Flipboard teams up with Apple for new Books category

Users can browse 25 types of books, which they can buy in iBookstore

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 15, 2012
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When I’m old, I feel like I am going to have to tell young people about a time when reading was not exactly considered to be cool. If you were caught with a book in school, the other kids had plenty to say about it, to put it mildly. Now, with Kindles and tablets and e-books, everyone is reading again. The lesson: if you do it electronically, no matter what it is, its automatically cooler.

In that spirit, Flipboard, the go-to source for finding out what your friends are reading, has added a new Books category to its iOS app, it was announced Thursday.

The new category will contain 25 genres of books, including cooksbooks, fiction, nonfiction, bestsellers, biographies, computer, and business, all from Apple’s iBookstore.

Flipboard users will not be able to actually read books on the app; instead they will be able to see a write-up of the book, information about the author and a link to go and download the title from iBookstore.

"Buying a book is simple, but finding a book that interests you is hard. There are so many great books out there, waiting to be discovered," Christina Mace-Turner, head of publisher partnerships at Flipboard, said in a statement.

"By surfacing books available on the iBookstore on Flipboard, readers will encounter great books naturally, alongside the kinds of content they're already reading about, so they can explore popular books as well as discover the many thousands of amazing books in the long tail."

The Books category, with all the iBookstore sections, are available in the local Flipboard Content Guides, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Brazil.

E-books are on the rise, and Flipboard wants to cash in.

A Pew report in April found that one in five adults were reading e-books.

Out of 3,000 people surveyed, a full 21% of respondents reported having read an e-book within the past year, as of February 2012. To put this into perspective: in December 2011, just 17% of those surveyed had read an e-book in the past year.

The survey also found that e-reader owners actually tend to read significantly more than the general population. While the average reader without an e-book reading device admitted to having read 16 books in the past year, the average owner of an e-reader or tablet claimed to have read 24 books in the past year. And among those surveyed, the people who owned e-readers or tablets were more likely to say that they are reading more since the introduction of electronic media.

Obviously there is money to be made from e-books, and the app will get a commission from Apple for every book bought in iBookstore after being referred by Flipboard.

"We're participating in the iBookstore Affiliate Program, so there is a revenue share. We haven't disclosed further details," a spokesperson from Flipboard told VatorNews.

In August, the app celebrated its two-year anniversary by announcing that it had 20 million users, with 1.5 million logging in daily.

In June, Flipboard launched on Android, after being an iOS-centric platform, and it now sees more than 3 billion flips per month.

Translation: with that many users, and that much engagement, Flipboard might be able to sell a whole lot of books.

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