You can no longer buy audiobooks on Audible for Android
Audible is changing its app experience on the Android platform. They’re moving to Google Play Billing, and it will affect single members, buying credits, or signing up for a subscription. This will take effect on April 1, 2022. The company will release a new version of Audible for Android and starting with version 3.23 of the Audible app for Google Play Android, purchasing titles with a debit or credit card in the application is no longer supported, whether you are a member or not. Additionally, any new Audible subscriptions started in the app from Friday will be billed through Google Play, not Audible directly. You will still be able to use Audible Credits to purchase books in the app, and you will also be able to purchase more Credits in the app.
Audible essentially removes the ability to purchase singular titles within the app. This is due to a Google developer policy change. They now charge 30% of each digital asset to large companies that earn over $1 million a year. Selling audiobooks directly doesn’t make financial sense, as the margins aren’t very high. The reason Audible continues to offer credits is because you need to subscribe for this level of access and Google has lowered their monthly subscription level to 15% per transaction. So it really makes sense that Audible sells credits as part of a subscription, and then those credits can be used within the app to “buy” an audiobook and listen to it.
One of the big draws of the Audible platform is their sales. They often have two-for-one promotions on deeply discounted titles. Premium Plus members can still participate in sales by logging into Audible.com from a mobile or desktop browser. However, buying sales is no longer supported in the Audible app for Android.
Obviously, regular Audible users will be unhappy with all the new changes to Android. This operating system was the last bastion of hope, after all audiobook and e-book companies disabled in-app purchases on Apple devices more than a decade ago. If you want to check out all the new changes, Audible has launched the support page, which answers most questions about the new changes. If you are a regular user, you should check it out.
In case you’re wondering, it’s not a purely audible thing. Many audiobook and e-book companies are also modifying their Android apps. Yesterday, Barnes and Noble announced that they will be disabling in-app purchases for all audiobooks and ebooks on April 2. You won’t be able to buy anything anymore and it will basically turn into a consumer app. You need to visit their website now and buy everything there, then sync your purchases in the Android app. Like Audible, there are now many hurdles you have to jump through just to buy something.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.