A sad news for book readers: Microsoft ebook store is closing down; you are no longer able to buy, rent or preorder any ebooks from Microsoft store starting from this month, April 2019.
Not only that, you will no longer be able to read the books you bought previously, after July 2019. Bear in mind that these are the books that you actually bought before, but with the closure of the store, these books will no longer be available as well. This is the biggest difference between physical books and ebooks: you buy the former, you actually own the books, but when you buy the later, the company still owns the books, you are just leasing them.
So what are the lessons we can learn from this episode?
The first lesson is that since ebooks come with risks, it’s much better to buy from big, popular stores than small ones. Big stores have less chance of going kaput. Microsoft ebook store, unlike its parent entity Microsoft Corporation, is just a small fry in ebook business. Amazon Kindle, on the other hand, is the world’s biggest bookstore, both in print and in ebook format. So we will be here to stay for quite some time!
The second lesson is that small ebook stores should offer the same titles at a cheaper price, because of the risk issue. Given the same title, why I should buy it from a smaller bookstore knowing full well that it might not be in business next year?
However, book stores might not have a lot of leverage over book price, especially the small ones. You might think that since the distribution cost and the printing cost of the ebooks are negligible, the ebook price should be driven down to a very low level if not outright zero, but this is not what happens in practice. Even the Amazon US, who is usually obsessed about lowest price all the time, usually sells the ebooks at USD 9.99, two third of the hardcopy price.
Which is why as consumers, we should try to lookout for ourselves on this front: we need to be able to get the cheapest price whenever possible, so that even if the bookstores fold, our downsides are minimized.
At kindlemalaysia.com we are glad to help our kindle fans by offering them the service to buy from various Amazon bookstores. With our value added services that help you open multiple Amazon accounts, you can now compare the ebook price side by side from various stores.
We never use Microsoft bookstores, and neither do our colleagues at Booxmalaysia.com do. Nonetheless, it’s still sad to see the end of a bookstore. But we are pretty sure that it’s not the competition from Amazon Kindle that kills Microsoft bookstores, it’s the competition from youtube, social medias, short and click-baity articles that does the job. There simply aren’t enough serious readers to sustain another ebook store. How we wish that in the age of non-stop distractions, there are still enough reading population to ensure the survival of another ebook stores!