In a report from yesterday, it was hinted that Apple could be launching its own audiobook service.
The report, which is admittedly very vague, says that the company is building off the success of its Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and Apple Fitness+ services and plans to roll out a similar subscription service for Apple Books:
In the past couple of years Apple has made smaller media bets including Arcade, a subscription gaming package, News+, a publishing bundle, and Fitness+, which offers video aerobics classes. There is talk of an audiobooks service later this year.
The service, which would probably be called Apple Books+ (because I mean why wouldn't it), is honestly surprising that it doesn't already exist. Apple has been in the digital books and audiobook business for years and, while it certainly doesn't get the attention like the rest of its newly launched services, is actually quite good.
However, it's ripe for innovation as competing services like Amazon Kindle and Audible have switched to a subscription model with great success. Apple Books now pales in comparison to the market share that Amazon has built with its digital book and audiobooks businesses. The subscription model in the books business has certainly been proven out and it's time for Apple to get in the game.
Apple Books+ could do it better than Amazon
The great thing about Apple Books+, if it does come to fruition, is that Apple could do something even better than Amazon: it could bring both businesses together. Right now, Kindle and Audible are two separate products that, while they do work together in certain ways, are confusing as to what you get with each.
Apple could offer both books and audiobooks under its subscription service, making pricing and what you get out of it much clearer. While it's unclear how pricing would shake out, having everything under one roof alone would be a great way to differentiate itself from its competitors.
Apple also has the benefit of, just like the rest of its services, being installed by default on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. While this advantage runs right into antitrust concerns, you can't deny that it's a good one when you want customers to get a look at your new subscription service.
Apple One gets even more attractive
Not only could Apple Books+ be a big opportunity for the service in itself, but things could also really go to the next level if the company included it with certain tiers of its Apple One subscription bundle service. Apple One is already a great value that, at the top tier, gets customers all of the company's services at a major discount (especially when you factor in multiple users like families).
Adding Apple Books+ to the bundle would make it even more of a no-brainer to subscribe to the subscription bundle, benefiting all of Apple's other services.
I've personally been an Apple Books user my whole life, even in spite of arguably better services like Amazon Kindle or Audible. The user experience and design of the app are much better than Amazon's offering - so much so that I'm okay paying more for it.
If Apple takes that great user experience and offers a more compelling pricing model, Apple Books+ will be a major win for the company and everyone who likes books and audiobooks.
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