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Flipboard launches new edition, lets readers create magazines

By Jennifer Saba

(Reuters) - Social magazine app Flipboard launched on Tuesday one of its biggest overhauls to date allowing readers to create and share their own magazines in a bid to keep growing in popularity.

The app is letting readers customize their own content around topics, events, and personal interests that can be shared with others.

It also partnered with Etsy, the online bazaar for handmade goods, allowing users to shop from Flipboard.

"It's the largest thing we have ever done," said Flipboard co-founder and CEO Mike McCue about the new edition.

"We want to allow people to curate the content they love."

Flipboard is the latest social media company trying to entice people with the lure of creating and sharing interests along the same lines as fast-growing online scrapbook Pinterest, which lets people "pin" items on a virtual bulletin board.

Even Facebook changed its popular newsfeed in March giving more prominence to photos and videos in an effort to make the social network more of a personalized newspaper.

With more than 50 million downloads, Flipboard is a popular app among people who use it as a one-stop place for reading a variety of articles from different sources. It makes money by sharing revenue with its partners who sell ads on Flipboard.

But publishers are also keeping a close eye on the start up. Conde Nast, for instance, which is a partner of Flipboard pulled back the reins with some of its titles - The New Yorker and Wired - in order to keep guard over its content. Flipboard users will see an excerpted summary sending readers to the New Yorker and Wired websites.

Flipboard launched in July 2010 with much fan fair because of the clean and refined way it presented articles. Users choose from publishing sources ranging from The New York Times to Vanity Fair mixing stories with feeds from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The content is then formatted into one easy-to-read publication with ads that are similar to those found in the pages of glossy titles.

The Palo Alto, California-based company raised $60.5 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer, Index Ventures, and Insight Venture Partners and investors like Ashton Kutcher.

(Reporting By Jennifer Saba in New York)

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