In the increasingly competitive publishing world (whether traditional or indie), those who succeed are often those utilizing technology to their advantage. Flipbooks are a great example of a simple innovation that authors can use to stand out from the crowd.
So in this article, we'll explore how authors can use flipbooks to their advantage before diving into a list of the best flipbook software available.
- What flipbooks are.
- Ways authors can use flipbooks.
- List of recommended flipbook software.
Table of contents
- What is a Flipbook?
- How Authors Can Use Flipbooks
- Best Flipbook Software Options
- Best Flipbook Software: Conclusion
What is a Flipbook?
Also known as a flip book or a flip pdf, a flipbook is a digital interactive book that you can embed on websites or share on social media. Flipbooks come with neat 3D animations that actually show the pages flipping. Users can interact with the online flipbook by “flipping” the pages, similar to how they would with a regular book in the physical world.
You can even embed multimedia items on the pages, like gifs, audio players, and videos. And, of course, you can have full-color spreads. In fact, many digital magazine publishers use flipbooks on their websites with beautiful spreads and crystal-clear images.
From PDF to Flipbook
Flipbooks start out as PDFs, which are then turned into the finished product by a flipbook maker. This is done by converting a PDF into an HTML5 flipbook. Luckily, you don't have to know how to code to do this, because the software mentioned below does it for you.
Essentially, flipbooks are an advancement of the PDF file format. Since they allow for links, images, videos, and reader interaction, they make for great marketing and user experience.
How Authors Can Use Flipbooks
You probably already have some ideas for how to use flipbooks on your author website. But let's go over a few author-centric ways to use this technology to your advantage.
Whether you are a nonfiction author or a novel writer, you can use flipbooks to tease your content. Whether it be a new release or an existing book, you can use a flipbook conversion software to turn your print-ready PDF into an interactive PDF flipbook on your website. This can allow readers to “flip” through your book, reading a sample to see if they like it. The interactive element of flipping the pages is the digital equivalent of going to a bookstore and taking a book off the shelf to check it out.
Then, at the end of the sample, you can have a link that directs them to buy the book in either digital or paperback format. You can do this whether you sell directly on your website or through a platform like Amazon.
Promote Your Brand
As an author, your brand is important. If you can help people identify with your work through your online presence, you can turn them into fans. And having a stunning flipbook people can interact with certainly helps. You can share them on social media as part of your marketing efforts. And since you can add interactive elements, you can let a bit of your personality shine through.
Using a flipbook is a good way to give potential readers options. Say you have a paperback, an ebook, and an audiobook version of your book. Since you can embed images, links, and even audio files into a flipbook, you can very clearly present the reader with the option to purchase whichever version of your book they want. They can listen to an excerpt, read a chapter, and see the beautiful formatting all without leaving the page.
Creating an interactive flipbook is also a good way to give your readers fun freebies. If you've written a fantasy novel and you have sketches of your characters or maps of the world, you can collect them in a flipbook. Then, you can use it as a reader magnet in exchange for email addresses, helping to build your email list.
This doesn't just work for fantasy books. You can do this with a half-redacted dossier for your spy thriller, a police report for your crime thriller, or a few of your favorite recipes for your sweet romance. There are plenty of options, and you're limited only by your creativity.
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Best Flipbook Software Options
Now that you know how to use flipbooks to enhance your writing career, let's cover the 7 best flipbook options available.
While researching, I used a few different factors in my ranking system. They are:
- Ease of use
- User Reviews
Best Overall: Publuu
Publuu is our best overall rating for a couple of reasons. First, it's super easy to use. As an author, I don't want to spend a lot of time learning a new tool. And I didn't have to with Publuu. Within five minutes of landing on their website, I'd uploaded a PDF and turned it into a flipbook. Their interface is smooth and their website looks good. I didn't have to pay anything, but I did have to sign up with my email address.
With Publuu, you can choose from many different backgrounds, embed lead forms to collect email addresses, and customize your flipbook with several options. You can also add branding and share through social media. Luckily, most authors won't need to get too crazy with these options, but it's still nice to have them.
