Apple Has Big Plans for E-Books, Audiobooks

Earlier today, a report by Bloomberg mentioned that Apple is working on big changes for the Books app (previously called iBooks) and the Apple Books Store. People familiar with the project have revealed that the new app, which will be released in the coming months, is expected to include a simpler user interface and a redesigned digital bookstore that will borrow its cues from the iOS 11 App Store redesign. The company has hired a former Audible and Barnes & Noble executive to lead these efforts. But the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and publishers in 2012, alleging they orchestrated a scheme to raise the price of e-books. In that developer preview, Apple has changed the name of its ebooks app from "iBooks" to "Books", suggesting that a larger change is in the air.

Apple has been quiet in the digital book market ever since it was hit with a $450 million fine in 2016.

In the wake of the lawsuit, Apple essentially put its iBooks and iBookstore services on the back burner, Gurman notes, while shifting its focus to building out other digital services including Apple Music and its more recent Apple Podcasts platform. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook past year set a goal of doubling revenues from mobile services by 2020.

Apple's services business has been a bright spot for the company for the past few years-services like the App Store, Apple Music, and iCloud have been money makers. If the new report is true, Apple's push to modernize iBooks could significantly increase the level of competition in online books.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment. In contrast, Amazon launched a thoroughly updated Kindle mobile app in October 2017.

The period since then has seen Inc. cement its leadership position in the e-book market.

  • Joey Payne