We live in a digital world. Your business’s catalog, advertising material, and support documentation need to be available online. Flipsnack makes it easy.
Their HTML5 flipbooks are fully responsive, mobile-friendly, and work in any browser. Use their web interface and mobile apps (iOS and Android) to upload your existing content or create new material, publish it in an attractive flipbook reader, and track which documents (and even pages) are most popular.
Digital magazine publishing is relatively affordable and can build your business by attracting new customers and better supporting your current ones. Four plans are available:
- Basic: free. One user with three catalogs, each is limited to 30 pages or 100 MB.
- Starter: $32/month. One user with ten catalogs, each is limited to 100 pages or 100 MB.
- Professional: $48/month. One user with 50 catalogs, each is limited to 200 pages or 500 MB.
- Business: $99/month. Three users with 500 catalogs, each is limited to 500 pages or 500 MB.
The higher-tier plans include additional features which you can see listed on the company’s Pricing page, and you can save 20% by paying a year in advance. Enterprise and educational plans are also available.
- Easy to use
- Plenty of attractive templates
- A range of plans
- Mobile apps
- Responsive support
- A little expensive
Why Should You Trust Me?
I’m no stranger to digital content and have produced it professionally over a few decades and a number of fields. During the Nineties and early Noughties, I taught IT classes and produced most of the training material. It was created digitally, but distributed as printed manuals. From there I moved to digital training and worked as the editor of an educational blog, publishing tutorials in written and video form.
Some of my roles have been marketing related. I produced and edited the community blog of a successful Australian company for a number of years, and have produced email newsletters for a community organization and several small businesses. I also maintained a community organization’s official documentation—including policies and procedures—on their intranet.
I understand the difficulties that publishing online can entail, and the importance of producing material that’s attractive and easy to access. These are things that Flipsnack excels at.
Flipsnack: What’s In It For You?
FlipSnack is all about creating and sharing digital magazines, and I’ll list its features in the following six sections. In each subsection, I’ll explore what the app offers and then share my personal take.
1. Create a Digital Magazine from a PDF
Making PDFs available on the web is one way to share your business’s catalog, user manuals, and newsletters online, but how users access your content is unpredictable. Depending on their setup, the file may open in a browser tab, a PDF viewer, some other app on their computer, or just get saved to a download folder. You don’t control the user experience.
Flipsnack offers something better: an attractive online viewer with page turn animations and more. Adding a PDF takes just a few clicks: Click on Upload PDF and select the file you want to make available online.
For the purpose of this exercise I’ll upload an old bicycle catalog I found on my computer. I drag and drop it onto the web page and wait for it to upload.
Once the upload is complete I click Next and it is converted to a flipbook.
There are plenty of customization options, and we’ll look at them in the next section where we create a flipbook from scratch.
I can navigate through the book by clicking the arrows at the edges of each page, clicking a corner, or pressing the right and left cursor keys. Navigating via mouse or trackpad gestures is not supported. When I hover over the book a Fullscreen button is displayed.
I click the Next button and can change the document’s metadata before publishing. The Title and Category fields are compulsory.
I click Publish and the document is added to my library. A number of sharing options are displayed that we’ll look at later.
Clicking on the document displays it in the browser and I can browse it as described above.
My personal take: Flipsnack’s online reader provides a consistent, attractive, easy-to-use experience for your readers. Creating a flipbook can be as easy as uploading a PDF file and pressing a few buttons.
2. Design a Digital Magazine with the Advanced Editor
Instead of uploading a previously-created PDF file, you can produce a flipbook from scratch using Flipsnack’s advanced design editor. You’ll be able to add rich content including video and audio and allow users to interact with the book by adding forms and tags, enabling a shopping cart, and adding social links.
Get started by clicking the Create from scratch button.
Here you’re offered a number of paper sizes. I select the default, A4, then click Create. My blank document is created, and I see a number of templates on the left and a tutorial from support on the right.
