Flipboard is now more than just a pretty reader app. With Levi’s, Flipboard has launched its first clothing catalogue as iPad, iPhone and Android apps. The new Levi’s catalogue is tucked into the Style section, where you can browse Levi’s fall collection and buy selections by clicking on the price tag.
Flipboard has dabbled in live catalogues before. In November last year, it added Gilt Taste to its Food and Drink section. “Gilt Taste is the first Flipboard section to marry content and commerce,” MiaQ of Flipboard wrote at its launch. Customers could read recipes, and buy products while staying put in the Flipboard app.
The Levi’s catalogue seems to be Flipboard’s first brand partnership for in-app shopping. And, mixed up with content from other magazines in the Style section, as Ad Week suggests they are, the Levi’s selections double-up as ads. That is, Flipboard doesn’t earn revenues from the sales–it takes a cut from the publishers that Levi’s pays to feature the ads. The ads will only appear in the magazines that Levi’s has bought ad space in (a list that includes Vanity Fair, Glamour, Details, Elle, Marie Claire, Esquire, ESPN, Rolling Stone, and Fast Company itself) and for this inaugural week will also appear in the Style category.
Flipboard has chosen to differentiate itself from other readers like Zite by talking up its social side. But, since Twitter announced its restrictive new API rules, its future as a content source, fed in large part by the little blue bird, has been looking a bit rocky. By bulking up its commercial side, it looks like Flipboard is taking a healthy stab at fending for itself.