Microsoft may be adding the ability to purchase ebooks from the Windows Store to Windows 10 Creators Update, according to a new MSPoweruser.com report (and screen shots).
Windows 10 Creators Update may include a new book store interface that will support the purchase and viewing of books in the Microsoft Edge browser, that report said. MSPoweruser said this feature will be coming to both Windows 10 Mobile and other Windows 10 variants on PCs and tablets.
Last year, Microsoft made EPUB support a feature of Microsoft Edge as part of its Windows 10 Creators Update Insider test builds.
While the move to support ebooks on Windows 10 doesn't signal any kind of return of the "Wookie" (the rumored and ill-fated Windows-powered Nook ereader), it could provide the company with an interesting asset for the education market, in particular. Microsoft is continuing its quest to make Windows devices more appealing to those looking at Chromebooks. Maybe a textbook store built right into Windows 10 could be an interesting carrot...
If and when Microsoft does add ebook support to the Windows Store, the company will gain one more potential way to monetize Windows. Users currently can buy apps, games, music, movies, and TV shows through the Windows Store.
But it's worth remembering that the Windows Store is only one of a number of "storefronts" that Microsoft is continuing to try to unify into a "Universal Store." That Universal Store is what is meant to provide the transactions and digital licensing not just for Windows Store content but also for other Windows, mobile, Xbox, Web, MSN, and Office content -- as well as its brick-and-mortar hardware/software/services -- for both business and consumer customers.
Microsoft is trying to unify all these storefronts to save itself money and reduce complexity on the back end (one common ecommerce/identity/licensing platform powered by Azure). Company officials no doubt also see a more scalable set of Universal Store services as providing an opportunity to sell more ads across Microsoft's various properties.
"Whether renting a movie or buying a game on Xbox LIVE, purchasing an app on a Windows or Windows Phone device, signing up for an Office 365 subscription or paying for Azure services, you are using Universal Store," said Microsoft in a recent job posting for its Universal Store Team.
I've asked Microsoft for comment on the ebook store report. No word back so far.
Update: Looks like Microsoft is basically no commenting, but also hedging a bit. The official word, via a spokesperson:
"Windows Insider Program was created to enable Microsoft to test different features and functionality which will influence future versions of Windows. We regularly test new features and changes to existing features to see what resonates well with our fans. Stay tuned for more information soon."
Here's what Windows 10 Creator Update can do