Microsoft is Finally Bringing an E-Book Store to Windows 10

Posted on January 17, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 38 Comments

Microsoft is Finally Bringing an E-Book Store to Windows 10

A new report appears to confirm that Microsoft’s long-expected e-book store experience will debut in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Microsoft has been laying the groundwork for its return to e-books—yes, return; surely you haven’t forgotten about Microsoft Reader from back in the Pocket PC days—for the past few years. The most obvious recent step in this direction was the addition of support for the e-book EPUB file format in Microsoft Edge in a December Windows Insider build. But there have been many reports about e-books coming to Windows Store over the past few years as well.

This week, MSPowerUser has confirmed those reports, and it says that we can expect to see the e-book store and reader experience in both Windows 10 for PCs and that mobile thing which we shall not name.

The store bit will look and work exactly as you’d expect, with a new Books entry sitting alongside Apps, Games, Music, Movies, and TV Shows in the store.

Oddly, Microsoft doesn’t appear to be releasing a dedicated e-book reader app, though one imagines that is coming. Instead, users are expected to use Microsoft Edge to read e-books. And as with that browser’s Reading View feature, you will be able to tailor your e-book reading experience with themes and other customization.

MSPowerUser says we can expect the new e-book experience in the Creators Update, which will be finalized in March and begin shipping in April.

That timing makes sense. But I’m not sure that Microsoft pushing further into content makes any sense at all. Who on earth would buy e-books from Microsoft when high-quality options like Amazon Kindle and even Apple iBooks exist on the mobile platforms on which we actually read?

Interesting, regardless.

 

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Comments (40)

40 responses to “Microsoft is Finally Bringing an E-Book Store to Windows 10”

  1. Avatar

    127

    Without an app from Apple to read e-books and Amazon's app support/ dedication to be sketchy at best, MS is kind of obliged to give its users an integrated way of reading books IMHO

  2. Avatar

    4325

    Books make sense for small tablets, maybe a return of the surface mini is on the cards.

     

    I'd like a good small windows 10 tablet -  I need  a windows based system for some of the programmes I use at work which will never be rewritten for iOS or android. A small form factor portable solution with a pen input would be perfect. 

     

    Would anybody else like a surface mini? Not the one they planned to make - a 2017 version!

  3. Avatar

    4841

    "Who on earth would buy e-books from Microsoft when high-quality options like Amazon Kindle and even Apple iBooks exist on the mobile platforms on which we actually read?"

    Because the first provides a terrible experience and the second is nonexistent in Windows tablets/2-in-1s, the only ones who have been experiencing growth while Ipads and especially Android tablets have been losing market share?

    Also, inking.

    • Avatar

      5767

      In reply to Demileto:

      So there are 300 million iPads. Windows tablets are experiencing 'growth'. Meaning they grew from 3 million to 5 million.

      So eBook market has 200 million Kindles, 300 million iPads and 20 million Windows tablets. Yeah I can see what people have chosen.

      • Avatar

        4506

        In reply to MutualCore:
        Doesn't Windows have like 16% of the tablet market, so much more than 20 million.

         

        • Avatar

          1377

          In reply to 12Danny123:

          Intel/AMD-based Windows tablets which have a Windows desktop and can run Win32 software usually aren't included in tablet market share comparisons. Rather, those WinTel tablets are included with PCs.

          Here's IDC's latest: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS41885416

          As for Gartner, I came across a 2014 Gartner forecast saying tablets would overtake PCs in 2015. Makes me want to avoid Gartner's numbers whenever possible.

          Moving on to StatCounter, which distinguishes tablets from PCs, StatCounter shows non-desktop Windows tablet user share at 0.43%, so maybe not even 1 million. Obviously StatCounter, like IDC, categorizes Windows tablets able to run Win32 software as PCs. I don't know of any sites which try to break down PC sales or usage by type. Do you?

