Microsoft has removed the e-books category from its online store in a move that will see purchased titles deleted from customer libraries.
The tech giant will refund users for the books they have already purchased or pre-ordered, it has announced. Customers will still be able to access the titles in the Edge e-reader browser before they disappear in July.
Microsoft said from 2nd April customers would no longer be able to buy, rent or pre-order e-books.
Online commentators have pointed to the fact that, unlike print, the service only allowed paying customers access to their books rather than the books themselves. When the store itself disappears, so do the products it sold.
The move marks a streamlining of Microsoft’s store service, which will continue to offer films, TV and games.
A spokesman for the firm said: “Previously purchased e-books and rentals will be accessible until July 2019. Starting in early July, we will provide full refunds for customers’ purchased content from the books category of Microsoft Store, and are contacting customers directly regarding this change.”
He added: “If you pre-ordered an e-book from Microsoft Store, and you have not yet received and paid for it, you will not be charged and the pre-order will be cancelled. We recommend you pre-order at another digital book store.”