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Bloomberg: Apple Changing the Name of iBooks to Books Means a New Fight in the eBook Market

Bloomberg is making a mountain out of a molehill over an upcoming change to one of Apple’s apps.

Someone over there heard that Apple is updating iBooks and changing its name, and somehow became convinced that "Apple’s Getting Back Into the E-Books Fight Against Amazon".

Apple is ready to take on Amazon 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.

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. The revamped app in testing includes a new section called Reading Now and a dedicated tab for audio books, the people said.

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.

While the new changes are cool and all, the only thing they signal is that Apple has released a periodic update to iBooks. It has been two years since the last major update to iBooks, so the app was past due for a refresh.

Yes, Apple is making a big push to increase revenue for content sold on its devices, but that is not the same as saying Apple is competing in the ebook market again.

Before you can make that argument you will need to show me the Apple Books app for Android. Or, show me Apple hyping the Apple Books app on its next media event.

Without a major shift in Apple’s behavior to back up Bloomberg’s premise, they might as well be working from the blink patterns from Tim Cook’s last interview.


image  by kennymatic


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Will Entrekin January 25, 2018 um 2:10 pm

There’s also the hiring. Apple lists a Books product manager on its site among opportunities, and hired away a fairly senior exec from Audible/Amazon (and before then, B&N/nook) in December.

Maybe wishful thinking, but I’d love to see someone else put on a pair of sneakers in the race Amazon is currently Usain Bolt-ing.

Nate Hoffelder January 25, 2018 um 5:48 pm

Not really. They had an exec, and now they have a different exec. That’s all.

Randy Lea January 25, 2018 um 3:16 pm

DRM is evil.

Back when music was purchased with DRM, my thinking was that since the cost was the same for all vendors, go with the vendor that supported the most platforms.

More recently, the same thing applied to ebooks, where Amazon supported every platform. I could easily read a book on my tablet, any tablet, my phone desktop, Chromebook, whatever. My preference was originally a Kindle for reading ebooks, not I use a Fire tablet, which support both Amazon’s Mobo format and EPUB, with a tine effort. I never read on my phone or computer, just one of several tablets.

Does Apple need to support Windows, Android (or Fire), or even the Web? In the past, I’d say yes, but today, I’m not so sure.

I’d prefer to search and buy ebooks on the web, but I have no interest in reading them on anything but a tablet. Where do Apple’s customers want to read, iPad and iPhone only? Outside Amazon, the Android tablet market is dying a slow death, so that makes me wonder if Apple’s customers would read their ebooks on anything other than an iOS device anyway?

My personal opinion is that Apple should spend the tiny bit of cash on Android and even Fire reading apps, why not? It takes away one reason to lose a sale. I also think they need to work with Overdrive to get their hooks into the library market, which Amazon does now.

Xavier Basora January 25, 2018 um 8:21 pm


Good points. I dunno if Android tablets are dying a slow death but the biggest headache is the glacial pace of updates from the manufacturers. I do hate them that some tablets will never get an update and force you to buy a new one. Further I hate the fact that I dislike 8Gb base models. 16 GB isn’t that expensive but I prefer 32 and making sure that the micros sd slot can minimally accept 255 gb sdxc.
The prices of some of the tablets are insane. No way that an Android tablet cost more than a Windows computer. minimally they should be 300$ anything above that I expect a free keyboard, protective glass and an Otterbox to justify the price.

Randy Lea January 25, 2018 um 10:47 pm


My very old Amazon Fire 6 just got an update on Jan 20th. I have several Fire models, I buy one every year on Black Friday, whatever model is on sale. I use them for media consumption, have one in every room. The more recent Fire 8 and 10 are not too bad, work great for consuming media, email, Twitter, etc. The newer models with uSD slots are a super value, especially if you stash a bunch of Netflix and Amazon videos on the uSD card for trips.

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