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How to make your flipbooks as engaging as possible

What separates flipbooks from using PDFs is being able to add things to the flipbook to make the browsing experience better for visitors. Features like clickable links, animations, and videos will keep readers engaged. And engaged readers are more likely to buy from you. Furthermore, you can embed digital flipbooks on your site and use the two together to create a unified shopping experience that will stay with your customers long after they've finished flipping through your catalog.

Make your flipbook easy to navigate
Add links to continue the shopping journey
Add interactivity to keep visitors browsing
A table with a white and orange cat lying next to a laptop computer next to, showing a digital catalog.

#1 Make your flipbook easy to navigate

First thing's first, you should aim to make the contents of the PDF itself as engaging as possible before converting it to a flipbook and adding features. Taking the time to think about how your PDF will look like once it's converted to a flipbook will have an enormous impact on visitor engagement.

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

A picture of a digital catalog that is easy to navigate. Picture shows a living room with a couch, tables, lamps and rugs.

It's important to consider that you're not limited by the same constraints as printing when you're making a flipbook. So feel free to 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 monitors, the A4 size  pages (210x297mm or 210x280mm) will look great on any device.

Besides space for readability you should also consider how you will be guiding the visitors through your flipbook. One of the things you can do here is create a table of contents to direct visitors to a particular product or categoy to avoid them having to browse around through the full flipbook to find it.

When adding, you are always better off indicating the table of contents either by using a set of different colors or by using an animation.

In the example below, the five colors indicate that there is something to pay attention to, which is meant to make the visitor curious and eager to click around.

A picture of a spread in a digital catalog. A lot of white space is shown. On the left, some text. On the right a table of contents in different colors.

#2 Add links to continue the shopping journey

Links are important in your digital flipbooks. Today's online consumer expects retail content to be shoppable. So play into that expecation by ensuring products can be clicked on and shopped directly from your catalog.

Using iPaper, you're able to create links directly in your PDF using InDesign and import them into your flipbook as active links.

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.

A picture of a digital catalog. It shows a white kitchen with a wood table and chairs. In the bottom right, several clickable banners are shown along with price.

#3 Add interactivity to keep visitors browsing

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

However, the true valye of digital flipbooks is in the intersctivity it can provide to shoppers.

Pop ups

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.

A video showing the spread of a digital catalog with a call-to-action popping up. The CTA is clicked and the reader is taken to a website.

However, pop-ups don't necessarily have to be used only as a call-to-action for visitors.

You can also use them to provide more information while keeping the pages of your online flipbooks clean and easy to navigate

In the example below, we made use of pop-ups on the last spread to show information about the location of the retailers physical stores

A picture of digital catalog with a clicked pop-up that is open in a modal on top. A picture of a store front is shown, along with address and opening hours of the store.


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 »

Animations and Video

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.

A recording of a spread in a digital catalog. Text, animated robotic arms and an image of a person.

The same principle applies for videos. Recent research suggests that 83 percent of consumers stay longer browsing a web page when there is video content they can watch. 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 and Vimeo. Or even better, you can embed the video directly in the flipbook so your visitors can keep browsing your flipbook without clicking out to YouTube or another video site.

And there you have it!

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.

Looking for a real-world example?

See how SPAR went from flat PDF to interactive digital catalog here.

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