Digital Marketing Blog

Online FLipbook Creator vs. PDF

What are the Benefits of an Online Flipbook Creator Compared to a PDF?

As a marketer or business owner, you need to find visually appealing ways of presenting information on your website.

Both PDFs and online flipbook creators can help you showcase your products and services, but it’s important not to confuse the two options.

In this post, let’s take a look at the differences between PDFs and online flipbooks so you can work out which option is best for you. 

#1 What are PDFs and flipbooks?

#2 Flipbooks vs. PDFs

#3 Making the leap from PDFs to online flipbooks


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#1 What are PDFs and flipbooks?

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a type of file format invented by the software company Adobe.

Customers can view these documents hosted on your site in a PDF viewer or seen with a browser plugin, which allows visitors to read PDFs hosted on your site without having to open a separate application.

The idea behind the PDF is that it allows document creators to present information to viewers in a way that always looks the way it was designed to look. The layout of the document is independent of the applications, software, hardware, and operating system used by the viewer.

Over the years, PDFs have been used to present an enormous amount of useful information, including technical information, product catalogs, reports, and many other things.

A flipbook on the other hand, is basically a PDF equipped with multiple ways of adding interactive features.

In fact, creating a PDF is the first step in creating an online flipbook. An online flipbook creator can convert PDF to flipbook, allowing you to add many enrichments along the way, including:

  • Links to relevant pages on your website
  • Popups
  • Mouseover text
  • Animations
  • Videos
  • Direct checkout of products 

 #2 Flipbooks vs. PDFs

You may still be wondering, why would you choose to offer your website visitors an online flipbook instead of a PDF?

After all, it is technically possible to embed interactive features into the latter.

Well, unfortunately, it isn’t possible to view an interactive PDF online, which means that your clients will need to download the file to their computer and open it in the viewer of their choice.

This can be extremely irritating, particularly to customers who don’t have fast connections, as interactive PDFs are usually very large files that can take a long time to download. Today almost half of all consumers expect web pages to take no more than two seconds to load.

Next to quicker load times there are multiple benefits flipbooks have over PDFs...

1. Always Up to date 

When using PDFs to publish online documents the process of updating URLs in the document can be a slow and cumbersome process.

Particularly for those that have large product catalogs it can be a lengthy processes to update the links to product IDs which cannot be automated with the use of PDFs.

Online flipbooks, on the other hand, can be made dynamic so adding links and updating ID's can be done by the click of a button. At iPaper we call this feature enrichment automation.

2. Option to view any way the customer wants

One of the concerns about using PDFs for online content is the poor navigation and viewing options.

For instance, if your document happens to rank highly in search engines and a user finds it through organic search, the chances are that the user will have a hard time navigating further and find other relevant material on your website.

Even worse your mobile customers end up having to pinch-zoom and endlessly scroll to get to the content in the PDF.

The integration with your other mobile-ready marketing activities on your website is simply non-existant. 

Flipbooks however are mobile friendly by default, and feature ways to easily search and quickly scan the document. Also, for those customers who prefer to have a downloadable PDF copy of your online catalogs and other online documents, this option is still available.

From within the online flipbook, viewers can choose the option to download the book and save it to their computer as a PDF, giving them the best of both worlds.

They can even print it directly from within the online flipbook viewer if they'd like.

3. Integration with your online shop

As a measure to turn browsers into customers, you can set up integration of your eCommerce system with your flipbook. This allows customers to shop directly from your online catalog.

By making it as easy as possible for customers to make a purchase while they browse through your online catalog, you're able to increase sales and revenue for your business.

Another interesting feature is the lead generation tools with your online flipbooks like popups.

4. Save time

An often overseen benefit of the digital flipbook is the time-saving feature. Often people believe that it's the opposite. 

A digital flipbook is a time saver on many levels. 

  • Instantly update your digital flipbook - big advantage for sales people in the field
  • Excellent search functionality reduces time on finding important information, which is critical in large product catalogs for example
  • Enrichment Automation - By using our custom link-import you save hours and hours of manual labor making links


The crucial aspect of providing value to a potential customer is that the consultant is capable of answering questions - even complicated questions - right here and right now. iPaper makes this possible for us. 

Judith - Testimonial.pngJudith Vestmark Hansen, Marketing Coordinator at KJV.


5. Better Analytics

In today's digital world and search for optimization and effectiveness in work processes, PDFs are not that helpful.

It's probably the greatest disadvantage of this kind of document and presentation that there is no easy way to track how readers interact with your content.

Unlike with online flipbooks, it is much harder to understand how a visitor is engaging with a PDF publication. This isn't ideal. 

Monitoring your readers' behavior and increasing the knowledge you have about your target audience is probably the biggest advantage of using online flipbooks compared to PDFs.

Most online publishing platforms provide in-depth statistics of how your readers interact with your online documents, such as:

  • Time spent within the document
  • Number of visitors
  • Pages viewed per user
  • What time of day your users read your documents
  • Which countries visitors come from, which platforms, browsers, and devices they use

You are also able to dig into which links, pictures, animations, icons, and pages are the most popular with the heatmap functionality what shows exactly where visitors clicked in your document.


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#3 Making the Leap From PDFs to Online Flipbooks

If you already give information to your clients in the form of PDFs, you shouldn’t find it very difficult to make the leap to using online flipbooks instead. All you need to do is use an online flipbook creator such as iPaper to convert PDF to flipbook format. You can customize the flipbooks as much as you like, adding interactive features that can enhance the experience that the flipbook provides to your readers.

There’s no need to worry that switching from PDFs to flipbooks will be too difficult for your business to manage. The digital publishing platform tool provided by iPaper is designed to be easy to use, even for people who don’t have advanced technical skills or knowledge of HTML. If you’re interested in making your catalogs and brochures even better for your customers, why not give online flipbooks a try? You can request a free trial with iPaper's digital publishing platform today.


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About the author

Kim Lauritsen

Kim Lauritsen

Since 2008 Kim has helped hundreds of customers in dozens of different industries achieve real, measurable results when it comes to using online publications to land new clients, generate sales leads and increase revenue.

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