When a company cuts a program, product or service, there tends to be an initial knee-jerk reaction from the company's most staunch fans and userbase. However, over time the stinging reality of a once supported tool or feature no longer being available fades, and users reevaluate the importance of the removed product in their lifestyle (unless it's Windows Phone!).
If that doomed product has a monetary value associated with it, that stinging reality could last a bit longer and it seems Microsoft is very aware of that and is preempting complaints with compensation.
A new memo issued by Microsoft concertedly after April 1, 2019, aka April Fools Day, alerts users of the Microsoft Store Book section that the company will be closing its doors on the books category.
Starting April 2, 2019, the books category in Microsoft Store will be closing. Unfortunately, this means that starting July 2019 your ebooks will no longer be available to read, but you'll get a full refund for all book purchases.
While you can no longer purchase or acquire additional books from the Microsoft Store, you can continue to read your books until July 2019 when refunds will be processed.
In the fine print, Microsoft states that as of April 2, 2019, users will no longer be able to buy, rent or pre-order books and that any pre-order books with delivery dates scheduled for after April 2, 2019, the pre-orders will be canceled and users will not be charged. Now for the important part, refunds.
The refunding process is supposed to be an automated affair that will begin rolling out to customers in early July 2019 and the funds will be debited to the original payment method.
While it appears to be a pretty seamless process, for people who have replaced their cards since purchasing books may need to look int their Microsoft Account for pending debits that can only be used in the Microsoft Store, unfortunately.
The same Microsoft Account fund allocation will be used for books purchased with gift cards. Not only are payment and purchases being removed, but it also appears the entire platform will be gutted and the ability to even read/view books will end in July 2019 as well; that goes for all books, rented, free, or purchased.
For those who used Microsoft's eBooks for research and academic purposes, annotated books owners will receive a measly $25.00 for their time and effort. Microsoft doesn't clarify if the above stipulations reach beyond its US walls.
It's unfortunate that Microsoft is stepping away from the eBook category, especially as it makes another run at education. Hopefully, the company has a plan or a partner waiting in the wings to provide a better solution to its users. Some observers are speculating that appearance of the company's new Chromium based Edge browser may be the impetus for the shift as Microsoft has touted it providing a superior eBook reading experience.