How to choose and use FlipBooks

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I saw this post on the web. Its a bit suspicious because it talks about Free flipbooks and then promptly recommends one that is so limited in its free version that he needed to be paid to promote it, but has not declared that fact. A good article otherwise.

Flipbooks can be used like on-line magazines, very well finished and you leaf through the pages to find what you want.

They are basically a multi-page PDF compiled into one file. Some even have animation features.

Examples HERE from PUBHTML5

There is an issue on size. The bigger they are , the slower they are to load.

There is also the platform, some are Flash viewable others are not. I am steering clear of flash personally.

My interest in them is twofold:

1/ A library of data on specific buildings, such as a set of pans/elevations etc for a building, or possibly an Operational & Maintenance Manual. Having the flipbook embedded on a page so that it can be:

  • Viewable, such that you can quickly leaf through to find the specific information that you require.
  • Scrollable.Some also allow you to see a line of pages under the main view, that is a quick way to scroll through the document.
  • Zoomable so you can zoom in to a particular item on a plan and have it legible, or a certain paragraph of text or a table.
  • Downloadable/printable so that you can copy the information, say in the office, and then have an off-line version for on-site work.

2/ After playing with them I found that instead of PDF’s I could post images with links, a bit like a photo gallery now I think about it. I thought that would be great to show the 3D PDF’s of buildings that people could download from my property site.

Flipbooks seem to fall into 2 categories

1. Your Flipbook on their Server

  1. They upload your PDF’s and then give you an Embed Code for your site.
  2. They offer limited usability for free account to try to get you to go to paid versions.
  3. They have your information on their server, so if you do not pay subscription the data is no longer available for viewing. Also not sure if you can backup your information onto your computer either.
  4. They are usually pretty polished, as they have to offer something for the monthly charge of storing a few files on their server.
  5.  PUBHTML5, FlipGorilla, ePaperFlip, Yumpu are some of these offerings

My ethos is you should have control over your information, so I am not too keen on these offerings.

2. WORDPRESS PLUGIN

  1. Your files are on your server or uploaded to WordPress (wherever you may have it) but some allow you to have files somewhere else entirely (if you have 2 servers say)
  2. Usually not as finished as the products above, but they do a pretty good job.
  3. Examples are WP-Booklet & 3D FlipBook & Flowpaper

I prefer the latter types, they are not as sophisticated in ways, but you have much more control over them.

I have an example site showing some of each, with roughly the same file so you can compare them,  go HERE.

I particularly like the 3D FlipBook (apart from the sound, but I’m hoping to find some code to silence that).

I also used the WP-Booklet on this site to use images to show the 3D PDF’s of buildings. This one has a lovely link that you can use to take you to the actual file. See the demonstration page HERE.

End Thoughts

In some ways flipbooks are just pretty versions of WordPress Plugin  PDF Embedder Free as demonstrated HERE. They do look a little more stylish though.

I think I need to explore the Image Gallery Links to see if that is a simpler method of showing 3D PDF file images with links. Maybe a little less overhead on the website regarding the number of plugins. I’ll wait until someone asks me to build one though.

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