Microsoft announces it will shut down ebook program and confiscate its customers' libraries

And people wonder why I keep buying dead-tree books and filling my living room with bookshelves.

Sure, a disaster could wipe them out. But at least it’s not some corporation repaying me in store scrip because they don’t want to be in business anymore.


This is really depressing. When Sony discontinued their e-reader line, they at least handed it over to Rakuten and maintained the users’ rights to the books they’d bought.

Mind you, Microsoft had MS Reader software way back in the Pocket PC days. They discontinued that, too, with hardly any notice, and didn’t reimburse users a penny.

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(And there’s a lot of nonfiction out there, and reference…)

I never buy ebooks. I don’t see the value, and there’s just no reason to buy bits when I can get real page and ink.

In the rare cases I can’t, I’ll limp along with a PDF or something until I can get the real thing, whereupon I’ll just delete the PDF once the Voynich MS or my copy of the Codex Serafinianus arrives. And LightWave 3D’s user manual is immense and consumes a lot of space on the ipad. I’d rather have that in print.

Bits are ephemeral by design (even more than ephemera), so I’m never surprised when they’re flipped.

Can you take that to the one Microsoft store and get, I don’t know, an Amazon gift card or something?

Yet another reason I just don’t get the appeal of ebooks. DRM is garbage, but I don’t have to do that to a real book in order to read it. Sure, you’ve got “a library” in your pocket, but it’s such a hassle, even if there’s no DRM.


The real stupidity here is overlooked.

The Microsoft Store is closed, but Microsoft will be giving FULL refunds (allegedly, but I have no reason to doubt them) in July. A reader can read the books, or even (I’m assuming) download them, strip them of DRM with Calibre, and keep the book- and STILL get the refund.

If the refund process is frictionless- and if your credit card is fine, it sounds like it mostly will be- customers won’t really be hurt by this. And if a customer is savvy enough to read the book first, or make a DRM-free copy, he’s coming out ahead.

The REAL loser here is Microsoft- and by extension, its shareholders. If Microsoft had a DRM-free bookshop, then they wouldn’t have to refund customers for every purchase- they’d just shut down the storefront, no harm no foul. I doubt the charge is large- how many people bought books on the Microsoft store? Hell, how many people reading this KNEW of the Microsoft store?- but it’s still a charge. It’ll still take the profit for that quarter down a penny or two.

Given this, why would ANY company- including Apple- create and run a DRM-locked eBook store? Amazon will, but Amazon owns the market. B&N has a small piece, but even in a worst-case scenario, they’re not going to do refunds. Chances are if B&N shut down the Nook program, it’ll be because B&N is shutting down.

This means that, since no one else is going to come in and create a new eBookstore, publishers insisting on DRM-locked books will continue to be beholden to Amazon. By insisting on DRM, publishers have killed themselves and have stifled innovation- for what, the threat of piracy? That’s meaningless.


There’s a 3rd party program that will rip audible files to MP3. I’m not saying anyone should do that, just merely stating that it’s technically possible…

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I buy ebooks sometimes when I’m not sure if it’s something I want badly enough to pay the extra money for a paper copy. And TBH I don’t have room for all the paper books I would like to keep. But I always rip out the DRM straight away. I’ve got a kobo, and I just sideload all my books onto it as plain epubs.

The other nice thing about doing that is that I can fix the fucked up formatting some of them come with – I’m looking at you, everyone who thinks that each paragraph should be separated by a blank line and not indented!


I’m not a tax expert but pretty sure corporations can use that loss to their benefit at tax time.


True, although now I kind of want to read Libro Repo by Cory Doctorow. :grin:


Wow… glad I’ve boycotted Windows since XP and religiously use Linux.

I work frelance and gotta deal with taxes… a tax write off is not quite the same as money back in your pocket. You just show less on your income and pay less tax. So like, depending on how good your accountant is, you’re saving like 10 percent of every buck you write off… correct me if I’m wrong there. It’s better than not being able to write it off at all but it’s not a windfall.


Not the first time microsoft has done this

In 2006 they shut down the MSN Music store, and customers were unable to migrate their libraries to Microsoft’s zune ecosystem.


Political and sociological considerations aside, to put it succinctly, BILL GATES IS A THIEF!

So what this is pointing out is that “because DRM is never forever, DRM is a terrible business model.” Not that we users haven’t been shouting this since the dawn of DRM, but it’s still true today, and here’s another bank account being drained as proof.

It’s also why I’ve refused to buy Sony products for decades, never bought my own kindle (I got a hand-me-down and leased a couple books, but it sucked), and I haven’t bought a single song on iTunes since the dawn of the iPhone. I still buy spinny discs of music and movies, and dead trees of writing.

I also don’t copy materials for which I have no rights, and don’t condone that behavior in others.
For all that, I strongly believe that personal use copying is still my right, with or without DRM or consent.

I can’t stop other people from being stupid or having no morals, but I don’t have to participate.


larrycovey wrote

They won’t care because no one rereads books anymore. With a firehose of new books coming out 24/7/365, if people are going to read a book, they’re going to read a new one rather than one they’ve already read before. If they like a book seriously enough to want to own it, they’re going to want to own it in paper and ink.


I disagree. Finding new books I like can be hard, so I often borrow them from the library (either paper or ebook). The only books I buy lately are ones I want to re-read, and almost always ebooks. I am re-reading a book right now, one I’ve enjoyed multiple times. I misplaced the physical copy, so I bought an ebook. I don’t know that I’m typical, but I can’t be alone in liking to re-read books, and in liking ebooks. I usually can’t remember if I first read a book on paper or e-ink because it matters that little to me.


and there lies another beautyful possibility in “ancient” Kobos; I have a “ancient” Tolino shine which has the exact same hardware as the Kobo glo. It houses an internale, removable SD-card, which stores the entire OS for it. and guess what? you can just use an SD-card with an android-system on it to drive it and you got yourself and eInk-android-tablet with any software-reader you want. no more restrictions with ePub, cbr, cbz, ectera.

use this thread as a starting-point:

(I hated the original casing for the tolino, so I made a new one out of cardboard)


I’ve never been one to read books more than once or perhaps twice, but you and I don’t speak for everyone.

I know plenty of people who have re-read the same books dozens of times, and some of those same people have discarded virtually all their paper copies for digital.

One size does not fit all.


If this ever happens with Kindle – and I mean besides the big coronal mass ejection that ends our civilization – I will be downright PISSED.


Nice. I’ll have to look into that.

All this just to read some books.

It may be different for a large corporation versus an individual freelancer. But this is not my knowledge area. My impression may very well be wrong about writing off loss.

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