The Sad State of eBooks on Windows Smartphones
One area where Windows 10 Mobile really falls flat, however, is in support for the various ebook ecosystems. This might not be quite so important to some people, but I’m an avid ebook reader. I’ve been a fan of science fiction and epic fantasy since I was a kid, and have accumulated literally hundreds of novels in those two genres alone. I’m a writer, and so of course reading is a natural — and vital — extension of my profession. Finally, I’m a science and philosophy geek, and have purchased some important tomes over the years. Taken together, and given that I read a number of ebooks concurrently, these attributes add up to making ebook support as important to me as just about anything else I can do with a smartphone.
Furthermore, for a variety of reasons, I possess hundreds of ebooks scattered across each of the major ebook platforms. I have ebooks on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google Play, Kobo Books, and Apple iBooks. While each of those platforms has excellent clients for iOS and Android (with the exception of Apple, which of course is iOS-only), Amazon and Kobo are the only platforms with clients for Windows phones. And, to add insult to injury, those clients are atrocious.
Coppock goes on to detail just how the Kobo and Kindle apps for Windows phones come up short when compared to their iOS and Android equivalents (no annotation in the Kindle app? Seriously ?!?).
His post is a must-read for anyone foolish enough to be thinking of using a Windows smartphone as an e-reading device; if this doesn’t change your mind, nothing will.
This post very likely also marks the high tide for ebook support on Windows smartphones. With Google and Apple having absolutely no interest in the platform, and B&N and Comixology each having given up on native Windows apps entirely, the support from the major platforms for Windows smartphones just isn’t going to get any better.
In fact, I would expect it to get worse.
To name one example, Kobo’s app for Windows smartphones is in a perilous state. The company is being run by a turnaround specialist who operates under a mandate to cut costs, and that means the app only has to end up on the wrong end of a single cost-benefit analysis before it gets cut (see Kobo’s tablets for an earlier example).
Microsoft’s mobile OS may claim several percent of the total number of smartphones in use, but that is still a distant third place to Android and iOS. And as we can see from Kobo and Amazon’s lackluster support, they don’t think it’s worth their time and money to adequately support the platform.
And there’s no sign that is going to change.
image by bfishadow