Is Apple preparing to challenge Amazon’s book business?

“Apple looks to be stepping up its battle to win book customers from Amazon by purchasing Booklamp, a startup trying to deliver better book recommendations for readers,” Daniel Kline writes for The Motley Fool.

“BookLamp’s best-known product, the Book Genome Project, scans the writing style of books a customer likes and suggests novels or authors with a similar feel,” Kline writes. “It could also break down plot themes and content, allowing for better search and discovery, TechCrunch reported. According to a source from the technology news site, ‘Apple bought BookLamp to power an ebook search competitor to Amazon.'”

“Amazon and Apple are both very cagey about their specific sales numbers of digital books. But due to a court case, an Apple executive had to reveal some data in June 2013. While testifying in U.S. vs. Apple, in which the Department of Justice accused Apple of colluding with book publishers to set digital prices, Apple’s Keith Moerer said the company had a 20% market share,” Kline writes. “PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that trade e-books — that’s consumer, not educational or academic — will account for $8.2 billion in sales by 2017. If that is correct, every 10% of digital market share will be worth around $800 million, so you can see the logic of Apple trying to up its game.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple acquires BookLamp book recommendation startup – July 26, 2014


  1. Hopefully, any engine that Apple uses won’t recommend books I’ve already bought from their service like Amazon does. Also, just because I’ve looked at a book doesn’t mean I need it recommended back to me…I’m already aware of it.

  2. I hate the layout in the iBook Store. It feels claustrophobic. I hate buying from the Amazon Kindle Book Store but at least there’s room to look around. I will buy from the iBook Store when possible (and it’s sometimes cheaper) but Apple needs an iBook Store redesign. IMHO.

  3. I’d give up Amazon for Apple in a heartbeat but I can’t surrender my Kindle Paperwhite. I need an ultra light device where I can read under any condition, including the bright summer sun. No matter how hard I try, the iPad mini just doesn’t cut it.

    Books are the one area in which Apple doesn’t have me locked down.

  4. I buy a lot of books from Amazon. Most of them are 99 cent pulp sci-fi, often replete with typos and other indications of poor editing. After a spell of work, it’s fun to read another of the countless disasters that could befall California.

    Amazon tracks me, and emails new titles that I might download. If I click on a suggestion, I’m immediately there, and can check out the summary and reader comments.

    But I really prefer the appearance and environment of ebooks on the iBook reader, and given the appearance of a book such as The Silkworm, I’ll buy the iBook version.

    Apple doesn’t track my behavior like Amazon. Sometimes I get an email about new or upcoming iBook releases. When I click to get information, first iTunes opens, then eventually I’ll get to a page about the mentioned book. Takes longer than Amazon, is clumsier and doesn’t provide as much information.

    Come on, Apple. I don’t mind if you track my book buying preferences, and would like the iBook site experience to be more informative, with easy links to related books, etc.

  5. Apple challenging Amazon? Come one, not with the hat and Cote staff on hand.

    At least, not until the appeal is won, then the house of cards will sooooo crumble. New life breathes into Apple.

  6. I’m not sure how useful Booklamp will be for Apple. Personally I like to read a variety of books and having too many recommendations of books structured similarly seems to defeat the purpose of reading something ‘new’ and different thereby allowing you to discover what you really like or dislike. Does anyone know how popular Booklamp was before Apple purchased them? It seems better suited as a tool to identify heavy plagiarism. Maybe they can have a search mode that will recommend books with a gauge that shows you how different a suggested book is from one you select to compare against. I would use that. 🙂

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