Apple said to ready revamped e-books push against Amazon

Posted January 26, 2018

The new ebook reader app will include a new interface for the iBooks Store, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reported that Apple had hired Kashif Zafar, the former senior vice president of Amazon's Audible audiobook division, to lead the initiative. Apple was once a bigger player in the space, but was fined in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Justice for conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices.

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.

A redesigned reading app could better let Apple compete with Amazon and its Kindle app, which dominates the digital book realm.

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.

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

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.

By now, Amazon's stranglehold on the ebooks market is fairly obvious. But Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has pledged that services will generate about $50 billion in annual revenue by 2021, up from $30 billion past year.

Apple recently tapped a new executive to lead the revived Books effort.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment. Before that, Zafar worked for 5 years for Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book unit. It may also have a redesigned book store that looks similar to the redesign App Store that the company launched in 2017.