Apple to challenge Amazon with all-new ‘Books’ app

“Apple Inc. is ready to take on Inc. in the digital book market again, years after regulators forced the iPhone maker to back down from an earlier effort to challenge the e-commerce giant’s lead,” Mark Gurman reports for Bloomberg. Apple is working on a redesigned version of its iBooks e-book reading application for iPhones and iPads and has hired an executive from Amazon to help.””

“The new app, due to be released in coming months, will include a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read and a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched last year, according to people familiar with its development,” Gurman reports. “Apple released an early version of its iOS 11.3 mobile operating system update to developers on Wednesday, providing a hint that the new e-books app is on the way. The app is now simply called ‘Books,’ rather than ‘iBooks,’ according to the update.”

U.S. ebook sales market share Oct 2015 - Feb 2017
(graphic: Bloomberg)

MacDailyNews Take: BTW, from the “Told Ya So” file:

Killing real competition for the appearance of competition is just plain stupid. – MacDailyNews, June 2, 2013

“This will be the biggest upgrade to Apple’s e-book service in several years and provides renewed competition in a market that Amazon has dominated,” Gurman reports. “Apple recently tapped a new executive to lead the revived Books effort. In December, it hired Kashif Zafar, a senior vice president from Audible, Amazon’s audio books business. Before that, Zafar was a content vice president at Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader division, according to his LinkedIn profile.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s much room for improvement on Apple’s ebooks front!

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Apple appeal over $450 million e-book case – March 7, 2016
In amicus brief, Authors Guild, ABA, B&N back Apple; urge U.S. Supreme Court to overturn ebooks verdict – December 3, 2015
Why Apple thinks they can win their e-book antitrust case at the Supreme Court – November 3, 2015
Why Apple took its ebook antitrust battle to the U.S. Supreme Court – October 30, 2015
Apple asks U.S. Supreme Court to toss e-books antitrust decision – October 29, 2015
U.S. federal puppet Denise Cote says Apple e-books antitrust monitor’s term to end – October 13, 2015
U.S. DOJ says Apple e-books antitrust monitor no longer necessary – October 13, 2015
Apple is its ‘own worst enemy,’ U.S. antitrust monitor Bromwich claims – October 6, 2015
WSJ: U.S. Supreme Court should strike down the risible antitrust campaign against Apple – July 1, 2015
Apple is headed to the Supreme Court over e-book antitrust case? – June 30, 2015
Apple loses appeal in e-book price-fixing case – June 30, 2015


  1. Apple, please, make an Android-Version of it, and you will rule the world.
    Why? Because interactive iBooks run circles around their Kindle version and authors wouldn’t have to scale down interactivity any more just because they depend on being available on the other side of iOS.

    Now, vote me down for typing “Android” 🙂

    1. I read books too, but nothing beats the convenience of having them in a searchable database which I can read anywhere, and at any time.
      I’ve read around 60 books in the last two years, and the vast majority of them are on my iPad. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Started out with iBooks, but the selection and the prices weren’t nearly as extensive. Apple needs to:

      1. seriously incentivize publishers to get their books on the Apple platform
      2. offer an Apple books subscription like Apple Music subscription
      3. compete on price with Amazon, even if it’s a loss-leader. Amazon has no cash cows, Apple does.
      4. Create or buy an audible competitor, or better yet work out an option with publishers for books to be read by Siri.
      5. Work with education publishers to offer complete curriculums on iPads for K-12.

    1. His niche is and always has been as the supply-chain genius who can manage just-in-time inventories at scale. Unfortunately, he was promoted from COO to CEO, which requires a diverse slate of skills with which he has shown some discomfort and uncertainty. Since Steve Jobs went away, the chemistry at Apple has deteriorated something awful, and leadership there seems fraught and cobbled-together, almost as bad as in Washington. I suppose it’s a sign of the times. Fortunately, other companies, and other countries, are poised to seize leadership.

  2. I couldn’t care less about an app redesign. Give us lower prices and a wider selection instead. Recently, I wanted to download a book from the iBooks Store, but it cost $16.99. The same book only cost $4.49 to download from Amazon, so I bought it there.

    1. I do price comparison on EVERY book, and Apple frequently looses. Amazon is just as easy to buy a book and load it to my different devices. I do, however, prefer the way books look in Apple’s iBook app.

  3. I haven’t even looked at iBooks more than twice, Amazon dominates the book (or just about anything) buying experience. With ~500 e-books on Kindle (now regularly backed up to Calibre) Apple would have to provide a real cut above in the reading experience for me to use it.

  4. As long as I can copy text from Apple’s new version of e-books. Right now you can’t copy even a single word to do an online search, let alone copying a sentence ot two to tweet or post.

  5. Apple can’t challenge Amazon for anything. Apple is only in the game to make money for itself. Apple has no loss-leader product. Amazon will take plenty of profit losses to gain market share percentage and that’s what seems to really matter. Jeff Bezos became American’s richest man because he’s smart and aggressive. Apple has this “don’t give a damn” attitude that’s hurting the value of the company. No company should simply sit back and rest on its laurels especially when they have plenty of money to spend on corporate headquarters. Consumers want lower prices. Let Apple sell hardware at higher prices but at least offer consumers reductions on things like content and services to drive hardware sales.

    1. Agreed. I mean, shopping on Amazon (prime) is such a pleasure. Nobody can compete with that, especially retail. Retail is pretty much dead in the water now. Every time I go looking for something retail, I am always disappointed. Not with Prime though….

      1. There are some advantages to a physical store. Reading a recent article on Toys’R’Us, some consumers gauged their child’s interest in certain toys when visiting the store. Harder to do on a online only retailer like Amazon.

  6. The feedback above is fantastic…price of books and need audible equivalent that integrates with ebook purchase. When Apple joined this marketplace, I jumped in with both feet.

    What I learned from reading on an iPhone or iPad is that it is not a good medium for anything over 15 minutes of reading as it generates too much eyestrain. As a result I bought into e-ink technology with Amazon’s Paperwhite readers. These are lighter than iPad mini’s and are far easier on the eyes. I love the portability and functionality as a reader. Being in the Kindle ecosystem gives me the flexibility of both short iPhone based reading sessions and longer e-ink sessions on my Kindle Paperwhite. Apple can’t compete with this offering at this time. I don’t see myself buying an Apple Book any time soon without new e-ink based hardware.

      1. @Danox, I don’t know how they can do that without getting in trouble with the courts again. Either way, assuming they could, it doesn’t solve the dilemma of LED based eyestrain. Many would still want to read from an e-ink based devices that are light, easy on battery life and easy on the eyes.

        1. I have used both iPad and Paperwhite; I don’t notice eye strain if used in a well lit room. If reading in the dark, I will agree that e-ink is more pleasant. I also will agree that dropping a Kindle on your face when you fall asleep is indeed better than dropping an iPad on it. That has occurred more than once with each device.

  7. Books read by Siri would be okay, but nah, the voice isn’t audiobook material yet. I do wish they’d cut down prices. I’ve bought an iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch, and consider the second generation AirPods. After all that, I’d much rather get cheaper books rather than spend more money just because its Apple. Also, iBooks on the Mac works terribly with Voiceover. Whenever a notification comes in, Voiceover reads that notifications, then stops. On the iPhone, after the notification, Voiceover goes back to the book or content, making the Mac, something I use a lot, pretty frustrating for reading anything for a long amount of time. >

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