When this eBook store closes, your books disappear too | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

25 June, Tuesday

When this eBook store closes, your books disappear too

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There’s bad news for users of Microsoft’s eBook store: the company is closing it down, and, with it, any books bought through the service will no longer be readable.

To soften the blow, the company has promised to refund any customers who bought books through the store (a clue that there may not have been that many of them, hence the closure. Microsoft did not offer a further comment.

But just think about that for a moment. Isn’t it strange? If you’re a Microsoft customer, you paid for those books. They’re yours.

Except, I’m afraid, they’re not, and they never were - when you hand over money for your “book”, what you’re really paying for is access to the book. That access, per the terms and conditions of every major eBook store, can be taken away at any moment.

This is how we’ve been led to this curious situation, where Microsoft’s eBook customers - however few - will see their book collection vanish, just because company executives have decided it’s no longer worth keeping the store running.

It’s a reminder, one I think which needs repeating regularly, of the shift in how we define ownership in the always-online era. In this case, it’s about books, but it’s the same with most of your digital purchases - we’re increasingly leasing our minor belongings, which I think means leasing aspects of our memories and even personalities too.


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