Apple picks up BookLamp, aka the "Pandora for books"

Steven Loeb · July 26, 2014 · Short URL:

Deal was reportedly worth $10-$15 million, with BookLamps team and tech coming to Apple

While Apple's foray into e-books has been far from clean, with lawsuits and price-fixing scandals but it looks like the company is doubling down on them anyway.

Apple has acquired BookLamp it has been confirmed to numerous news outlets, including Venturebeat. The exact price of the deal has not been disclosed, but TechCrunch, who first reported the acquisition on Friday, has placed it between the $10 million and $15 million.

Founded in 2007, BookLamp was a system for matching readers to books through an analysis of writing styles. It described its service as 'similar to the way that matches music lovers to new music."

The deal seems more likely to be an acqui-hire, given the message that BookLamp has posted to its homepage, informing them that the service has been shut down.

This is the statement, in full:

"We would like to thank you for the support we've received over the years in our efforts to explore the exciting world of the written word through digital analysis. As of today, though, the site - which has served as a technology demo for the Book Genome Project - will no longer be available as our company evolves its mission.

Thank you again for your active involvement and participation over the past several years.  It is our users, publishers, and our mutual love of books that inspires us day in and day out.

Thank you for being part of our journey to date."

When asked why it made the purchase, Apple responded with the following statement, which sheds no light on the subject: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

It is likely, though, that the team, and its technology, will be incorporated into Apple's iBooks service. 

Last summer, a federal judge determined that Apple colluded with five of the biggest book publishers (Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin) to fix e-book prices. Last month, Apple settled its lawsuit with U.S. states and consumers. The details of how much Apple will pay in damages was not been released.

By settling, Apple was able to avoid a trial that could have resulted in it shelling out $840 million in claims.

Apple's acquisitions

Apple has purchased 29 companies over the last nine months, not including its $3 billion acquisition of Beats in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed in a conference call following the release of its third quarter earnings earlier this week. That includes five since the end of the March quarter.

The only acquisitions that Apple has divulged since January, besides Beats, though, are Burstly, the company behind beta software tester TestFlight; micro LED startup LuxVue Technology; and social maps app Spotsetter

VatorNews has reached out to Apple for more details on the acquisition, but the company was not available for comment at this time. We will update if we learn more. 

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Joined Vator on is a system for matching readers to books through an analysis of writing styles, similar to the way that matches music lovers to new music. Do you like Stephen King’s It, but thought it was too long? The technology behind BookLamp allows you to find books that are written with a similar tone, tense, perspective, action level, description level, and dialog level, while at the same time allowing you to specify details like... half the length. It’s impervious to outside influences - like advertising - that impact socially driven recommendation systems, and isn’t reliant on a large user base to work.