A new kind of flip book

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Angel fish


If you are somewhere around my age, your idea of a flip book will probably be a series of drawings in a small notebook with plain pages, each one just a tiny bit different to the last so that when you flip the pages quickly your drawing springs to life. Instant animation. I used to love making these as a small child. My best was one where I made a little stick figure go down a slide. 

But no this is not the type of flip book I am going to talk about today. There is now a new type of flip book, a digital flip book. Of course there is. I hear you say. First photographs got digitalised, then videos, then came e-books for electronic readers. Kindle of course is the leader in this.

Flip books are a bit different though. They are created from PDFs of your documents and you can do it yourself. If you search flip book you will find quite a few digital publishing platforms offering a quick and easy flip book service. You simply upload your PDF document and the software turns it into a flip book with pages that can turn like a real book. How cool is that? 

As a publisher I am always looking for new ways to present online material so that it will be pleasing and eye catching and when I heard about flip books, I was intrigued. Would this be something I could make use of for Poetry Space?

My first thought was the quarterly online showcase of poems. Each quarter a guest editor chooses the ten poems they like best from a big batch of poems submitted by poets from all over the world. This publication would be perfect  as a flip book. Rather than just scrolling down through the poems as readers do now, they will be able to read and appreciate it like they would a magazine or book. .

So to try it out, I did a quick internet search and found a product I liked the look of  called paperturn. I took out a free 14 day trial and started exploring what it could do for me.

It took me a couple of goes. At first I tried to convert a PDF with a double page spread and ended up with a weird looking landscaped book with everything in the wrong place. So I went back and changed the PDF to one page at a time viewing and then converted it to a flip book. The results are great. It was so easy.

My flip book


I have pasted the link to the flip book above. I would have liked to have embedded the book into the website and the software gave me a code to do this but I could not make it work. This is something to work on. If you open this using a desktop (and I presume a laptop) the flip feature works. I have tried the link on my mobile and it just looks like a PDF that toy can scroll sideways which is okay but not really a flip book.

However I can see the potential for flip books. I could publish the quarterly online showcase of poems as a flip book and it might also lend itself to bigger projects such as the photo and poem challenge that I have not yet managed to publish due to time and financial restraints.

Photos and text together would look great in a flip book.  I might even be able to add some sound, perhaps poets narrating some of their work or music?  It would also be a great way to offer sample pages from books and pamphlets in the Poetry Space catalogue. This could be exciting. I want to try more platforms first though before I commit to anything. 

For more on flip books see this article where Michael Wilson tests two more flip book publishing platforms: Joomag VS Issue

Have fun.