  4. Avatar

    427

    For the two people that use the windows store, one of them might be excited about this.  Can you really not have an app, shouldn't the store basically be in the app or at least linked to? Also wouldn't you want to have this app or at least the store be on iOS and Android. I'm guessing most readers use the Kindle app for example to read books and purchase them. I'm not familiar with the experience on iOS, but I would assume it is similar to the kindle app.  If the, non-existent, app did something like let you grab the text of an article on a web page and put into your library for later reading next to your books that might be useful too.  I just think some innovation in this space would be required for this to be successful.  Maybe they'll surprise with the Sindle, maybe Mindle or Windle? (Surface Kindle) I really liked the "Wook" from Mary Jo, but none of these are quite as nice.

  5. Avatar

    1293

    Because they ran out of other content that it can abruptly kill and take your license away.  Rest assured that any books you buy will be summarily obliterated when the e-book store fails and Microsoft shuts it down in 3 years.

  6. Avatar

    5530

    The only way people will take this seriously is if Microsoft or OEMs made a device that was suitable for reading.

  7. Avatar

    5394

    I wonder if this means Microsoft will become a full featured digital services company to compete with Amazon in the hopes of selling a subscription based service in combination with Cortana devices. It'll certainly be a thing to watch, but it makes me more appreciate Amazon for being an one stop shop. Microsoft will never catch up.

  8. Avatar

    5485

    Looks like MS is putting its folding display patent to use.

    But who ever designed MS business model in the ebook space on that, must be extremely smart or extremely stupid.

    But than again MS never shoots straight, is all full of curves, twists and turn arounds. In the end of the day if it is giving money to others ... what can go wrong right? "Its all about the display" (sarcasm)

     

  9. Avatar

    7324

    I've been using the desktop version of the Kindle app on my Surface Book a lot lately. Oddly, Amazon doesn't let you read any newspapers or magazines in their PC Kindle app.  I'd love to see MSFT come out with magazine content for Win10.  Magazines are *the last* thing that's keeping me from dumping my iPad.

  10. Avatar

    5553

    OH JOY! that'll work.?

  11. Avatar

    5510

    People, don't do it. If Microsoft comes out with the eBook Store, just ignore it. Do you really want to invest in a platform that will most likely have a very slim chance to survive?

    Imagine all those people who invested in Zune and bought it's music. How about those who invested all their business data on Microsoft Small Business Accounting or Microsoft Money?

    For those considering it, do you really want to take that chance? Do you really want to have a mixed ecosystem of books, where one is from Amazon, the other is Google (or whatever) and the other is Microsoft?

    Here is my advice to all of you. Go with what you know and trust. Go with who you know that will be around for a very long time, so you can have a unified collection of books all in one place.

    Make your life easy.

    Stay away from the Microsoft eBook Store.

  12. Avatar

    5496

    Kindle app and iBooks are not available on Windows or Windows Phone. And yes, people actual likes and uses Windows Phone. So this make complete sense.

  13. Avatar

    5613

    In reply to Bart:
    I wonder if this isn't an education and business response.
    I can see those two leveraging this in a curated way, but as always MS has never been openly concise with new product releases.

     

  14. Avatar

    5783

    I'm a bona-fide MS-everything fanboy. I still have my Lumia 650 sitting on my desk where I look can reminisce and wonder what could have been. I had MS Reader on my T-Mobile MDA and remember reading ebooks on it.

    Having said that - there's no way I'd buy an ebook from Microsoft. I seriously cannot believe they're wasting effort on this "consumer" play.

    If they want to pretend to care about the consumer market again, bring back something useful - like MS Money or something to compete with Mint.com.

  15. Avatar

    289

    When they partnered with Barnes & Noble a few years ago I imagined that Microsoft was looking to make a big push into universities by offering an easy way for students to purchase, read and interact with all of their textbooks using Windows tablets and 2-in-1's.  I know nothing about textbook publishing but it seemed like a vertical that MS could after.  A pure consumer play for e-books definitely seems like MS trying to check off some boxes.

     

  16. Avatar

    1805

    This announcement coupled with the Foldable Screen Patent screams MSFT Courier. I can see a versatile screen that has a great reading mode that supplants Kindle and integrates it with a Continuum type phablet experience. Can't wait.

