How to create an emagazine or catalogue flipbook using Issuu

an issuu e-magazineEmagazines are an awesome way to create content you can use in your online marketing efforts. It’s fun flipping through the pages, and you can create hotspots to link to other content throughout the book to run competitions or promote products.

As I’ve produced a number of electronic magazines (emagazines) in the past two years, I thought you might like to try it too.

#1 Create your electronic magazine

Depending on your graphic design skills, you can create an emagazine using desktop publishing software like Adobe Indesign or even just in MS Word or Publisher. As I’m a professional designer, I use Adobe CS5 for all of my graphic design projects. If you have no experience with layout and design, this is a job you can outsource to a professional graphic designer. Most good designers will cost between $60 to $120 per hour but, if you have something you can offer them in return, you may be able to barter for services. Also, up-and-coming designers may also be interested in big projects like this so they can bolster their portfolios.

Things to keep in mind if you’re DIYing your emagazine:

  • Check your image resolution. Even though it’s an online publication, you’ll still need crisp, clean photographs. I usually ask people to submit large images in 300dpi so that I can reduce the resolution myself if need be.
  • Make sure you have lots of RAM. Trying to produce a large publication on a slow computer is like water torture. Just sayin’
  • If you need incidental graphics, you can buy stock images or have a designer create images for you.
  • Set styles. When producing a publication it’s important to have consistent styles. Set up styles before you import your text so that when you place text in your document, you don’t have to go back through and apply the styles manually.
  • Print it out to proof-read and, if you can, get someone else to proof-read it too. If you’ve been staring at something for hours, it’s hard to see the mistakes and typos.

#2 Create a PDF

Now that you’ve finished designing your publication, you need to create a PDF. Because you’re uploading to Issuu, you’ll want to make sure the images are as clean as possible. So, I don’t recommend using the “smallest file size” option. I use “Print quality” or “Press Quality”. The other reason for this is that you can order prints through Issuu as well. If you only upload a file that has poor resolution, it won’t print well.

#3 Upload your PDF into Issuu

Once you’ve created an Issuu account, you can upload your publication to the website. Make sure you fill out the keyword section and link the publication to your website, so people know where to go to get more information.

setting up keywords in Issuu

#4 Edit your Issuu Publication

Once your publication is uploaded, you can then edit it to add hotspot links to content throughout the emagazine. Issuu is smart. It automatically creates links to URLs in your document, but you’ll need to double check them to make sure they link to the right places.

To Edit, you simply click on the publication you want to edit in “My Library” and on the next screen, select “Edit”.

editing your issue e-magazine

Once open in the editor, select “large bitmap” so that it is easier to select areas.

You then use the box tool to surround areas you want to create hotspots in.

editing your Issuu publication

When you’ve made the necessary changes, save them by clicking on “Save” and close the window.

#5 Share your publication on social media

This is the fun part! To share on Facebook, I now create a jpg of the front cover and share that, including a link to the flipbook on Issuu. The reason I do it this way is because links aren’t as visible on Facebook Page newsfeeds. It also means I can edit the accompanying “description” and can share as a sponsored story if I wish to.

You can embed the publication directly onto your website. I have a WordPress self-hosted website, so can embed the document easily into a text widget.

embedding an Issuu publication on your website

You can share the direct link with anyone via email or newsletter and use the direct link on Twitter as well.

Make sure you tag other people involved in the publication so that it shows up on their pages and in their notifications as well.

#6 Evaluate your publication’s performance

Issuu includes a very cool stats widget which can help you evaluate your publication’s performance. This gives you some really useful information on what your readers like and don’t like.

statistics on Issuu

So, if you want to give flipbooks a go, try it out! Issuu is free to use and you can upgrade to a pro account if you don’t want the sidebar ads to show. To check it out go to

And, if you need help creating an e-magazine, check out my emagazine creation and publishing service here.

  • Celina Johnson

    Love this Cas. I saw Issu recently and thought ‘I must use that!’ Your blog post makes it sound super simple.

    • Cas McCullough

      Glad to be of help Celina!

  • Daniel Oyston

    just gave it a go – worked a treat and looks great – thx

  • Guntram Bechtold

    Great Tutorial. I’ve recently found out about – Its similar but works with HTML5

    • Cas McCullough

      Thanks! I’ll have to check that other one out. Appreciate you sharing.

  • Kelly Calark

    See my work

    • Kelly Calark

      It has flipping corner which I prefer better than Issuu.

  • Zekrom kyuurem

    is there a way to make the old embed from issuu into the new one(HTML5)? i have tried hard to find how can i do that but i cant find anything.

    • Cas McCullough

      Hi Zekrom, I haven’t revisited Issuu in a while so will make a note to do an updated article sometime soon. There are a tonne of new magazine publishing tools available now.

  • anonymous

    what size are the magazine covers and the insides though?

    • AgentIHD

      2124 x 3000 pixels
      (7.08 x 10 inches)

      This is size is in 300 dpi.

  • Beaufighter

    Newer user and struggling with what hopefully is something basic. Trying to use a style created in a previous month’s widget but cannot access previous months’ styles; have to create a new style, recreating the previous month’s style every month. Am I high, or does that seem absurd?

  • Linda

    Great article! There’s a new flip book web application on the market called – maybe you’d like to check it out?

  • Leo Salmy

    I wonder if yo could help in relation to a simple editing problem with ISSUU.
    Could you tell me how to publish my document avoiding margin? Indeed, each time I upload an image, I have got the margin all around. It must be easy to solve this technical issue but I have no idea how to do it!
    Thanks for any advice.