There I was killing myself searching for free page turning software that can accept PDFs as a source. Thankfully, I found solace before death.
Where I work, we do a lot of brochures, booklets, collaterals and things that need to be paged through. As a resort hotel, we generate a lot of interest from overseas, and it’s not always possible to get these things that needs to be paged through to everyone, so a digital version is a great solution.
But if you’ve ever tried to look for page turning software, you’ll know that it’s really expensive, especially if you want the fancy page-turning effect. There are some free page turning solutions out there that uses JPG files, but they are limited in function and use. If you want to use PDFs as it’s source, usually it’s big money for that kind of page turning software.
Previously we used a company that charged per year for a set amount of issues and a set amount of pages per issue. It was a frightfully expensive exercise and when it became time to renew, I was tasked to find new, and preferably free PDF page turning software.
Dabbling in the world of open source software, I knew there was a free alternative, but search as I might, I couldn’t get the page turning software that gave everything I wanted. I wanted it to be able to use PDFs for source, have cool zoom and navigation features and, of course, I wanted it all for free.
I had several hit and misses with dumbed down free versions of paid-for software, which I still had to host on my own site. That isn’t great for bandwidth and all but kills searchability and makes it difficult to share. I nearly settled on a not-so-great-but-free-JPG-based option. Exasperated I typed in some fresh keywords and lo and behold, stumbled across issuu.com.
Issuu.com is like the YouTube of the book world. You can upload your publication in PDF format (although it has to be one, multi-page PDF) and issuu.com’s software does the rest. You can share it much like you would a YouTube video by sending it to friends, embedding it on your own website, or even linking to it through Facebook.
One of the big features I was looking for is that page turning effect and issuu.com automatically creates that for the publication. And using PDFs as source files for the pages, it can zoom and make even small print clear to read. The added benefit of PDFs are that the text contained within is searchable, enabling your publication to be found for relevant searches.
That only works if you don’t convert the text to curves of course. On my first upload to issuu.com, some of the fonts didn’t display correctly, but that could be because of some advanced effects that didn’t export well from CorelDraw. I converted the problem text to curves, which then displayed fine after upload.
Once uploaded, it creates a miniature version for you to embed in your webpage as an icon. You can actually page through the little icon too. Clicking on the centre of the mini-book launches the big book for full-screen browsing and reading.
The mini version is customisable so far as size and background colour is concerned, and with the big version there’s about 5 choices for background colours. The big version also has an OSX style navigation bar at the bottom to make it easy to jump to a particular page.
It comes with a few links you can remove and the Issuu watermark, which you can’t, although it’s non-invasive, so not a big deal, even for professional use.
All that, the fancy page turning effect, PDFs as source files AND free. Easy to see why issuu.com is my new best friend.