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Apple Has Big Plans for E-Books, Audiobooks (Report)

Apple is looking to revamp its e-books app with a new design and a better digital bookstore, according to a Bloomberg report. The company has hired a former Audible and Barnes & Noble executive to lead these efforts.

The new app is already being tested internally, according to the report. In addition to design changes, it also includes a new e-book-store that looks more like Apple’s recently-revamped App Store. The app also comes with a dedicated section for audio books, according to Bloomberg. It’s likely going to be released in the next few months.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

Apple’s electronic book efforts are being led by Kashif Zafar, who started working for the company as its global head of iBooks in December. Zafar joined Apple from Audible, where he worked as SVP and GM for 18 months. Before that, Zafar worked for 5 years for Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-book unit.

Apple’s renewed interest in audiobooks is especially noteworthy. Just this week, Google entered that space with its own audiobook store that squarely competes with both Amazon and Apple.

Amazon’s Audible had long been the exclusive supplier for audiobooks to Apple, but the two companies had to change their relationship a year ago after regulators had taken issue with the Apple effectively shutting out other sellers. At this point, it’s unknown whether Apple would continue to rely on Audible as its audiobook supplier, or whether the company might strike direct relationships with publishers.

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