There is a free 14-day trial with Publuu, so you can get to know the software. And they let you create and share a flipbook while you're at it. If you decide to pay for the online flipbook maker, then the prices are as follows:
- Basic Plan – $7 per month for the annual plan or $14 a month for the monthly plan.
- Optimum Plan – $24 per month (annual) or $29 per month (monthly).
- Professional Plan – $82 per month (annual) or $103 per month (monthly).
- Premium Plan – $159 per month (annual) or $199 per month (monthly).
Honestly, most authors won't need more than the basic plan. The only thing that's missing from the basic plan is the ability to include lead forms in the flipbook. But, if you're already using a service like BookFunnel or lead forms through your email service, then you can do without this feature.
Customer reviews are impressive across the board. Although I haven't needed to contact their support team, those who have are pleased with the response time and the help they get.
- 14-day free trial.
- Low monthly price (with yearly subscription).
- Easy to use.
- Smooth and sleek.
- Good options and simple interface.
- Excellent ratings.
- Great support.
- Basic plan doesn't include form integration.
- No tracking links or custom domain options on basic plan.
Check out Publuu here.
Best Free Version: AnyFlip
While Publuu above has a 14-day free trial, AnyFlip is an online flipbook software that features a free version you can use as long as you want. Coming away with a created flipbook is super easy. Just upload your PDF and let the tool do its thing. But, there are certain limitations to keep in mind with the free version. First, your flipbook will have the AnyFlip watermark on it. You’ll also need to pay to get an ad-free version of the tool. Plus, you can't upload video or audio, which is a major drawback.
That said, you get 150 uploads a month, and 30,000 daily opens, which is much more than most authors will need. You can share your free flipbook from AnyFlip on social media, but you can't integrate it. And you get access to numerous themes to help your flipbook stand out. You can also use Google Analytic tracking with the free version, which is nice.
Aside from the free version, you have a few pricing options to choose from:
- Pro Version – $12.42 a month (annual) or $15 (monthly).
- Platinum Version – $24.92 a month (annual) or $35 (monthly).
- Enterprise Version – $83.25 a month (annual) or $99 (monthly).
- Best completely free version available.
- Easy to use.
- Well reviewed.
- Decent support ratings.
- 150 monthly uploads.
- 30,000 daily opens.
- Watermark on free flipbooks.
- No video or audio integration on free plan.
- Free plan not ad-free.
- Basic plan is more expensive than Publuu.
FlipHTML5 also has a free version. In fact, it's similar in many ways to AnyFlip. But the limitations of this flipbook software are a little more drastic. The best thing about FlipHTML5 is its ability to create bookshelves that you can embed on your website so your readers can access your whole catalog right there. Readers can also subscribe to your publications to get notified when you release a new one or update an old one. However, neither of these features is included in the free version.
If you use the free plan, you'll be dealing with watermarks on your flipbooks and ads on the platform. You're also limited to a total of 500 pages per upload. Thankfully, most authors won't need to worry about this limit. You can create custom backgrounds and images in the free version, but this is about the extent of your customization options.
- Pro Version – $12.50 a month (annual) or $15 (monthly).
- Platinum Version – $25 a month (annual) or $35 (monthly).
- Enterprise Version – $83.50 a month (annual) or $99 (monthly).
- Free version available.
- Custom backgrounds and images on free version.
- Bookshelf creation and integration (paid).
- Easy to use.
- Fairly well-rated.
- Severely limited free version.
- Expensive monthly option.
- Watermarks and ads on free version.
Best Multi-Purpose: Designrr
Designrr stands out among the other digital flipbook software on this list due to its ability to convert more than just PDFs. You can create a flipbook from sources like Word Documents, Google Documents, and even blog posts. And, like most of the tools on this list, you don't have to do the heavy lifting. You simply tell which format you're using as a source, upload the material (or provide the link to your blog post), and then Designrr does the rest. You select a template for your publication, make sure everything looks good, and then create your digital flipbook.
