Microsoft Issues Ebook Refunds

Posted on July 2, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 with 9 Comments

As it promised last week, Microsoft has begun issuing refunds to customers who purchased ebooks from its online store.

Based on my personal experience and a few emails from readers, it appears that Microsoft is issuing these refunds over time and not all at once. But if you did purchase ebooks from the company, you can expect to get one email for each ebook, including free books that come with a $0 refund.

“Hi there,” one email from Microsoft jauntily begins. “We have refunded the order you placed on Friday, January 20, 2017. You should see $10.99 credited to your account soon.”

That particular purchase—for Neal Stephenson’s In the Beginning…Was the Command Line—was made so that I could document the process of buying ebooks from the Microsoft Store and using them in the classic Microsoft Edge web browser. But I had always strongly recommended that readers not buy ebooks from Microsoft. This didn’t seem like a content type that the software giant would stick with.

History, of course, has shown that to be true. But at least Microsoft is handling a bad situation with grace. In addition to full refunds—to the original payment method or, should that fail, a credit to your Microsoft account—the firm is also giving $25 Microsoft credits that those hardy few who actually annotated ebooks with their own notes.

With Microsoft now bowing out of the music and ebooks markets, we can cast our eyes, suspiciously, at Microsoft’s Movies & TV service and wonder when it will back away from that market too. After all, both Groove and Edge-based ebooks were at least cross-platform, as they worked on both Android and iOS. But Moves & TV is stuck in Microsoft’s more limited ecosystem. That makes the possibility of a full retreat even more likely.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Microsoft Issues Ebook Refunds”

  1. gregsedwards

    The good news: Microsoft is starting to issue refunds for eBooks.

    The bad news: You're going to get an email like the one above for every single eBook you purchased. Even the free ones.

    Also, while it is true that the Movies & TV app is Windows-only, it's not quite true that you cannot access your content on other platforms, thanks to their on-going relationship with Movies Anywhere. I just bought Spider-Man: Homecoming in the Microsoft Store yesterday (and scored a free ticket to SM: FFH in the process!) and I can go access it on Apple, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video...heck, I can even watch it through the FandangoNOW app if I want to (although I can't imagine who does that). So, it's hardly a one-way, dead-end street.

    • starkover

      In reply to gregsedwards:

      Actually Fandango Now is really good on Roku, especially if your in to 4K. I have even purchased some movies from them, sometimes for less.

      • gregsedwards

        In reply to starkover:

        I do enjoy finding better deals on select movies on one service vs. another. I love that this kind of multi-vendor content marketplace exists, and I'm pleased to see Microsoft participating in it for a change. If only something similar could be created for music, books, and software...

  2. Jogy

    It may be a dumb question, but … if I have bought a fiction book from Microsoft store, then the author or copyright holder of the book has received royalties, right? And now that MS is refunding me, they won't take that royalties back? So, if I decide that I still want the book and buy it from another book store like Amazon, then the author will have received double royalties at Microsoft's expense, right?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Jogy:

      If you buy the same e-book again, after MSFT refunded you the original price you paid, then MSFT would have paid for it once and you would have paid for it once on a net basis. IOW, but you and MSFT would each have paid for it, though MSFT would have paid wholesale while you paid retail.

  3. hrlngrv

    When MSFT ceases offering media and print content in the MSFT Store, how viable would the Store be only selling software to the relatively few who want to rely on the store for a fraction of available Windows software?

  4. faustxd9

    I do hope MS actually builds a Android version of Movies & TV. Overall they have good sales and if they offer me a refund if they close it down, then I am good for now.

  5. saint4eva

    Well done Microsoft.