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 interactive elements, such as links and videos, into your documents.
However, while flipbooks are great for businesses looking to publish paid content and grow an online presence, Issuu might not be the perfect fit for your goals. To name a couple of drawbacks, it shows ads and third-party content next to your publications and makes issues public on the Issuu platform by default (only 5 documents can be unlisted on lower plans).
In this article, we’ll look at some sites like Issuu, learn how they compare, and help you find the best fit for your goals.
What Issuu is used for
Issuu lets you create digital content in the form of interactive magazines, social posts, and email graphics. You need a PDF to create a flipbook that you can later customize and publish with Issuu’s help.
A huge advantage of Issuu is that it allows you to sell your digital magazines, via subscription or as standalone issues. Also, it hosts a huge content platform where you can feature your publications. So, if you are looking to build an online presence, Issuu is a good choice.
And now, to the best Issuu competitors.
#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. FlippingBook’sPDF viewer is much more refined, with a premium, realistic feel and a great look on both big screens and mobile devices.
FlippingBook’s 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 such as 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 its 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: Share your flipbook via a direct link, website embedding, social media, email, or a QR code.
- Interactivity: FlippingBook supports video, GIF, pop-up image galleries, external and internal link adding.
- Lead generation: Collect leads via a customizable lead capture form which can be placed anywhere in the content.
- 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 see views, clicks, and reading time to learn how your content performs, as well as track individual users.
- Content security: Disable sharing and downloading, password protection, or share your flipbook as a protected embed; all flipbooks are unlisted by default.
- Integration: FlippingBook directly connects to Canva to help you streamline the content creation process. It also allows integration with almost any tool of your choice via Zapier.
- Content management and teamwork: There are individual workspaces, private and shared folders, easy content updates, easy sharing, and tracking via mobile app.
- 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: offers a free 14-day trial, paid plans start at $25/month.
#2 Joomag vs. Issuu
The PDF viewer Joomag provides is much simpler than the one that FlippingBook or Issuu offers. It has only a slide mode and no page-turning option—which makes it slightly better than a standard browser viewer but doesn’t create any wow effect.
On the other hand, this Issuu alternative also includes 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: This feature offers a convenient way to manage subscriptions if you’re offering paid content.
- Great choice of interactive elements, including video, audio, 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 Yumpu vs. Issuu
Yumpu offers all the essentials of digital publishing. You can upload PDFs, publish them as public or private documents, add interactive elements, like videos, audio, and links, and gather document analytics.
However, the viewer quality is relatively 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 is subpar.
If you’re looking for an affordable Issuu alternative though, Yumpu may be what you need, as it is among the cheaper solutions on this list.
- Sharing options: Share as a direct link and as an embedded widget on your website.
- Interactivity: You can add videos, sounds, and links.
- Document analytics: Yumpu allows tracking 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.
- It lets you share previews of your publication to promote paid content
- Affordable, with 10 uploads coming within a free plan
- Publishes your content to the 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: offers a free plan, paid plans start at €14.95/month.
#4 Calameo vs. Issuu
The main advantage of Calameo is simplicity and affordability. With the free plan and an intuitive editor, you can quickly turn your PDF into an interactive flipbook, which makes Calameo a good free Issuu alternative. It also supports basic digital publishing features such as multichannel sharing, video support, and custom design tools.
However, the Calameo PDF viewer is quite rigid. The flipbook itself is small even on big screens, the texts inside cannot be selected and copied, and there’s no option to add links or GIFs. Plus, the zoom feature isn’t very comfortable: if your document mainly contains graphics, it won’t be an issue, but reading small texts may be difficult.
- Interactivity: YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion for video embedding, and Soundcloud for audio.
- Document analytics: You can track views and visits, average reading time, devices, and countries.
- Scheduled publishing: Schedule the date and time for your flipbook to go online.
- Content protection: You can provide access to content to a limited number of subscribers.
- You can publish up to 50 publications with the free plan
- Higher plans are good for mass production thanks to the scheduled integration and API integration with third-party tools
- Supports shopping links for shoppable catalogs
- The PDF viewer is limited and non-intuitive
- Publications on the Basic plan contain ads
- Video and audio embedding is only supported on the highest plan
- Readers cannot download your content without registering at Calameo (only the highest plan doesn’t have this limitation)
Pricing: offers a free plan, paid plans start at €14.95/month.
#5 Relayto vs. Issuu
Relayto is yet another Issuu alternative that lets you convert PDFs, PPTs, and videos into interactive documents or, as Relayto calls them, assets. The platform is quite powerful and versatile—you can use your original file to create an interactive microsite, and no coding is required, which is neat.
You can also use Relayto to create ‘content hubs’ with collections of documents. This is very useful if you want to arrange a digital library for your clients or colleagues.
With lots of powerful features and an AI-generated editor, the platform is at a higher price end though. Plus, there’s a steep learning curve to master it.
- Interactivity: You can use PDFs and PPTs as original sources; embed video and audio, and make professional-looking transition animations.
- Easy sharing: Embed to your own website, or share as a link.
- Content protection: Make the documents unlisted, password-protect them, and gate your content with a lead collection form
- Document analytics: Lower plans offer a basic analytics overview, while higher ones let you track content interactions as well as provide individual user analytics.
- Team management: assign different management roles, and comment on shared projects.
- Impressive customization and interactivity features
- Works well for large companies aiming to provide their clients and colleagues with a good digital experience
- The software is quite expensive, with lots of essential features locked behind the Team plan
- The interface is challenging for a first-time user
- The cheapest paid plan allows you to create only 20 documents
Pricing: offers a free plan, paid plans start at $65/month (billed annually).