    • Avatar

      1377

      In reply to dstrack:

      Will those foldable screen MSFT devices be priced under US$150 like the smaller Kindles? Will MSFT come up with a retail sales network too to come close to the integration of Kindle Fires and Amazon Prime?

      I suspect the foldable screen MSFT devices will be every bit as popular as Windows phones, Windows RT tablets and the Windows Store. IOW, good thing MSFT is concentrating on Azure and AI.

  17. Avatar

    5553

    Like antbody cares...Amazon pwns this space.

  18. Avatar

    1581

    Given this is the creators update, perhaps this feature will be as much about writing as it is reading...

  19. Avatar

    5592

    Hopefully a Microsoft Reader 2 will include the late Bill Hill's insights into readability that Amazon and Apple ignored. Hill's OSPREY (Optical Serial Pattern Recognition) techniques made Reader a better reading experience a decade and a half ago than Apple or Amazon have today.

  20. Avatar

    165

     I'm in,

    I have a KOBO and prefer ePub to Kindle...

  21. Avatar

    5184

    Another half-hearted Microsoft venture on the consumer side?  I'm anxious to see what features they'll just never implement to be competitive.  And how long they'll lead us along before abandoning those of us who invested in it.  I suppose if the content is epub, our investment wouldn't be completely lost.  But  I don't know why they bother.

    This is one instance where I'm going to stick with my current platform, Kindle, despite the fact that Amazon has turned its back on Windows tablet users by dropping their UWP app for their laughable desktop app.

  22. Avatar

    3180

    I cannot even imagine why... 

    There's no way, even through my (admittedly) Fanboi-eyes, can I see how this could succeed. 

  23. Avatar

    4800

    Unless these ebooks are DRM free then there needs to be an iOS and Android app.  If they are DRM free it would be like the Amazon MP3 store in the early days before iTunes went DRM free.

  24. Avatar

    8092

    I hope it will have TTS. I want would like Cortana to read those books without any plugins. 

  25. Avatar

    5486

    MS trying to take on Kindle or Google Books, or just a half-hearted attempt at 'everyone else does it, so we'd better as well'.

    The big question is, what would people read them on? Windows Mobile? No, that's dead. PC? Uhhh, really? Surface? Too bulky. Windows tablet? Very niche, and probably not ideal. MS have nothing compared to the Kindle, so what's the deal?

  26. Avatar

    5534

    There are several good quality 7- to 9-inch Windows 10 tablets on the market that would be ideal for this purpose. Just because Microsoft doesn't have a small Surface doesn't mean other manufacturers also don't have one. Here's a great example from Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Nextbook-Flexx-Quad-Core-Processor-Detachable/dp/B01FJM63H2/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1484684496&sr=1-2&keywords=9%22+tablet&refinements=p_n_size_browse-bin%3A7817236011%7C7817237011%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_browse-bin%3A6567852011%2Cp_n_operating_system_browse-bin%3A3077595011

    Sure, it's not a powerhouse tablet, but it's more than adequate to read books, stream audio/video, surf the Internet, read Email, etc., and it's only $149.00.

  27. Avatar

    2371

    Finally!  I just hope they don't just do the minimum (like what they did for years in mobile with calendar and mail apps for example).  They need to go all in on ebooks or just go away.  For years have continued to use Windows Phone and then now upgraded to W10M and for years Microsoft is still trying to get first party apps fully functional.  They finally have some good ones like Groove.  But they better come out with a good eReader app or allow third parties to create them that work with ebooks from Microsoft's store.

    If they do not do good job with ebooks it will just be one more reason I cannot recommend Microsoft to others.  However, they can make it a reason to no longer stay away from the Microsoft Store, UWP, and W10M / Win Arm.

  28. Avatar

    5496

    Microsoft actually publishes book. They have free ebooks. But they are all over the place. It would be useful and better for them to be all in one place.

     They already carry music and movies. What the big deal if they do ebooks. Epub have been around for a while, it's not going anywhere.

     

    This app would also be a desktop app, where you have like 3-4 million Windows 10 desktops.

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