By Dennis Abrams
Random House has announced its partnership with Flipboard, the popular news and social media aggregation application, making it one of the first major publishers to create content exclusively for that platform, which currently boasts 85 million users.
The collaboration has started with a bang, bringing in two major authors with two custom digital magazines. The first, curated by Margaret Atwood, is inspired by her new novel MaddAddam and the second, by Westeros.org, explores the fictional worlds of George R.R. Martin. Both magazines go well beyond each authors’ catalog, featuring new materials, as well as providing a showcase for Flipboard’s visual capabilities with images provided by each author’s creatively immersive worlds.
And there are many ways for Flipboard readers to easily discover the new Random House magazines: they are included in sections curated by Flipboard’s editorial team such as Books, Culture, Tech, and Flipboard Picks; they’re featured in the Content Guide in Flipboard’s New & Noteworthy, By Our Readers, and Books categories; and the Inside Flipboard blog will feature exclusive “Red Couch” interviews with Random House authors such as Margaret Atwood. “We love the collaboration with Random House and its authors as they add new types of content to Flipboard, turning storytelling into a transmedia experience,” said Josh Quittner, editorial director at Flipboard.
And as Christine McNamara, vice president and director of consumer verticals and partnerships at Random House told Publishing Perspectives about the new project, “Flipboard provides an excellent platform for our authors to further express their creativity to a rapidly growing audience of media consumers. The Flipboard environment is full of content-hungry-seekers and our authors will be reaching major swaths of that audience by participating in the space. Our authors have major fan followings and we look forward to garnering them new audiences alongside their faithful fans with these new magazines. Plus the fantastic capacity for sharing visual images on Flipboard affords authors and experts a unique opportunity to broadly share insights into their work or points of view.”
For example, Margaret Atwood’s Flipboard magazine, MaddAddam’s World, based on her new novel MaddAddam is filled with unique information, somewhat out-of-the-box ideas, and truly stunning images. “The magazine will enhance the experience of being immersed in the brilliantly imagined world that Margaret Atwood has created in the [Oryx and Crake] trilogy,” says Judy Jacoby, vide president of advertising and promotion at Doubleday. “For readers who are new to the trilogy, it can be an intriguing introduction; for readers who have completed the trilogy and don’t want it to end…it doesn’t have to!”
And The World of Ice and Fire magazine on Flipboard provides readers (and TV viewers) a centralized hub that explores all things related to George R.R. Martin. “George R.R. Martin has such a passionate fan base, an official Flipboard magazine is the perfect venue for fans to stay current on news as well as sample excerpts of GRRM’s work that they might not yet be familiar with,” said Scott Shannon, publisher of digital content at Random House. The magazine is curated by Westeros.org, known and respected experts on George R.R. Martin’s works, with the blessing of both the author and Random House. Magazine readers can expect to learn a lot more about the Song of Ice and Fire series, as well as the author’s other projects in fiction, comics, gaming, and collectibles.
And with new magazines and authors yet to be announced, it’s a collaboration rife with potential. As Christine McNamara told us, “With our new custom Flipboard magazines, readers will get a window inside the mind of their favorite author, where they can immerse themselves in the world of their beloved books, enjoy stunning visualizations, read excerpts of works, and stay current on author news. Flipboard’s unique platform makes it possible for our authors to engage with consumers wherever they are spending their time – on mobile phones, tablets, or desktops. At Penguin Random House, we’re constantly looking for innovative ways for our authors to connect with the broadest audience. This exciting collaboration not only provides this unique opportunity, but does do while exploring a deeper reading experience for devoted fans, as well as for first time readers looking for something new.”
Amanda Close, senior vice president digital marketplace development at Random House added, “We are excited to reach a new audience on Flipboard and facilitate deeper discussion about books across social media.”