Quite a few template categories are offered, including:
I click on a template from the Cards category and my document is set up.
Now I need to edit it using the available tools. There are icons for editing text, adding photos, gifs and videos, creating shapes, and more. These operate using drag and drop and templates are offered for each item. Here’s a screenshot of the Text tool.
I can edit the text by double-clicking on it and delete the photo by selecting it and pressing the Backspace key. I add a photo using the Photos tool, then move and resize it as you’d expect. Some of the text is hidden underneath, so I move the image backward using the right-click menu.
I do that nine times until it’s not obscuring anything.
A few more changes and I’m happy. I click Make It a Flipbook and I’m almost finished.
The final step is to customize it. I can:
- Change the background color
- Display a shadow or highlight links
- Add a logo
- Show navigation controls
- Allow readers to download or print the PDF
- Add search and a table of contents
- Automatically flip pages after a configurable delay (the default is six seconds)
- Add a page-turn sound effect
My personal take: Flipsnack’s wide array of templates ease the job of creating a publication from scratch. The end result will be attractive and you can easily add your own content, whether it be text, images, video, and audio.
3. Collaborate on Multiple Digital Magazines
Flipsnack’s Free, Starter, and Professional plans are for a single user. This changes when you get to the Business plan, which allows three users to access the account, and Enterprise plans allow between 10 and 100 users.
Each user is given access to one or more workspace. One workspace is included with your plan, and each additional one incurs an additional cost.
I was unclear what the cost would be, so I contacted the company’s customer support team via chat. I received the answer within five or ten minutes: each workspace requires its own subscription and each can be on a different level plan depending on your needs.
Agnes here from Flipsnack! Thank you for your interest! I would like to let you know that each workspace has its own subscription, users, profile page and publications. Only the owner of the account remains the same. You can have a Starter Plan on one workspace and a Professional Plan on another.
Workspaces allow you to organize your projects logically and give access to the team members who need it. A manager could have access to every workspace while other team members might only get access to the projects they are working on.
Here’s a diagram from the Collaboration page on Flipsnack’s website.
Roles can be defined for each person, and a review workflow is implemented so that editors and admins approve the work before it goes live.
Notes and comments can be posted on each page to facilitate team communication and minimize the number of emails and meetings that are required. Teams can upload assets such as fonts and images to Flipsnack so that they’re available when needed.
My personal take: If you work with a number of teams, workspaces are worth considering. But since you need to pay for a new subscription for each one, it pays to keep them to a minimum.
4. Publish a Digital Magazine
Once you’ve created your flipbook, it’s time to make it available to your customers and clients. You can supply them with a link to the file, or if you’re subscribed to the Professional or Business plan, you’ll be able to display all of your publications on a virtual bookshelf. By default, the link will have a Flipsnack URL since they’re hosting it, but you can change this to your own branded URL if you prefer.
Alternatively, you can embed your flipbook and reader on your own website. An easy-to-use form will generate the embed code that you need to add to your own site’s HTML.
<iframe src=”https://cdn.flipsnack.com/widget/v2/widget.html?hash=vxu5xdoseo” width=”100%” height=”480″ seamless=”seamless” scrolling=”no” frameBorder=”0″ allowFullScreen></iframe>
Premium subscribers can control who can access each publication. You can require that a password be used to access the book, make it available only to those you invite, or a specific list of readers. Note that if you want Google to index it you’ll need to set it to Public. You can also schedule the book to be automatically published in the future.
You don’t have to give away your content for free. If you’re creating quality content that others are willing to pay for, you can sell individual flipbooks or offer subscriptions with a Professional or Business plan. Flipsnack makes their money through the subscription you pay, so they won’t be taking a percentage of what you earn.
My personal take: Flipsnack offers a number of features that make publishing more flexible. You can schedule your publications in advance, and password-protect them to control who can access them. You can display them on a bookshelf, share links to your content, and embed them on your own website. Finally, you have the option to make money by selling books and offering subscriptions.
