Microsoft ebooks are going away, but buyers will get refunds

Ebooks purchased from the Microsoft Store are due to disappear any day now.

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Microsoft announced this spring that it was closing the books category in its digital store, and that already-purchased books would stop being available to read starting sometime in early July.

The company did pledge to refund its customers as the books are removed. And they said they’ll even pay out an extra $25 in credit to customers who made annotations or markups in any books.

Microsoft added books to its store in 2017, but the feature apparently never reached widespread popularity. They stopped all sales April 2.

Customers won’t have to do anything to get their refunds, according to Microsoft. The company said it will process the refunds to the original payment source, or give store credit if a customer’s original payment method is not on file or no longer valid.

Customers’ books will remain readable until their refunds process, according to Microsoft.

The removal of the books “underscores the hidden dangers” of the digital rights management system used in most digital purchases, Wired reported. Under the terms of DRM, customers don’t actually own many of those things they purchased, just the right to access them.

Aaron Perzanowsk, a professor at the Case Western University school of law, told Wired that this has happened before. Yet a “sizable portion” of shoppers think that buying a digital copy of something entitles them to similar ownership privileges as a physical copy, he said.


“When they happen there is a sort of momentary blip of outrage and frustration, and people get upset,” he said. “And then they go about their lives until the next time, and everyone’s surprised and frustrated all over again but without a sense that something needs to happen to change this power dynamic.”