Being in the market since 2006, Issuu has built a solid reputation as a powerful digital publishing platform. You can use it to create, publish, and sell PDF-based digital flipbooks, and even add some level of interactivity such as links and videos into the flipbooks.
However, while Issuu may be a good fit for businesses looking to publish paid content and grow an online presence, it’s not perfect. To name a couple of drawbacks, it shows ads and other people’s content next to your publications and makes issues public on the Issuu platform by default (only 25 issues can be unlisted on lower plans).
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best Issuu alternatives, learn how they compare, and help you find the best fit for your goals.
#1 FlippingBook vs. Issuu
Much like Issuu, FlippingBook is a web-based app that lets you convert PDFs into HTML5 publications and share them online. But while Issuu focuses heavily on digital sales and online exposure, FlippingBook has the reading experience and business features at its core.
It means the PDF viewer is much more refined, with a premium, realistic feel and a great look on both big screens and mobile devices.
The customization options are wider, too: in addition to links and videos, you can embed GIFs and interactive images, and change the publication layout from two-page to slide. Along with the lead generation and document tracking features, this makes FlippingBook a great versatile tool for any kind of marketing and sales content: brochures, magazines, catalogs, reports, and educational materials. You can even use it as a website alternative.
But the main difference between the two apps is that FlippingBook doesn’t publish your content on their own platform. Once you’ve created a flipbook, it is available under a direct link. Only people with the link can access it, and when they do, there’s no third-party content or distracting ads. And you can even publish in your own environment.
Easy sharing: via direct link, website embedding, social media, email, QR code.
Lead generation: a customizable lead capture form that can be placed on any page of your flipbook.
Branding: you can remove all mentions of FlippingBook from your publication, add your company logo, and customize the link to reflect your brand.
Document tracking: you can track views, clicks, and create multiple links to the same flipbook to learn how individual leads interact with your content.
Content security: in addition to disabling printing and downloading, you can set a password to protect your publication from unwanted access.
- Ad-free flipbook viewer
- Great reading experience on mobile devices
- Intuitive flipbook editor
- Perfect for external and internal business documents, not only for paid periodicals
- Great in-document navigation via search, thumbnails, and an interactive table of contents.
- Doesn’t offer digital sales
- Doesn’t let you create flipbooks from scratch
Pricing: FlippingBook doesn’t have a free plan, but it offers a free 14-day trial, and you don’t need a credit card to sign up. The pricing starts at $44/month and includes all the essential features, such as sharing control and document analytics.
#2 Joomag vs. Issuu
The PDF viewer Joomag provides is much simpler than the one that FlippingBook or Issue has. It only has a slide mode and no page-turning option—which makes it slightly better than a standard browser viewer but doesn’t produce any wow-effect.
On the othe side, it’s an Issuu alternative that also provides a CRM, a subscription management tool, and an email service that lets you design and launch email campaigns. This can be handy if you want to build your marketing strategy around PDFs or offer paid content.
Interactivity: you can add videos, audio tracks, links, lead capture forms, and interactive plugins.
Image editor: Joomag lets you customize images in your PDF by adding texts, filters, and stickers.
Email marketing: you can craft and launch email marketing campaigns.
Built-in CRM: a convenient way to manage subscriptions, if you’re offering paid content.
- Great choice of interactive elements, with videos, audios, and interactive plugins
- Ready integrations with popular marketing tools, like Mailchimp, Marketo, and Box
- 300+ ready templates for easy publication design
- The PDF viewer is clunky and dull
- The editor is complex, especially when creating a publication from scratch
Pricing: Joomag has a 14-day trial that lets you check out all the features for free. After that, the pricing starts at $39/month for a paid plan.
#3 Scribd vs. Issuu
First and foremost, Scribd is a digital library that provides access to all types of content, including books, magazines, podcasts, documents, and even sheet music. It is similar to Issuu in that regard (however, Issuu limits its content to books and magazines.)
So it makes sense to publish there if you’re looking for a strong distribution channel for your content.
The PDF viewer and editor are very simple though. You can add a title and description to the document, as well as make it public or private. That’s literally it. The document will appear as a usual PDF document you have to scroll down to read, plus there’s no way to add interactivity or your own design. So it’s unsuitable for any marketing, sales, or educational content that requires flexibility and control.
However, Scribd is a great distribution option for publishing companies or self-publishing authors, as it provides fantastic opportunities for growing your readership.
- You can upload and publish a PDF document in a minute
- Great for exposure and growing your audience
- As a publishing company or an author, you can share audiobooks, podcasts, and other types of non-textual content
- You can use Scribd free of charge for publishing non-paid content
- Not suitable for business, educational, or one-to-one documents
- No way to add interactivity, branding, or design to your documents
- Documents look like usual PDFs with a slightly cleaner background
Pricing: Scribd is free if you wish to publish non-paid content. For any other type of partnership, you need to request the pricing.
#4 Yumpu vs. Issuu
Yumpu offers all the essentials of digital publishing. You can upload PDFs, publish them public or private, add interactive elements, such as videos, audios, and links, and gather document analytics.
However, the viewer quality is quite low. The pages have a flip effect, but it’s rather awkward. Plus, if your PDF has wide pages, the converter may fail to recognize them resulting in a very strange-looking document with huge white margins and other conversion errors. So the reading experience isn’t the greatest.
If you’re looking for an affordable option though, Yumpu may be what you need, as it is much cheaper than other solutions on this list.
Sharing options: as a direct link and as an embedded widget on your website.
Interactivity: you can add videos, sounds, and links.
Document analytics: track views, clicks, and session duration.
Subscription management: you can sell your digital content via apps and branded web kiosks created with the help of Yumpu.
- Lets you share previews of your publication to promote paid content
- Affordable, with only $19.95/month (the plan is quite limited)
- Publishes your content to Yumpu library, maximizing its online exposure
- The PDF to HTML5 converter isn’t very stable
- The reading experience is average
- The free plan includes ads and a ‘similar content’ section to your publication space
Pricing: Paid plans start at $19.95/month (note that the plan is limited to 5 uploads a day and doesn’t offer any branding).
#5 Publitas vs. Issuu
Publitas is a less popular, yet powerful online publishing platform with a focus on catalog experiences. Like other tools on the list, it converts PDFs into HTML5 publications (with or without page flip effect).
Their strong point is catalog interactivity: you can import your web store product feed to add extra content to product descriptions in your publication. This also makes it easier to update the product information in the catalogs, if yours require frequent and extensive updates.
You can also use Publitas to produce dynamic catalogs to create personalized content and boost sales.
Dynamic catalogs: you can create content based on your shoppers’ activity, recommendations, etc.
Shopping cart integration: customers can shop for the items they like directly from the publication.
Interactivity: you can add videos, links, images, and additional product info to the pages.
- Flexible tool for companies selling with their catalogs
- Fairly simple and intuitive designer
- Pricey: all the essential catalog features are only available from the Gold plan which costs €299/month
- No chat support. Premium phone support starts only from the Gold plan
- No built-in analytics. You can only track documents via integration with Google Analytics.
Pricing: You can try any plan free for 14 days, the paid plans start from €29/month. However, if you wish to use Publitas features to the fullest, the price goes from €299/month and up.
So, this wraps up the list of the strongest Issuu competitors at this moment. The market of digital publishing software is vast and ever-expanding, but we hope this list will help you choose the right fit for your goals and your documents. Cheers!