Apple has taken another step into the book business, this time with an acquisition than might make its e-book searches and suggestions more intelligent.
Reports this week said the company has acquired Boise, Montana-based BookLamp, and Apple confirmed the reports on Friday.
BookLamp has been called the “Pandora of books” because of its “Book Genome Project,” which refers to a big data approach to analyzing readers’ tastes and suggesting new titles. This technology, presumably, will now be added to Apple’s iBooks business.
Apple’s interest in the whole thing is to get a bigger piece of the large e-books revenue stream opened up by Amazon.
BookLamp had built its business on $900,000 of investment, and had, at one point, been in conversations with Amazon about a potential acquisition.
Apple had managed to hide its BookLamp buy for several months. BookLamp quietly (and vaguely) announced the shutdown of the Book Genome Project back in April.
Taste in books is subjective, but not purely subjective. The idea behind BookLamps was to build natural language analysis technology that could recognize and quantify the language styles and plot elements used in books. Once that was done, the system could recognize commonalities in the books readers were buying, then suggest more titles in that same vein.
Reports said the acquisition cost was between $10 million and $15 million.