Microsoft has announced that it will close the books category of its digital store. While other software and apps will still be available via the virtual shopfront, and on purchasers' consoles and devices, the closure of the eBook store takes with it customers' eBook libraries. Any digital books bought through the service — even those bought many years ago — will no longer be readable after July 2019. While the company has promised to provide a full refund for all eBook purchases, this decision raises important questions of ownership.
Digital products such as eBooks and digital music are often seen to liberate consumers from the burdens of ownership. Some academics have heralded the "age of access," where ownership is no longer important to consumers and will soon become irrelevant.