Tag Archives: Microsoft

How to read ebooks without installing any additional applications on your PC

2018-03-26

Recently, one of my neighbors asked how she could read the ebook she had bought from a store. She had managed to download the book, but there was no way to open it. As many of us do in a hurry to start reading a new book, she had simply ignored all the prompts to download an ebook reader application to her device. Well, the problem was quickly solved once we installed a reader application for her. Microsoft has taken a step towards easier ebook experience by including ebook reading into the Edge browser application.

The thing is that every Windows 10 computer comes with the Microsoft Edge browser application that includes the feature to read ebooks.

ebook table of content in Mircosoft Edge browser
If your Microsoft Edge can not open EPUB ebooks, ensure your system has received all the security and feature updates from Microsoft.

This is how you can instantly verify if Microsoft Edge browser on your computer can open ebooks.

Open File Explorer.
Locate the EPUB ebook you want to open on your device.
Right-click on the EPUB file.
Select Open with.
Select Microsoft Edge. If it is not on the list, click Choose another app, and look for Edge.

The ebook should open in a tab in the Microsoft Edge application. If the book doesn’t open, the chances are that you are trying to read a copy-protected (DRM-locked) ebook. The rule of thumb is that ebooks bought and downloaded from a bookstore are copy-protected (you can always read them in the app the store provides), but free ebooks are not locked (and can be read in any EPUB ebook app). Kindle ebooks are a different story altogether, but the rule of thumb is that you can read them only in Kindle devices and apps.

In addition to non-DRM, not copy-protected ebooks you can download ebooks from the Microsoft Store to the Edge browser. It is still early days for ebooks on the Microsoft Store, which means that ebooks are not yet available in many countries at all.

Once you have an ebook in the Microsoft Edge, you can use the following useful features as you read a book.

Open the table of contents and jump to a page you want. Click the leftmost icon on the black bar above the book.
read aloud (TTS) in Microsoft Edge
Let the application read the book aloud to you. Click the loudspeaker icon on the black bar above the book.
highlight, make notes in ebook in Windows 10 Edge browser
Highlight or underline text. Select a section of text, and a small tool window opens up. You can also write notes that are attached to the position you selected.
change ebook font size in Windows 10 reader app Edge
Change font and font size. Choose A-icon, and you will see the options.
search any text in ebook in Edge browser EPUB reader in Windows 10
Search any text in a book. Click the magnifying glass and type your keywords.
Bookmark pages.

Especially, read aloud is a useful new feature in an ebook reading app. You can turn an EPUB ebook into an audiobook simply by asking the Edge browser to read it to you. At the moment, three voices are available for choosing which one pleases your ears the most. Edge can read web pages as well, so you can listen to articles you discover on the internet.

The five tech giants are also media business giants that dominate the distribution of ebooks

2017-10-23

Five tech giants, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are marketing products that most of us use daily – some people perhaps use them most of the hours they are awake. Each of these tech giants is – one way or another – a media company. Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft sell digital media products from their online stores. Facebook and Google are categorized as publishers in a number of markets, because they distribute news and information to the public. All these companies have enormous powers to promote or block items and products.
Microsoft ebook store in the Edge web browser
Facebook reports it has more than two billion active users on its social media service. About 45 percent of American adults get news from Facebook. Although Facebook doesn’t admit it is a media company, that’s how it is treated, for instance, within EU.

Google’s search market share in the U.S. approaches 86 percent, whereas in Europe it is over 90 percent. Google’s primary business is advertising, but the Play Store features music, movies and ebooks as well.

About 43 percent of all online retail sales in the U.S. last year went through Amazon. The vast majority of ebook sales in the U.S. is conducted by Amazon.

Microsoft has a dominant position in PC software with its Windows software, and Apple has grown to the most valuable company in the world because of its computers and mobile devices that customers are ready to pay premium for.

Curiously enough, four companies out of five tech giants are also booksellers. Only Facebook hasn’t opened an ebook store.
Amazon Kindle Store
Amazon, of course, gets the credit for facilitating the ebook’s breakthrough into a mass market product with the Kindle and low ebook prices. The company is the undisputable leader of the ebook business in the world. Not only has Amazon a role as a book retailer, but the company is also a book publisher, translation firm and a marketer.

Apple was the pioneer of music downloads with the iTunes Store where people could find MP3 songs for their iPods and PCs. Ebooks were introduced to the iBooks store along with the iPad tablet.

Google started scanning printed books from libraries because the company wanted to archive and index all the information in the world. Many years and legal problems later, Google has agreements with publishers to sell their ebooks at the Play Store.

Microsoft has marketed applications and games in its digital download store, and has added ebooks to the store as well, although the market coverage is limited at the moment. The new Edge web browser can open EPUB books without any additional plugins or tricks.
Google Play Books store for ebooks

What do the tech giants’ media businesses mean for ebooks?

If we think about the global ebook business, the tech giants dominate the distribution of digital products to customers. Only Kobo has the global reach that is anywhere close to the giants, but Kobo probably does not have the customer base to generate the same amount of sales as the tech giants.

In every market, local online bookstores compete against the global giants. In many markets, local booksellers may have a larger market share than the giants. Tolino in Central Europe, for instance, is a strong brand and sales channel for ebooks in the German speaking part of the world.

For tech giants, ebooks are not necessarily the core products they will bet their futures on. Tech companies’ priorities are in software, cloud services, hardware, artificial intelligence, and in other new technologies. Amazon is the only company that (at the moment) is an online retailer first, and technology supports that goal.
Apple iBooks Store
Let’s take a look at other types of digital media products and which companies dominate those markets. Online movies and television shows are streamed and downloaded from Netflix and Hulu. Music is discovered and streamed to homes and mobile devices from Spotify and Pandora.

Only ebooks are purchased from tech giants. Isn’t it a bit strange?

Perhaps ebook subscription services, like Scribd, 24 Symbols, Storytel, Bookmate will change the landscape of distribution of ebooks one day. Perhaps Kobo is able to compete against the giants in the future. Perhaps a group of investors believes there is a place for an independent global bookstore and establishes one that is in line with the interests of the ebook trade.