Apple's iBooks to become "Books" in forthcoming reading app redesign

Apple has a redesign for its iBooks app in the works, according to a new report by Bloomberg, as part of a plan to once again try to take on Amazon in the digital book market.

"The new app, due to be released in coming months, will include a simpler interface that better highlights books now being read and a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched past year", he said, citing sources familiar with the project's development. The new iBooks app reportedly also has a Reading Now tab, presumably to give the user quick access to the titles at the top of their reading list, and a dedicated audiobook section.

That's the extent of what's known so far, but we also know that Apple has hired a former executive from Amazon, Kashif Zafar, possibly in an effort to help guide this relaunch of sorts.

Apple's ebooks business suffered a setback in 2016, when the company was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay $400 million to consumers and another $50 million in legal fees for conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices.

The iBooks app was renamed to just Books in iOS 11.3, which was recently released to developers, but the real changes are coming in the following months, according to the report. In the time since then, Apple has chosen to put its efforts into growing other digital services, such as Apple Music.

This will be the biggest upgrade to Apple's e-book service in several years and provides renewed competition in a market that Amazon has dominated. Before that, Zafar was a content vice president at Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader division, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Apple wasn't immediately available for comment. In contrast, Amazon launched a thoroughly updated Kindle mobile app in October 2017.

  • Essie Rivera