Microsoft to Sell eBooks?

When Microsoft released a Windows 10 preview last November which included Epub support in the Edge web browser, it looked like it was just a technical test of the browser's ability's, but now MS is about to launch a matching ebookstore.

MSPowerUser reports that Microsoft is about ready to fill the one content hole in its online store.

Like Google, Amazon, and Apple, Microsoft sells apps, music, and video through its retail site, but unlike the other three MS does not sell ebooks. According to a leaked internal build of Windows 10, that is going to change soon:

We were today able to get an early look at the new e-books store in an internal build of Windows 10 Mobile, but the feature is also going to be available for PCs and tablets running Windows 10. The new e-book store will be integrated into the Windows Store as a dedicated section where users will be able to buy books from a range of different publishers and authors. Buying a book from the Windows Store works just like how you would buy an app, game or a music album — simply find a book you want to buy, and hit the Buy button to purchase it.

Once purchased, you can start reading the book on Microsoft Edge which is also getting a dedicated section for Books in Windows 10. This is where you will be able to find all the books you have purchased from the Windows Store which is pretty neat. Thanks to Microsoft Edge’s strong EPUB support, you will be able to add bookmarks into any book you are reading or easily view the table of contents. You can also customize the EPUB Viewer’s theme, change the font size and even the font family to fit your needs.

I first heard the news on PCWorld, which excited over Microsoft's potential impact on the ebook market and how it could unseat Amazon.

Me, I don't think ebooks will matter any more to Microsoft than they do to Apple or Google. All three are far too large and make far too much money in other sectors to really care about the ebook market.

Their interest is perfunctory, which is why Amazon, a retailer, continues to dominate the market.

But I do agree that MS is getting back into ebooks. Microsoft was actually one of the early pioneers in the ebook market. They partnered with Barnes & Noble to launch the Microsoft Reader format in 2000, but eventually lost interest when the early ebook market fizzled out.

Even after the Kindle ignited the ebook market, MS allowed its ebook service to languish before ultimately killing it in 2012 It was soon replaced with a second partnership with B&N Nook Media. That was a smart move for MS but ultimately came to naught when B&N's ebook division imploded in early 2013.

And now Microsoft could be making a third venture into ebooks.

Will it prove more successful than before?

In other words, would you buy an ebook from the Windows Store?

Thanks, Tom, for the tip!

About Nate Hoffelder (10617 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

10 Comments on Microsoft to Sell eBooks?

  1. No I would not get an e-book from Microsoft, that is because I have already bought a few books from Google, so I don’t want to have my books scattered in different accounts.

  2. I’d only buy an ebook from MS if I could remove the DRM and it was ePub format.

  3. As long as the book was in epub format & I had the ability to move it to the library of my choice (i.e. Calibre) with all of my other books, then I wouldn’t have a problem with buying from MS. I’m not married to any one ebook seller – if one has a book for even $1 less than another, that’s where I get the book.

  4. What Chris said. Who cares where the book comes from so long as you can untether it?

  5. How was it a smart move for MS to team up with B&N a second time after failing the first? Particularly since it quickly collapsed again. Seems like partnering with B&N was one of Microsoft’s biggest mistakes in entering the market.

    • It looked like a good idea in early 2012. That was when B&N was the #2 ebook retailer, remember?

      It wasn’t until the next January that the wheels started to come off, and even then it was still possible that the Nook division could be turned around.

      In retrospect it was a bad decision, but based on what we knew in 2012? No.

      • So what appeared to be a good idea in early 2012 had fallen apart before a year was over. So it was kind of a smart move like Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia. Or Google Glass. Or Napoleon marching to Waterloo?

  6. Any kind of increased competition for ebook stores has got to be good but I agree that flexibility in terms of where you can read it is critical.

  7. I will complement my books in kindle with this epub feature in Edge. I have a tablet, laptop, and mobile phone all touchscreen
    My devices wedded to Microsoft store is a key feature of my situaion. Looking forward to being baked into browser itself

  8. No I have about 200 Mirosoft EReader books I can not access except from an old outdated Desktop and Microsoft will not tell me how to do anything to get them back

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