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Amazon expands in-app purchases to include physical items from its online store

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Amazon logo stock

Amazon has introduced what it's calling the Mobile Associates API, a new tool that will enable developers to sell physical items in apps destined for Kindle hardware and the Amazon Appstore. Naturally those products are sourced from, and developers can earn up to six percent in advertising fees on in-app customer purchases. Since it's Amazon we're talking about, 1-Click purchases and speedy Amazon Prime shipping are also part of the deal in places where those perks are available. But digital items such as ebooks can also be sold this way.

App makers can choose to sell just a single item from within their software, but can also showcase an entire category of goods. There's even the option of bundling digital goods with the purchase of their physical counterpart. The example Amazon uses here would see a customer receive a digital version of a board game after they've bought the physical one. The retailer is pushing the new tool as a way for developers to deliver "a more relevant" experience to consumers, and some apps are jumping out early in support of the Mobile Associates API. A game called Thor: Lord of Storms is selling physical Thor action figures and accessories, for example. It's an inventive way for developers to earn some fresh revenue on Amazon's platform, though it's easy to see how some may go overboard. And for the financial sake of parents everywhere, we hope it's kid-proof.