As our digital collection grows we have been looking at ways to give our readers a realistic and enjoyable experience while they look at and read through our collection. We want them to feel like they are actually looking at the hard copy. One way we are doing this is by using a flipping book software so the reader can actually feel like they are flipping through a newspaper or book.

We checked out a handful of flipping book software to see what worked best for us. Here is a brief review of what we have discovered.


issuu flip book

Issuu (pronounced issue) quickly turns your pdf into a flipping book you can easily view on the web. This platform is free but also offers an upgraded version for a fee if you want more options. We found this program to be the easiest to use of the ones we tried. We simply had to upload our pdf and fill in a few boxes with the title of our document, a description, etc. Then voila! You can see some of our publications here.


  • Free
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Quick upload time
  • Provides statistics about your uploaded documents


  • The text of your documents are not searchable
  • No bells and whistles
  • Resides on their server – cannot archive it nor can you limit access to it, you can only limit printing and downloading options


Special Collections scrapbook using Megazine

MegaZine is a free flash driven pageflip engine. I do not know XML coding at this time so I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out this program. This software is being used by our Special Collections department for some of the scrapbooks that they have put into digital format. A co-worker, Brad, in Special Collections has implemented some mouse-overs (as seen in the above photo) with some of the pages he has worked on and they turned out pretty neat! Check out one of the albums Special Collections has turned into a flipping book here.


  • Free
  • Customizable – able to add sound, mouse-overs, etc.
  • Large support Wiki
  • Everything is stored on your own server


  • Not as self explanatory
  • Not all users may have the Flash plug-in
  • Need to know some basic html and xml coding

Flipping Book Publisher:

Flipping book

This was the first flipping book software we decided to try. With this flip book software you can download a trial for free otherwise it will cost you a minimum of $129. This software is pretty straight forward and provides numerous style options including sound. To see this software in action please visit the University of Iowa’s Birthday for Beatrix blog post.
  • Customizable – can add sound, change background colors, etc.
  • Easy to use
  • Stored on your own server


  • Not free
  • Only available for Windows

Over all any of these seem to be pretty decent programs to work with if you are looking to add a simple flip book to your website. They add to the viewers experience and is a fun addition to your website.

As of now the Digital Initiatives is using ISSUU and it is working for us. Hopefully in the future we can get a little more fancy and work more with the others as well. In the meantime feel free to check out our issuu library and we would love it if you would stop by our main Digital Collections page too!

Let us know if you have used any other software and what you think about it.