Apple has quietly purchased BookLamp, an Idaho startup that set out to build better book recommendations, according to a report by TechCrunch. The company, which was founded in 2007, set out to categorize the content in every book on the planet in order to provide users with recommendations about what books they might like to read.
BookLamp created what it called the “Book Genome Project” in order to track different themes and other content inside a book and provide users with recommendations for more books with similar profiles. It’s a system that’s not unlike Pandora’s Music Genome Project, which powers that company’s internet radio service.
Like most of Apple’s other acquisitions, the terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the company didn’t provide any more information about why it wanted BookLamp. Still, the reasoning seems fairly clear: the Cupertino-based company wants its iBookstore to be able to better compete with Amazon’s Kindle Store.
Amazon had previously held acquisition talks with BookLamp according to the report, but instead purchased social book recommendation service Goodreads last year, and has since been implementing the company’s services inside its line of e-readers. In addition, the Seattle-based company has a wealth of knowledge about what people buy to better provide recommendations about other items they might want to purchase.
This acquisition by Apple could help level the playing field for recommendations between the two companies. Though it seems like Amazon, with its massive customer base and huge retail business, would still have an advantage.