead of sharing its revenue with Google (and potentially increasing prices for customers), Amazon has opted to stop using its apps to sell digital goods. That means you can no longer buy e-books or digital MP3 music through the Amazon Shopping app, but the impact goes further. Amazon also removed its Kindle, Prime Video, Audible, and Amazon Music digital stores on Android, essentially demoting them to content consumption apps.
How to bring back the option to buy digital content for Amazon apps on Android
Because of Android’s openness, nobody can stop you from installing another app store on your phone alongside the Play Store, and that’s something Amazon takes advantage of. As an alternative to the Play Store, it offers its own Amazon App Store and sells versions of its apps in it that still have full store functionality. Here’s how to get started:
- Uninstall the Amazon apps you currently have installed on your phone such as Kindle, Audible, Amazon Shopping, Prime Video and Amazon Music. Your library is backed up in the cloud, so don’t worry about losing your purchases.
- Download the Amazon App Store from its website.
- If your browser warns you that the file might be malicious, select Download anyway.
- Open the file in your notification window.
- A message may appear stating that your browser is not allowed to install apps from unknown sources. Tap the settings option and activate Allow app installs from the next screen.
- You can then hit them To install button and then Open as soon as it’s done.
- Sign in with your Amazon account using the Already an Amazon customer? log in Button.
- Use the search box at the top of the app to find the Amazon apps you want to use and reinstall them.
- A prompt will appear asking you to allow Amazon to install apps on your phone. Follow the instructions to start installing the first app.
While it’s convenient to bring Amazon’s digital stores back into its Android apps, you have to keep in mind that this solution may only be consuming a chunk of your precious battery life. The Amazon App Store offers essentially the same functionality as the Play Store, so it also runs constantly in the background looking for app updates. To keep your Amazon apps up to date, you must keep the Amazon App Store installed.
There is also the limitation that the Amazon Shopping app is not available through the Amazon App Store. For the shopping app, which is only available in the Play Store, there is no way back – you have to forego the purchase of digital goods. At least you can still use it for regular physical purchases like you always could.
How to use your browser to buy digital content from Amazon
If you don’t want to install the Amazon App Store, you’ll need to use the browser on your Android phone to buy digital products from the shopping giant. Simply visit amazon.com, log into your account, and use on-site search to find content that interests you. Once you’ve purchased your e-book, audiobook, music clip, or movie from the website, go to the relevant Amazon app to enjoy your new purchase. It will be displayed there automatically after a short moment.
If you want a direct link to the various dedicated Amazon stores, you need to visit:
Amazon Music is available at amazon.com/music, but you won’t find the dedicated MP3 store here; Instead, it’s just a landing page for the Amazon Music subscription.
How to access content that is available to you as part of a subscription
If you rarely buy books, audiobooks or films because you have a subscription to the relevant platform, then not too much should have changed for you. TV shows and films available to you through your Amazon Prime subscription will continue to be viewable and accessible directly in the Prime Video app. The same applies to Kindle Unlimited, the Audible subscription and the Amazon Music service.
In fact, the Prime Video app from the Play Store has arguably gotten better now that purchase options have been removed from it. If you’re looking for things to watch using the search function in the app, you won’t come across paid content anymore – everything you see on the Play Store version of the app is content that comes with the Amazon Prime subscription are included.
While you might not like the fact that you have to dig deeper to purchase content, it’s easy enough to bypass the Play Store version limitation of Amazon apps by simply downloading the Amazon App Store. And let’s be honest – removing the store functionality might actually be good for your wallet, as you can finish the books and movies you’ve already purchased and available in the app rather than bothering to buy new content in your browser .