Trying to open a new file can be a frustrating experience if it is an unknown file type. Both Mac OS X and Windows have this issue, but on the OS X side Apple is making it easier to find out how to open an unknown file on your MacBook thanks to the Mac App Store. Microsoft may not have a Mac App store, but they could learn from this practice.
On the Mac, if you try to open a file that you don’t currently have a program available to open you get an error, but Apple helps you get a program to open the file by sending you to the App Store.
In this case, the ePub wouldn’t automatically open with an application I had installed. While I could choose an application, the Search App Store button was highlighted and ready to help me find the right tool. Clicking on it led to the following search results in the Mac App Store.
Are there other applications out there to open ePub files, possibly better or cheaper? Sure, but for users who don’t want to be bothered by looking and figuring out what files to trust, this system offers a decent mix of paid and free apps. As the Mac App Store grows, the usefulness will only grow.
Compare this experience to trying to open the same file on a Windows 7 machine. In Windows, when you try to open an unknown file type you get the same message, but no option to search the app store.
Unlike the search of the App Store, the results are pretty much worthless. While we don’t expect Microsoft to take sides, they could link this page to the Bing search results for How to Open an ePub, which is much better.