Apple acquires book recommendation startup BookLamp


During Apple’s quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday, Tim Cook said that the company has acquired 5 companies in the last 4 months, not including Beats electronics. We’ve known about two of the purchases, Spotsetter and LuxVue, and today we add a third.

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple recently acquired BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services. Described as “Pandora for books,” the service recommends books through digital analysis of author writing styles…

Here’s more from TechCrunch’s Josh Constine:

TechCrunch has learned that Apple has made another acquisition, one that it is using to boost its e-books effort “to beat Amazon at its own game.” It has bought BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services. A second source says bought BookLamp’s employees and technology for a price that was “higher than $10 million, and lower than $15 million.”

BookLamp’s most well-known product was the Book Genome Project, a platform that let users find suggestions for books to read based on natural language analysis of other titles. BookLamp’s tech and talent could help Apple improve its iBooks service with better recommendations, search, and categorization. 

It’s not hard to imagine how Apple could use BookLamp’s technology to improve iBooks. For example, if you like Tom Clancy novels, but most of them are too long for your taste, BookLamp’s tech could recommend shorter titles with similar tone, perspective, action and dialogue.

Apple has not yet confirmed the purchase, but TechCrunch notes that BookLamp’s actions follow the Cupertino firm’s acquisition playbook.  It shut down its public service in April under vague terms, thanking users for being a part of its “journey to date” as it “evolves its mission.”

Update: Apple has confirmed the acquisition to Recode with its usual boilerplate response: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”