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How To Make A Digital Flipbook (Simple Step-By-Step Guide)

Maybe you've been here: you've sent your catalog to the printers but you don't have a clue what to do with it next. It's a great asset to your company but how do you extend the shelf life and keep it dynamic after it's been shipped in the mail? 

Enter the digital catalog and the topic of our blog today...



#1 Why turn your PDF into a flipbook 

#2 Make your PDF pop

#3 Adding relevant links

#4 Adding features and interactive elements (Pop ups, Videos, Animation and eCommerce)

#5 Promote it

#6 Analyze and optimize


What separates interactive flipbooks from PDFs are features like clickable links, animations, and videos to help keep readers engaged and interested.

And engaged readers are more likely to buy from you. 

Furthermore, you can embed digital flipbooks on your site and use them to include forms and pop ups to get in touch with your audience.

You can't use PDFs to sign people up for your weekly newsletter or offer customer support but with flipbooks, you can stay in touch with your customers long after they've finished flipping through your brochure, leaflet or catalog. 


First thing's first, you should aim to make the contents of your PDF as engaging as possible before converting it to a flipbook and adding features. This requires some careful design and consideration.

Add images and use bullet lists in your PDF to break up your text so that the reader isn't overwhelmed by a dense wall of text.

As you can see from Bo Concept's flipbook, sometimes less is more


Make your PDF as easy to read as possible. You're not limited by printing costs when you're making a flipbook so spread information across several pages if you think it'll make it easier for the reader to digest.

Take into account the need for white-space and a readable font at a decent size. If the text looks smudged, it's too small.

Size doesn't only matter where fonts are concerned. To ensure the PDF looks sharp across all screen sizes we recommend exporting your PDF at 150 pixels per inch.


While a square format (280x280mm) will utilize more screen space on desktop/laptop monitors, the A4 size  pages (210x297mm or 210x280mm) will look good across devices.



Links are important in your digital flipbooks. Today's online consumer expects to be able to click through documents or images to purchase the products they click on and shop directly from your catalog.

If you've created bookmarks in InDesign you can import them directly into your flipbook as an index. 

You can also create links (external links, internal page links & email links) in InDesign then import them directly into your flipbook as active links (though this requires the Link Media module). 

If you don't have any links in your PDF, don't worry. You can easily plug them in manually within the flipbook platform. 

Kitchen designers Kvik, for example, use external links to direct flipbook readers to their special offers page and also a page on their site where readers can book a time for a personal kitchen consultation.

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There are a lot of digital publishing platforms out there that let you convert your PDFs to flipbooks that mimic real pages. For some marketers that's more than enough and covers all their needs.

But for the sake of our exercise we're going to assume you want cool stuff in your catalog to really draw in your readers, like pop ups, videos, and eventually analytics.  


Pop ups and overlays are pretty self explanatory, they literally pop up on the screen as your reader flips through your flipbook.

The pop up might be a newsletter, blog or customer club sign up and works as a great lead conversion tool.

PRO TIP: To really make the most of a pop up, consider your priorities. Tailor them to your business model. For Ford Denmark, for example, it's really powerful for potential buyers to sit in the car they might like to buy so Ford use pop ups in their flipbooks to encourage readers to book a test drive or locate local dealers. 


The pop up could also be an image gallery or a web page, whatever you want to let your readers explore information without leaving your flipbook.


You can use forms to encourage lead generation and newsletter sign up too, the way you can with pop ups, but more great uses for forms include:

  • Online competitions and draws
  • Order forms to have catalogs or campaign flyers sent to a reader's home
  • Consumer Surveys

For detailed instructions on how to make a form within the iPaper platform, click here »


Our data shows that when readers turn a page and see that images move, fade, or zoom in they are more likely to stop and pay attention.

And that isn't to say that you have to fill each page of your flipbook with a lot attention-grabbing animations, just check out how effective construction company Skanska are at catching the eye with only one animation on the page. 



The same principle applies for videos. Recent research suggests that marketers who use video grow on average 48% faster than non-video users. 


So embedding videos into your digital catalogs is definitely a great use of your marketing efforts. Using iPaper, you can embed videos hosted on YouTube, Vimeo or your server into your online flipbook, no problem. 


This is a feature we're really proud of. Maybe you've already used a form or pop up to generate leads through newsletter sign up but what about the next step? Driving sales from your flipbook?

One way is to link to individual products in your flipbook directly to your web shop, but you can also step it up a notch like Danish tech store Elgiganten.

As you can see from the video below, orders from Elgiganten's catalog automatically appear in a basket on Elgiganten's website, making the shopping experience absolutely seamless for the consumer. 


Let's say you're a B2B company, in that scenario you might want your readers to buy from you but you may not have a web shop. In those instances you can add an email check out function that allows wholesale shoppers to send an email with the list of the products they'd like to buy directly to your sales staff.

If online shopping isn't relevant for you because you represent a retailer with a high product turnover then you can instead offer readers the chance to create a shopping list. That way consumers have the list on hand when they head to your store. 

You can also delve a bit deeper into shoppable content in this blog post. 



If only it were as simple as just creating a great catalog, am I right? But any marketer worth their salt knows that's only half of it. The rest is getting it in front of people and analyzing the results.

So now that you've got your engaging digital flipbook try doing the following to get it out there. 

  • Embed it directly on your website
  • Email it to your email list
  • Share it on social networks 

Here's an example from Yves Rocher Italia, who share their flipbooks on their Facebook page every time they upload a new catalog. 

Within a few weeks these posts became their most shared content and the digital flipbooks became their number one brand communication tool. 



You may think you've made an amazing flipbook and you may be right, but we should always be striving for better, right? That's where analytics and optimization come in.  

Not all flipbook makers offer this but in our platform at least, you can check a heat map to see where your readers and customers click or linger. 

Do they click on unclickable items? 

If yes, then make sure to make them clickable with links in your next catalog. 

PRO TIP: People tend to zoom in on fact boxes. 


And of course, check the traffic on your flipbook, the clicks, the numbers. These will help give you insight into how your online catalogs are performing as a marketing channel and the value you're adding to your company.



Whatever your industry, there are benefits to be had from giving your readers an engaging experience while browsing your digital catalogs, annual reports, or brochures. 

Today's buyer wants to be inspired by authentic content that’s tailored to them and helps them. By adding interactive elements to your catalogs you not only make reading them more fun but you are also more likely to inspire sales.

About the author

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna is a storytelling wizard with over ten years experience working as a journalist and copywriter. Wielding magic with her words, her goal is to educate and delight you with fresh blogs and sage wisdom.

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