Microsoft is putting an end to books in its digital store, even ones you bought

Microsoft Store
Image Credit: Techradar (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Microsoft Store has plenty of digital products to purchase and download, from apps and software, video games and gaming consoles – and even digital books. That is, until today, as Microsoft is closing the books category in the Store as of April 2, 2019, according to the store FAQ.

The FAQ notes that new book purchases, rentals and pre-orders will no longer be possible from now on. While that makes sense for a store section that's closing, what may surprise customers is what's happening to books they've already purchased.

Rental books will remain available until the rental period expires. Pre-orders for books will be canceled and refunded. Purchased books and free books that users have downloaded will remain available to read until an undetermined date in early July, at which point they will no longer be available.

A license isn't ownership

Customers that are losing books they've paid for will receive a full refund for the titles, with the refund going to the original payment method. After the refunds are processed, customers will no longer be able to access those books or any annotations they've made. As an extra concession, Microsoft is offering a $25 Microsoft Store credit to users who've made mark-ups or annotations in their books prior to April 2.

This move on the part of Microsoft once again highlights the difference between owning a physical product and the ephemeral 'possession' of digital items. As we've noted before, you don't actually own your digital game collections or similar digital products that rely on an online store to provide ongoing access to them.

On the plus side, customers in this case will at least get refunds.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.