Microsoft ebooks are coming to an end. If you bought ebooks through Microsoft’s online store, you’re losing (or have already lost) your library.
The service was first launched back in 2017 and relied on the use of a web browser rather than a dedicated app. Sadly, it failed to build a significant audience. Therefore, in April, Microsoft warned customers about this after giving up any ambitions of making its Surface computers a popular choice on which to read novels and textbooks.
Microsoft ebooks couldn’t dethrone Amazon’s Kindle
You may not know this, but Microsoft predates Amazon in this industry by a whopping seven years.
The MSReader format was launched in 2000. It was part of an alliance with the retailer Barnes and Noble. But along with rival efforts by Palm and the French firm Mobipocket, there was little interest.
Undeterred, it tried to get back into the market again in 2012 as part of a second tie-up with B&N. However, that also struggled, and the partnership came to an end in 2014.
You may not be aware Microsoft made a third run at the industry. However, experts say the cut-off serves as a reminder that you do not own a copy of most digital purchases outright. Instead, you have purchased a licence that can expire.
“The fact is that you don’t own e-books when you buy them with DRM [digital rights management] from Amazon or anywhere else,” commented Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.
“Technical controls through DRM are said to reduce unauthorised copying, but what they are really for is putting Amazon or Microsoft in charge of the e-book ecosystem.” An organisation called Defective by Design, however, maintains a list of ways to buy or otherwise legally download content that is not bound by such restrictions.
What does this mean for Microsoft customers?
What does it mean for all those titles you bought through Microsoft? Well, any purchases or titles offered for free will no longer be available. However, out-of-pocket users are offered refunds, including a $25 (£20) credit if they made highlights or notes, which will also be lost.
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