In its latest step to be more than a social newsreader, Flipboard has added a book section that allows readers to browse and buy titles directly from Apple’s iBookstore.
The new section -- spanning 25 categories including literature, travel guides, biographies and cookbooks -- lets users flip through catalog-like pages of books, with brief descriptions and cover art images. Each title has a link to the book’s page on the iBookstore to streamline purchases from the Flipboard app on the iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod touch.
The new books section is available in 10 countries at launch: The U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, and Spain.
As part of the iBookstore affiliate program, Flipboard takes a 5% cut of book sales.
Flipboard’s addition of books highlights its ongoing shift from personalized magazine to broader media and entertainment source. In May, the company introduced an audio section with NPR, PRI (Public Radio International) and social sound platform SoundCloud. In August, it launched a curated video offering powered by popular YouTube channels.
More recently, Flipboard pushed into e-commerce with the rollout of a new advertising format called a “brand magazine,” combining all a brand’s relevant social media and other digital content in a single channel in the app. The program kicked off in September with a custom channel for Levi’s that let users shop directly through a “social catalog.”
Among the latest brand magazines on Flipboard is one started by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management with articles by its economists and other experts on topics like taxes and the fiscal cliff. Overall, the company says more than 50 brands now advertise in publications featured in the app, such as Forbes, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Fast Company.