Home News Apple Takes On Amazon With BookLamp aka “Pandora for Books”

Apple Takes On Amazon With BookLamp aka “Pandora for Books”

by Ananya Shrestha

We all are aware by now, thanks to rapid fire launches of drones, phones, and unlimited subscription services, that Amazon is currently the ruler of all things e-marketing. When it comes to book publishing then, how could Amazon let anyone else take the throne? Well, it might be too soon to predict and too small a step (by Apple’s standards; ref. their $3 billion buy of Beats) to take notice of at first glance, but tech king Apple seems to be finally responding to Amazon’s aggressive reign over the bibliophile masses. It has been recently confirmed that Apple, all hush hush, has acquired the start-up organisation BookLamp that, apart from other cool bookish things, analyses the “DNA” of books and makes it ten times easier for everyone to figure out what the next book they should read will be.

Apple Uses BookLamp To Compete

 

So, what is BookLamp all about and why is Apple dropping several more millions worth of  purchase fees to buy this little known company? I can’t really answer the second question, apart from (a) sharing my assumption that Apple has an uncanny ability to predict the future of technology, and (b) Apple is clearly battling with Amazon because as per TechCrunch, it too was in the talks of acquiring BookLamp before buying out my beloved Goodreads. However,  shedding some light on the first question, here goes:

BookLamp started off in 2003 as a student project at the University of Idaho and was created by its now CEO, Aaron Stanton. Just like Pandora goes through playlists and analyses likes to play you the songs that you will enjoy the best, BookLamp aims to do the same by recommending to you interesting titles suiting your own unique taste in literature or light reading. Its  revolutionary ‘Book Genome Project’ functions by scanning the digital texts of books to identify writing style, themes, tropes, content and other quantifiable similarities so that it may ultimately become the one book discovery search engine that can guarantee full satisfaction whenever you read a book it suggests. Or in it’s own creator’s words found on Publishing Perspectives,

“Our program breaks a book up into 100 scenes and measures the ‘DNA’ of each scene, looking for 132 different thematic ingredients, and another 2,000 variables.”

Through its complicated graphs and advanced algorithms, BookLamp has already exhibited some of its potential by first measuring and then matching up books with similar pacing, phrasing, and dialogues, besides several other literary elements. Until recently, Apart from simply giving up suggestions for your next bookstore visit though, I actually think BookLamp will be able to update the way books get classified into genres and change the way we look at books forever. I mean, it has already started to anyway, by analysing the blurring lines between romance novels and erotica, and examining the secret behind Stephen King’s genius. As if that wasn’t enough, BookLamp also has its own digital card and role-playing game called ‘The Game of Books’ that reached its Kickstarter target fund quite a while ago. They’ve sent several starter kits to public libraries and are my personal heroes for trying to increase literary among young adults.

 

And yet, pretending that BookLamp isn’t as promising as the future for flying cars, Apple apparently payed a measly price to own it and is still chalking it off as a minor addition to its company collection.

  “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the company said in the statement it typically gives when it buys companies. 

Continuing in the “Pandora for…” shopping spree, Apple is also rumored to have purchased the personalized radio and podcast app, Swell and, if anyone has forgotten amidst the launch of the Amazon Fire phone, iPhone 6 is going to be out quite soon too. All in all, I might not be a member of the Apple cult (more PC and droid, sorry) but even I can’t deny the feeling that Apple has just started gearing up and will be coming right back… with a bang.

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