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article imageMicrosoft to add e-books to the Windows Store this spring

By James Walker     Jan 18, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft is planning to open its own bookstore, according to leaked screenshots of an upcoming Windows Store update published this week. Launching with the Windows 10 Creators Update, you'll be able to purchase e-books directly from Windows.
The feature fills a hole in Microsoft's content ecosystem. You can already purchase apps, games, movies, TV and music from the Windows Store. Microsoft's competitors, Apple iTunes and Google Play, also offer e-books though, something Microsoft has so far neglected to offer.
It isn't immediately clear why Microsoft has decided to start selling e-books. It appears to be a "me too" response to its rivals, aiming to complete the Windows Store's content selection and make it appeal to more users. E-books will be coming to Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, gaining their own section in the store next to the Movies & TV category.
Microsoft's storefront unification will be completed through the introduction of e-books. Microsoft now lets you purchase all kinds of content from a single location, making it simpler to expand your library. It also reduces the processing required to manage transactions and inventory while allowing you to discover movies, music and books as you shop for games.
E-books are coming to the Windows Store [image via MSPoweruser]
E-books are coming to the Windows Store [image via MSPoweruser]
Screenshots revealed by MSPoweruser show the store is already largely complete. Microsoft will offer collections of staff picks as well as featured books and new releases. Purchasing content is just like buying a new app or album. Tapping a book and then pressing buy will let you enter your password and pay using your stored Microsoft payment details.
It isn't yet clear whether Microsoft is developing a standalone e-book reader to accompany the store. The company is building e-book support into its Microsoft Edge web browser though, letting you read and mark-up EPUB books.
You can add and edit bookmarks, view a table of contents and customise the reading theme. Although it supports most basic features, regular e-book readers may expect something more than a basic viewer integrated into a browser.
E-books are coming to the Windows Store [image via MSPoweruser]
E-books are coming to the Windows Store [image via MSPoweruser]
Microsoft has dabbled with e-books in the past but this is its first attempt to penetrate the market in several years. It used to have an app called Reader for Windows Mobile that used e-books created in a proprietary format and offered from an online catalogue. The service was discontinued in 2011.
The company may have worked on something since though. In 2015, images of "Nokia Reader," an e-reader device, appeared online. It remains unclear whether it would have run Windows or what its real purpose was. It's thought to have been a standalone Nokia product but it may have been influenced by Microsoft.
Microsoft will return to e-books concertedly by adding them to the Windows Store. The catalogue is expected to be launched with the Windows 10 Creators Update in April, letting you read books on Windows without heading to a website to download them first. Windows Insiders will get a first look at the feature at some point in the coming months.
More about Ebooks, Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, windows store
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