Apple Aims to Boost E-book Platform with Acquisition of BookLamp, the ‘Pandora for Books’

Apple / BookLamp (Credit: TechCrunch)
Apple / BookLamp (Credit: TechCrunch)

Apple has confirmed earlier reports that it has acquired BookLamp, presumably in an effort to bolster the company’s e-book sales by tapping into the technology of the startup’s Book Genome Project. The latter, which is now shut down, was often described as a kind of “Pandora for books.”

BookLamp’s skills at breaking books into data points — examining the “DNA” of the various scenes that its system has created out of the books it analyzes — allows it to construct a “recipe” of sorts for a book’s major themes.

“Say you’re looking for a novel like the The Da Vinci Code. We have found that it contains 18.6% Religion and Religious Institutions, 9.4% Police & Murder Investigation, 8.2% Art and Art Galleries, and 6.7% Secret Societies & Communities, and other elements — we’ll pull out a book with similar elements, provided it is in our database,” said BookLamp CEO Aaron Stanton in a 2011 interview with Publishing Perspectives.

BookLamp can also assign books more general scores related to the nuances of the language found within: motion, density, pacing, dialog, and description, to name a few. So, if you’re looking for a book about 1940s gangsters that’s not super-dense, but comes with plenty of fun gunfighting, odds are good that BookLamp can recommend some titles you might enjoy.

If that sounds like it might be a natural fit for Apple, then you’d be echoing what tipsters previously indicated to TechCrunch — that the acquisition, estimated to cost Apple anywhere from $10 to $15 million, is designed to allow the company to “beat Amazon at its own game.”

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