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Are Online Flipbooks The Best Technology & Software For Online Magazines?

Publishing a magazine online is an excellent way to boost engagement with the audience you’re trying to reach.

But before you can do that you have a big decision to make about the right technology to use for online magazine publishing. One aspect of that is educating yourself about content delivery technology.

Here’s a guide to three of the main digital publishing solutions: PDFs, flipbooks and web apps.

That said, not all digital magazines are successful, just as not all print magazines are successful. The reasons online magazines fail are varied, but often they come down to a common set of content and distribution issues.

To help avoid these pitfalls, here are some of our best practices to follow:
PDFs have been around since the early 1990s and were once the de facto standard for cross platform and cross device information sharing.

PDFs allow you to replicate your print publication in full, complete with color images and layout, but now that the world is becoming more mobile, we believe they don’t work as well.

As we mentioned in our
white paper guide
, smartphone users, who according to Google’s data are driving the mobile revolution, can’t easily read and resize content and turn pages on PDF documents. And even on larger screens, some PDFs don’t display well. (In fact, Adobe’s got a page dedicated to
troubleshooting PDF
problems – and that’s just for PCs!)

From a marketing viewpoint, there are other issues. Marketers need to know how people are interacting with content so they can make their content strategy more effective.

With a PDF, you will know if someone has downloaded the PDF, but you won’t get fine detail about what they looked at within the publication. That’s why we believe there has to be a better online publishing solution than PDFs.

1) Using PDF For Magazine Publishing - Pro & Cons

2) Online Flipbook Software - Pros & Cons

Wondering what a flipbook is? It’s nothing to do with the popular Flipboard mobile app.

Instead, it’s another approach to online magazine publishing, offered by Issuu, Zinio and others. The Flipbook takes a print product and replicates it in digital format. Open the book and you see exactly what you would see in a print publication. You can navigate and zoom using on-screen controls, though some users find the process of getting to the content they want quite tricky.

Unfortunately, flipbooks are terrible for usability in other ways.

Some flipbook papers are Flash-based which means they may not display well or show up at all on some of the mobile devices that many readers are using.

And reading content that is either too tiny or way too large just isn’t fun.

Plus, it’s really hard to save text unless you put it in PDF format – and we already know why that’s not a good idea.

Having tried flipbook magazines ourselves, it seems that it’s not a very reader friendly format and that’s reason enough for marketers to avoid it.

There are other reasons too.

Similar to PDFs, marketers can’t track the response to individual pieces of content. In fact, when reading a flipbook magazine online, we noticed that the URL stayed the same no matter what page we were on.

That’s just no use at all if you want to track engagement and measure content marketing ROI.

Flipbook publishing solutions market themselves as replicating print publications online but our question is: why would you want to?
So if flipbooks and PDFs are not the answer to publishing your online magazine, what is?

A third option that works very well is a digital publishing solution. A digital publishing solution offers a better customer experience, because it adapts to mobile screens your readers are using, a must in this multi-screen world. And some technologies like Readz even offers an experience that works on large PC monitors.

With digital publishing platforms you can make a content-rich, attractive and interactive online magazine in a very short time. An online magazine solution can also means that marketers don’t have the limitations of print publications; instead they can take advantage of the adaptability of the latest web technology and standards.

Some solutions even offer integrated SEO means that your content can rank well in the search engines and there’s built in analytics, not just for the magazine as a whole, but for individual pieces of content. That gives marketers the information they need to make a success of a online publishing strategy.

Unlike PDFs or a flipbook, a digital publishing solution keeps both customers and marketers happy – and what could be better than that?

3) A Digital Publishing Solution - Pros & Cons

You have seconds to grab and hold the attention of your prospects. Learn more about how to stand out, choose the right digital publishing technology and make the best of your online custom magazines!
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