Apple’s iBooks to become “Books” in forthcoming reading app redesign
Apple is reportedly tweaking its e-book offering to better take on Amazon, the current leader of the digital book market. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple will release a revamped version of the iBooks app for iOS, which will be dubbed "Books," that will have an interface more like the iOS 11 App Store, a Reading Now tab, and a separate section for audiobooks. There's no official date for the debut of the new app, but it's reportedly slated to be released in the coming months.
Limited details are known about the app, which is in testing right now. Bloomberg's report describes it having a "simpler interface" that emphasizes books the user is currently reading. There's also a new digital book store within the app that's said to be similarly designed to Apple's current App Store, which received a drastic redesign in iOS 11. That could mean that Apple plans to make discovering new books through the Books app easier, possibly with categorical tabs and book cover art throughout the digital store. Apple recently moved its audiobook offerings from the Music app to the iBooks app, but having a dedicated tab for audiobooks will make them more easily accessible for customers.
Apple has also reportedly hired a lead executive from Audible, the Amazon-owned audiobook platform, to help reinvigorate its e-book efforts. The iBooks app remains one of the few Apple programs that hasn't received a significant update in years. That is likely due in part to a 2013 ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice covering fixed pricing for e-books in Apple's iBooks store. Apple was fined $450 million.