The Windows Store—which already includes apps, games, movies, and TV shows—is going to include books in the Creators Update. This is according to pictures obtained by MSPoweruser.
Based on images from an internal Windows 10 Mobile build, books will have their own dedicated section within the Store. The whole process will work much the same way as it does for any other purchase. Microsoft, it appears, is not building a dedicated reading application for these purchases. Instead, the Edge browser in the Creators Update has been updated to include support for EPUB books, affording some customization of their appearance in the browser’s reading mode.
This update isn’t Microsoft’s first foray into the electronic book world. Long, long ago, MS had an app called Reader, which supported a proprietary HTML-based format. Reader was developed for Pocket PC and Windows Mobile, and, notably, it was in Reader that Microsoft first used ClearType sub-pixel anti-aliasing. A Reader app was also available for desktop Windows, though not Windows Phone. The company even had its own online catalog of e-books using its proprietary format, which linked to third-party sites that actually sold books.
Sales of Reader files were discontinued in 2011, with the software discontinued the following year.
Microsoft’s apparent decision to get back into the e-book market is a little odd. While on the one hand e-books are undoubtedly a gap in the Windows Store content ecosystem, that gap appears to be handled adequately by Amazon’s Kindle. Why Microsoft is getting in on the action now—and not, say, back when it was still optimistic about Windows Phone’s prospects in the mobile space—is unclear.