Microsoft is shuttering its e-book business, removing the Books category from the Store altogether.
Items that have already been purchased won't be accessible in the future as well, meaning those who have invested time in making a library via the platform will have to rebuild another one through other means.
The company is issuing full refunds to its customers.
Microsoft Stops Selling E-Books
In a new published support page, Microsoft explains that it's closing down the books category on the Store starting on April 2. Just to be clear, users can't buy, rent, or preorder digital books there anymore.
The company didn't officially announce the reason it's doing this, but according to ZDNet, it's trying to "streamline" the focus of its Store.
Come July, customers will no longer be able to access their e-books purchased from the platform. That includes free and rented items too. Preorders will be canceled as well.
Refunds Plus Store Credit
The refund process will be simple for those who still have their original payment methods linked to their accounts, as Microsoft will simply send them the full refund of their purchases. However, for those who don't or those who purchased with other methods such as a gift card or store credit, they will get refunds in the form of credits that's usable on the Store.
Now the company is also handing out $25 of Store credits to those who've already annotated or made mark-ups on their e-books before April 2. In other words, this is its way to compensate for the trouble it's caused to those who have been inconvenienced in losing their notes and such.
From the look of things, Microsoft doesn't intend to compete in the e-book space against the likes of Amazon, Apple Books, and Google Play Books any longer.
This move is reminiscent of when the company killed off its Groove Music Service as it gave up on the digital music business.