Flipboard is making its custom magazines available on the web, the company announced Tuesday. Until now, the magazines, which Flipboard launched in March, were only available to read through Flipboard’s mobile apps.
Flipboard’s magazines feature lets users create magazines from content found through Flipboard’s apps and on the web, and it was a move toward turning Flipboard from a publisher-centric platform to a user-centric platform. Now, with Tuesday’s update, readers can access those custom magazines from their web browsers the way they do in apps, flipping the pages with the keyboard’s arrow keys or by swiping the trackpad. Below, for instance, is GigaOm’s Flipboard magazine “GigaOM Reads” on the web. You can browse through the magazines on the web here. Flipboard says that since March, readers have created over two million magazines.
Flipboard’s web-reading experience doesn’t duplicate all the capabilities of the app. Users will still have to visit Flipboard’s apps to create an account, read sources like blogs, personalize their social magazine, connect social media accounts or access the content guide. But making the magazines available on the web increases their reach among readers who aren’t familiar with Flipboard or who don’t own tablets or smartphones. In addition, Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told AllThingsD, the move to web is a way of pulling in existing users at times of day when they aren’t relaxing with their tablets, but are instead in front of a computer screen: “We want to capture that desktop audience in the middle of the day.”
Flipboard, which launched in 2010, now has over 75 million users, up from 50 million in May (though it is unclear how many of those users are active). The next step for the company is to develop its relationships with publishers. The company has a partnership with the New York Times, but some publications — including Wired and the New Yorker — have pulled their content off Flipboard because they fear that it is cannibalizing their readership on other platforms. Flipboard is working on developing a more cohesive advertising strategy, and is also building e-commerce functionality into its app.