The Designrr interface is intuitive and simple, but it's definitely powerful enough for most authors. In fact, it can also make ebooks in addition to flipbooks. The only major drawback is there's no free plan. However, there is a 7-day free trial!
- Sometimes Designrr has cheap lifetime offers for as low as $37 (no subscription).
- Standard Version – $29 a month.
- Pro Version – $39 a month.
- Premium Version – $49 a month.
- Business Version – $99 a month.
- Convert PDF, Word Doc, Google Doc, or blog post.
- Simple interface.
- Easy but powerful.
- Ebook and flipbook creator.
- Occasional amazing deals for lifetime access.
- A max of 10 flipbooks.
- Expensive monthly pricing.
Flipping Book is another good choice, although due to its pricing, it's probably a little out of most authors' price range. Their Lite plan only includes 3 flipbooks, each with a maximum of 100 pages. While this may work for some authors just starting their careers, others will want to create at least a sample of each of their books, which would require upgrading to the more expensive Starter Plan.
There is a free trial, and the software is often praised for its ease of use. The trial is full-featured, allowing you to try out every aspect before buying.
Flipping Book Software Pricing:
- Lite Plan – $19 a month (annual) or $25 (monthly).
- Starter Plan – $44 a month (annual) or $59 (monthly).
- Optimal Plan – $89 a month (annual) or $119 (monthly).
- Advanced Plan – $179 a month (annual) or $239 (monthly).
Flipping Book Software Pros:
- Full-featured free trial.
- Easy to use.
- Easy to set up.
- Good support.
Flipping Book Software Cons:
- Expensive for the features included.
- Occasional problems with analytics.
Flipsnack can help you turn a static PDF into an interactive flipbook with just a few clicks. With the 3D flipbook page-turning effect, it can make readers feel as if they're interacting with a physical book instead of a digital publication. Used by businesses like Wal-Mart and Converse, most of the powerful features won't likely come in handy for authors.
Still, this flipbook converter has some great features, including customizable lead forms, shop buttons, slideshow import capabilities, and other interactive content. Flipsnack does offer a free trial, and the entry-level price is comparable to others on this list.
- Starter Plan – $14 a month (annual) or $32 (monthly).
- Professional Plan – $35 a month (annual) or $48 (monthly).
- Business Plan – $79 a month (annual) or $99 (monthly).
- Quick and easy creation of interactive flipbooks.
- Customizable features.
- Mobile device friendly.
- Starter plan includes website embed capabilities.
- Only add links and videos with Pro plan.
- Expensive monthly plan cost.
iSpring Flip is the most expensive flip builder on this list. Most authors won't use its most powerful features, but it's still worth mentioning on this list for a few reasons. First, it's compatible with a free app that readers can download to access the books, even offline. It is also compatible with standard LMS systems, which can give you insights into how far into your books people are reading.
The gesture support allows readers to swipe to turn the page. It also lets them zoom in on any image or section. Additionally, there's no long load time for any book, because each page is quickly loaded when it's turned to by the reader. They do offer a 14-day free trial so you can try before you buy.
iSpring Flip Pricing:
- $227 per year.
iSpring Flip Pros:
- Compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones and tablets.
- Link support.
- High-quality image support.
iSpring Flip Cons:
- Overpowered for most authors' needs.
- The software is only available for Windows.
Best Flipbook Software: Conclusion
Turning a PDF document into an interactive flipbook is a great way to engage with potential readers. By embedding a flash flip book on your website or sharing it on social media, you can encourage engagement. Not a lot of authors are using this technology yet, but it's certainly something to consider. Of course, it probably won't make or break your author career, but it's something to help you stand out from the crowd.
So whether you want to create a lead magnet, a digital catalog, a sample of one of your books, or an entire novel to give away, one of the tools above will work for you. We recommend Publuu as the best flipbook software, but your needs are unique. Choose one that sounds good for you and see how it works!