Earlier this evening TechCrunch reported sources told them Apple had acquired startup Booklamp, known as the ‘Pandora for books’, to possible compete with the likes of Amazon. The service helps recommend books to users based on analysis of their likes and other preferences:
TechCrunch has learned that Apple has made another acquisition, one that it is using to boost its e-books effort and “beat Amazon at its own game.” It has bought BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services.
The acquisition was later confirmed by Apple, which replied with its boilerplate statement “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Booklamp’s website no longer functions aside from a message that thanks people for their support of the service, in particular their technology demo which was part of the Book Genome Project.
Below is how the startup’s CEO, Aaron Stanton, described their book discovery engine back in 2011:
“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,”
At the time, the Booklamp discovery engine would track 32,160 data points per book, allowing for deep analysis and refined recommendations for readers.
It’ll be interesting to see how this is implemented by Apple, as one would imagine iBooks would be the recipient of the search technology.