Microsoft revealed today on a new support page that it is closing the books category in Microsoft Store effective immediately.
Microsoft Store customers cannot buy new ebooks anymore from today on, the category is no longer listed in the Store.
Customers who have bought ebooks in the Microsoft Store will lose access to these books starting July 2019. Microsoft will give customers a full refund for any purchased books provided that the original payment method is still valid. Customer whose payment method is no longer valid and customers who paid using gift cards or Store credit receive Microsoft Store credit instead.
Commercial and free ebooks will be removed starting July 2019. Customers can read the books and access notes until July 2019. Customers who added notes to books will receive an extra $25 credit to their Microsoft Account.
Microsoft made Microsoft Edge the default ebook reader on Windows 10 when it launched the Creators Update back in 2017. Books in Microsoft Edge will be removed at the same time.
Microsoft did not roll out the book category of the Microsoft Store to regions outside the United States which suggests that the closure affects a limited number of users.
Microsoft customers who purchased books or downloaded free books have until July 2019 to read them. Notes will be lost when Microsoft removes access and the company has not revealed any plans to offer export options.
The discontinuation demonstrates something (again) that I have been preaching for years: online purchases may be convenient but you may lose access to digital products at any time. It is not only small companies that put your purchases at risk. If one of the world’s most successful companies cannot make it, it could be any company that does so.
Microsoft refunding purchases is the only right way to deal with the closure. While that won’t help customers who invested time and money in the Store much, it is better than just closing it down without proper compensation.
For Microsoft, it is the second Store consumer service that it is shutting down. Customers who use the Store to purchase digital games, apps, or media may wonder whether it is such a good idea to make purchases in the Store.
Microsoft seems to be giving up on many consumer products, Windows Phone is another example, and one has to wonder how things will look in a year or two from now.
It makes sense, to a degree at least, to drop services and products that are not lucrative but customers who used these products will feel burned, even if they receive compensation.
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