Microsoft is Killing EPUB Support in Edge Classic

We already knew that the new, Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge won’t support the EPUB document format. But Microsoft is also killing support for this format in Edge classic.

“Download an .epub app to keep reading,” a notification in Edge classic reads when you load an EPUB document. “Microsoft Edge will no longer be supporting [sic] e-books that use the .epub file extension. Visit the Microsoft Store to see our recommended .epub apps.”

Aside from the contorted grammar and word usage in the notification—it’s “support” not “be supporting,” Microsoft—the linked webpage is a “Reading room” area on the Microsoft Store that includes audiobook apps in addition to e-book apps. So good luck with that.

Microsoft provides a more grammatically correct explanation for the change on its Microsoft Edge support site, which notes that “Microsoft Edge will no longer support e-books that use the .epub file extension.” The site also links to the same terrible Microsoft Store area, but adds that “you can expect to see more added over time as we partner with companies like the DAISY Consortium to add additional, accessible apps … These apps are expected to be available in the Microsoft Store after September 2019.”

Given that, it’s likely that EPUB support will disappear in Edge classic sometime after those apps appear in the Store.

As you may recall, Microsoft killed support for e-books in Microsoft Edge (classic) and the Microsoft Store in April, and it started issuing refunds to customers who actually purchased e-books in July. That e-book functionality was based on a protected version of the EPUB document type. But it’s still unclear why Microsoft is killing EPUB in Edge: As is the case with PDF files, Edge is/was a great EPUB reader.

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Conversation 17 comments

  • mrlinux11

    29 August, 2019 - 9:26 am

    <p>Microsoft wasting resources again. Why remove features from a product that is going to be discontinued ?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      29 August, 2019 - 9:39 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#452713">In reply to mrlinux11:</a></em></blockquote><p>I assume because they'd have to support it for several years otherwise.</p>

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        29 August, 2019 - 9:51 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#452714">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree. ePub is probably a little used feature that will need support in the future, it isn't core to what a browser should do and it is another area for security vulnerabilities to creep in, meaning more work to keep it safe.</p><p>If there are other, free alternatives, why not hand it over to someone who cares?</p>

    • dontbeevil

      29 August, 2019 - 10:09 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#452713">In reply to mrlinux11:</a></em></blockquote><p>could be some license/third party stuff?</p>

      • simont

        Premium Member
        29 August, 2019 - 10:18 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#452724">In reply to dontbeevil:</a></em></blockquote><p>epub is an open format. No licensing required.</p>

        • dontbeevil

          29 August, 2019 - 4:22 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#452726">In reply to simont:</a></em></blockquote><p>I know, I was referring to the code/libraries used in edge to read epubs</p>

          • dontbeevil

            30 August, 2019 - 3:01 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#452811">In reply to dontbeevil:</a></em></blockquote><p>any specific reasons for the downvotes? or just because you have nothing better to do/say?</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    29 August, 2019 - 9:41 am

    <p><em>it’s “support” not “be supporting,”</em></p><p>Interesting, when I was at school, I learnt both were correct, but "be supporting" was the formal way of writing that sentence.</p>

    • Daishi

      Premium Member
      29 August, 2019 - 6:13 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#452715">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agreed. There’s nothing wrong with ‘be supporting’. </p><p><br></p><p>It’s fascinating the way Paul has taken to attacking other people’s writing recently. Maybe we should start critiquing him whenever he phrased something differently to the way we would have done it.</p>

  • Daninbusiness

    Premium Member
    29 August, 2019 - 9:55 am

    <p>I still don't get why they added epub support to edge in the first place. </p><p><br></p><p>Seems pretty much like the decision was simply "sure, why not".</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      29 August, 2019 - 10:37 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#452720">In reply to Daninbusiness:</a></em></blockquote><p>Microsoft was positioning Edge as an all-around reader: Web pages, PDF, EPUB, and e-books, and each had (admittedly inconsistent) reading features, much of which are/were excellent.</p>

  • Bats

    29 August, 2019 - 1:10 pm

    <p>Lol….Edge "Classic"</p>

  • glenn8878

    29 August, 2019 - 1:37 pm

    <p>Maybe a company will write a free epub extension for <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Chromium.</span></p>

  • Thom77

    29 August, 2019 - 2:22 pm

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Download an .epub app to keep reading"</span></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">they all suck, at least for a touchscreen device like the Surface Go</span></p>

  • Stoicjim

    Premium Member
    29 August, 2019 - 4:43 pm

    <p>Literally the one feature I was hoping they would keep. Ah, well…Edge is not going to supplant Firefox for me. </p>

  • sevenacids

    29 August, 2019 - 10:02 pm

    <p>Maybe the reason is a little bit more "sneaky": I expect that Microsoft wants to replace the classic Edge in Windows 10 with the Chromium one without anybody noticing the technical change. I mean, no normal user cares what happens in the background and what kind of application it is when they click on the Edge tile/icon to run it, but they might wonder what happened to e-book support at some point.</p><p><br></p><p>So, maybe classic Edge will keep support for EPUB until its EOL, but this will happen as soon as the last version of Windows 10 that it's available on (1909?) gets out of support (2021 since LTSC doesn't have it?). That would explain the wording, "no longer be supporting": That is, when Windows 10 ships with the Chromium one and you upgraded to this release.</p>

  • chaoticwhizz

    02 September, 2019 - 8:25 pm

    <p>This kinda bites. I never bought ebooks in the microsoft store but it was nice to open epubs in Edge if I needed to quickly read something. Now the best option is to upload the epub to Google Books but is a bit time consuming for something I want to look up quickly.</p>

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