5. Promote and Share Your Digital Magazines
Now that your magazine or catalog is published, it’s time to promote it. You might like to start by embedding it (or linking to it) on your business website, as mentioned above. Flipbook also provides convenient buttons for sharing on social platforms.
When viewing your publications, click on the Share link and a form will pop up. Here you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or email, or copy the link to share it elsewhere.
Paying subscribers can also display it on their public Flipsnack profile and generate a link that displays the book full-screen.
The Download link gives a number of other ways to share your magazine:
- You can download an HTML5 flipbook that can be viewed offline
- There are two PDF download options, one for sharing and the other for printing
- You can download a GIF, PNG or JPEG version of the book for sharing on Instagram and elsewhere
- You can even download a 20-second MP4 teaser which works well with social sharing
Learn more about sharing your publications on social media in the Flipsnack Help Center.
My personal take: Flipsnack makes social sharing easy by allowing you to share a publication with a single click or downloading your flipbooks in a number of convenient formats.
6. Track the Success of Your Digital Magazines
You’ve invested time and money to create digital magazines in order to build your business. How successful have you been in terms of views and shares? Flipsnack keeps detailed statistics so you can find out—not only of each publication but each page.
Statistics are available to subscribers of the Professional plan and can be accessed by clicking the Stats link of any document on your My Flipbooks page.
Here are the statistics tracked for each book:
- Number of impressions
- Number of views
- Average time spent reading the document
- Number of downloads
- Number of likes
You can also learn whether the readers used a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, their geographical location and whether they opened it directly from Flipsnap, via a link shared via social media, or viewed it embedded on a web page.
These statistics are tracked for each page:
- Average time spent reading the page
- Number of views
- Number of clicks
Further statistics are available about the sale of your magazines, and further statistics can be gathered by linking Flipsnack to your Google Analytics account.
My personal take: With digital publishing, it’s important to know what’s working and what’s not. To facilitate this, Flipsnack provides detailed statistics down to the page level, and this can be supplemented by attaching your Flipsnack to your Google Analytics account.
Reasons Behind My Reviews and Ratings
Flipsnack offers everything you need for online publishing, including the ability to publish previously-created PDFs, create new books from scratch, host the published documents, facilitate social sharing, and track a range of helpful analytics.
While not cheap, Flipsnack is competitive with similar services and more affordable than its closest competitors.
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
You’ll spend very little time reading manuals when using Flipsnack. There is a wide range of attractive templates to get you started quickly, and most tasks are accomplished with a simple click of a button or drag-and-drop.
Flipsnack offers support via live chat (Monday – Friday, 6 am – 11:00 pm GMT), telephone (Monday – Friday, Phone 3 pm – 11 pm GMT), and email (replies are given within 24 hours). During the writing of this review, I contacted the team via chat and received a helpful response within 10 minutes. The company’s website includes a searchable knowledge base and a library of tutorials.
Alternatives to Flipsnack
Joomag is a close competitor of Flipsnack. It is a little more expensive and allows you to offer subscriptions.
Yumpu, another popular competitor, is also more expensive and places no limit on the number of pages in each magazine.
Issuu is a-known free alternative that allows an unlimited number of uploads in its free plan, and its paid plans are relatively affordable.
Publitas doesn’t offer a free plan, but it does allow an unlimited number of publications on all its plans.
Flipsnack takes the pain out of digital publishing from start to finish. Their web and mobile apps are easy to use, and they offer a range of plans to suit your needs and budget.
The web app made the job of creating a flipbook simple, whether I started with an existing PDF or created a new document. The wide range of attractive templates they offer will give you a huge head start. The app also takes care of publishing, sharing, and tracking the effectiveness of each of your online documents.
Making your business documents online is crucial, so it’s no surprise that there are a number of competing services. Flipsnack is competitively priced, easy to use, and offers all of the features you need. I recommend it.