Apple reworking iBooks app to get back into the digital books

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A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is ready to dive back into ebooks, and points to evidence hiding in the iOS 11.3 beta that a revamped ebooks app is in the works.

Expected to launch before the end of the year, the refreshed app will reportedly "include a simpler interface that better highlights books now being read" in addition to "a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched last year". Apple will redesign their e-reading app with a "simpler" interface aimed at highlighting books you're currently reading in a "Reading Now" section. As of February 2017, Amazon had claimed over 83% of the e-book market, while Apple's share had fallen from 11% to 9% from 2015 to 2017. There's also a new digital book store within the app that's said to be similarly created to Apple's current App Store, which received a drastic redesign in iOS 11.

The online retailer won a big competitive advantage several years ago when the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and several publishers for colluding to artificially raise the price of books. Apple was fined $450 million.

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Clearly Apple doesn't want to miss the chance to capitalize on the e-book and audiobook market, which has become increasingly popular but is also now dominated by Amazon.

Bloomberg reported that Apple had hired Kashif Zafar, the former senior vice president of Amazon's Audible audiobook division, to lead the initiative. This part of the company's business, which among others includes iBooks, the App Store and iCloud, rose 34 percent in the fourth quarter.

Of course, though they both sell e-books, Apple and Amazon's businesses are built on two fundamentally and economically different models.

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