MacRumors reports that Apple bought and shut down book-recommendation service Booklamp back in April. Booklamp was intended to be a sort of “Pandora for Books”—it used a similar system of categorizing books based on specific elements—but as I determined when I checked into it last November, it fell pretty far short of actually being useful, for two major reasons: it didn’t have a very big selection due to its opt-in nature, and it couldn’t account for humor.
Apple hasn’t been saying much about why it bought the service, but that’s not unexpected. I imagine that, as is usually the case with these acquisitions, that Apple will roll Booklamp’s technology into new products of its own—perhaps a recommendation engine for iBooks to match Amazon’s “People who bought this also bought…” recommendations.
I don’t really think it’s worth making a big deal about it, though. Booklamp wasn’t terribly well implemented to begin with, and I can’t see anything Apple does with it setting the world on fire. In terms of competing with Amazon, Apple already has the problem that you can’t migrate any books you buy there to non-Apple platforms. And while opening it up to other platforms doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to compete any better even then, they certainly can’t when they remain closed like that.