#6 3d Issue vs. Issuu
3D Issue digital publishing platform is a nice alternative to Issuu if you are looking for a straightforward tool to convert your PDFs into flipbooks. As with many other tools, you can customize the design, add interactive elements like videos, audio, and links, and share your ready publication as a link.
What sets this platform apart is the option to automate your publishing process, which can be handy if you have tons of PDFs to convert on a regular basis.
Despite some obvious perks, you may find working with 3D Issue challenging because their editor is cumbersome and slow. You’ll see that other Issuu alternatives offer a much better creation experience for a fairer price.
- Interactivity: 3D Issue supports audio, video, links, and image gallery adding.
- Customization: You can set your own viewer background image and change the color palette.
- Sharing: You can host documents with 3D Issue or on your own server.
- Document analytics: You can track the number of views and visitors within 3D Issue and get more advanced metrics by integrating with Google Analytics.
- It lets you create and publish your document relatively quickly
- Wide range of interactive elements to choose from
- Offers a self-hosting option for companies that need to keep all the content on their backend
- The software itself is slow and clunky
- The editor is non-intuitive; some features are difficult to find or don't work properly
- The software isn't cost-effective
Pricing: offers a 14-day free trial, paid plans start at $75/month (billed annually).
#7 Flipsnack vs. Issuu
Flipsnack is a simple and effective flipbook maker and a great Issuu alternative if you don’t have a PDF on hand. With Flipsnack, you can create a flipbook from scratch, customize it with your branding and interactive elements, and publish it publicly or privately—depending on your goals.
It’s easy to use on your own as well as with your team thanks to the collaboration tools the platform offers. And if you create high loads of content, you can use Flipsnack to automate part of the process, such as updating your catalogs dynamically.
- Interactivity: Flipsnack supports audio and video, iframe embeds, photo galleries, and product tags.
- Branding & design: You can customize your flipbooks with your brand elements, and publish them on a custom domain.
- Document analytics: You can see the number of views and visitors, average time spent, and user locations to learn more about your content and readers.
- Automation: Connect Flipsnack to your product database to update any product info in your content dynamically.
- Content protection: You can protect your content with a password or by publishing them as unlisted flipbooks.
- Doesn't require any source document, you can create everything from scratch
- Does everything you need and is a good option for all sorts of marketing and business content
- Flipsnack's editor can be pretty slow
- It's easy to mess up the formatting when designing in Flipsnack from scratch
- When you use a PDF to create a flipbook, the text in your flipbook is non-selectable which makes it difficult to work with some types of content
- When updating the flipbook content with a PDF, interactive content you've added before gets deleted and has to be re-added manually
Pricing: offers a free 14-day trial, paid plans start at $32/month.
#8 Marq vs. Issuu
Marq may not be a direct Issuu competitor, but this platform is still worth mentioning. It’s a great choice for enterprises who want to automate their content creation process as much as possible.
Marq’s fortes are an extensive resource library you can use for templates, videos, etc; collaboration tools, and integration options. So if you need to equip your content creation team with a powerful tool that weaves seamlessly into a bigger ecosystem, Marq fits that role perfectly.
- Interactivity and design tools: There are video, audio, link embedding, and a large template library.
- Collaboration and content management: Manage your content and team with template folders, filters, and user roles with unique permissions.
- Integrations: Marq integrates with design tools, such as Adobe InDesign, product management systems, email platforms, and more.
- Sharing: Publish your document as a link, as an embed, or as a post on social media.
- Analytics: Marq’s analytics is a bit different, as it focuses on letting you know how your team uses the platform to create and adopt the content.
- Perfect for enterprises that want to create, curate, and maintain lots of branded content
- Makes it easy to update dynamic content, such as product info, in your documents
- Marq offers design and account setup services which is crucial to a successful implementation of an enterprise-level platform
- While Marq is great for large organizations, small businesses and individual creators won't be able to justify its price
- Setting up the platform and making it work for you will take a considerable amount of time
Pricing: offers a free plan (limited to 3 documents), paid plans start at $10/month per user.
#9 Publuu vs. Issuu
Publuu is as straightforward as it can be. Like Issuu, FlippingBook, Flipsnack, and some others, it lets you convert PDFs into interactive documents, share them, and track how your readers interact with the content.
The software is easy to set up, too. So it may be a good alternative to Issuu if you publish content occasionally and look for something affordable to start with. Please note, however, that flipbooks created with Publuu lack in quality of text and may be difficult to read. If readability is your priority, other tools from the list may work better.
- Interactivity: Publuu supports video, audio, and in-line image gallery.
- Sharing: You can share as a link, as an embed, via QR code.
- Lead capture form: There’s an in-built lead collection form to gate the content.
- Content protection: Protect your document by password and by sharing as a restricted embed.
- Document analytics: You can track views, visitors, average time spent, and clicks to see how your content performs.
- Does the job: offers all the essential tools for creating interactive flipbooks
- The lowest plan includes branding and GIF-adding, so you can create flipbooks in your style from the very beginning
- The interface if friendly and the software is easy to master overall
- The quality of publication: the zoom feature is clunky, small texts are non-selectable and can be blurry
- No collaboration features even on higher plans
- No API integration or self-hosting option which makes it difficult for large companies to use the tool for high-load content production
Pricing: offers a free 14-day trial, paid plans start at $15/month.
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!