Published on: 10-05-2012

Browsable PDFs - the mammoths of the internet

I often get asked if our tool is a browsable PDF. The answer is ‘No’. Instant Magazine allows you to make magazines that have been created specifically for screens. This requires a completely different approach. This article explains our views on this approach and how our tool allows the user to determine where and how he reads your magazine.

Are browsable PDFs not suitable for screens then?

They are and they aren’t. You use so-called pageFlip tools. There are tons of them: Flipsnack, aXmag, ePageCreator and so on. I’ve never completely understood them. They assume that you make a paper version and then translate this one-to-one for your screen. But the page orientation on screens is often landscape as opposed to portrait in paper magazines. In practice, a browsable PDF is almost never legible without zooming in. What a pain.

One-dimensional communication, is that even still acceptable in 2016?

‘Real’ online magazines allow you more freedom in what you offer your reader - not just text and images. Enhance your magazine with video and sound. Integrate social media. Create direct links to order forms. Ensure that your article has a clear, layered structure – short pieces of text with a ‘read more’ button. Use the plethora of possibilities you have in an online environment.

Not really accessible

Content in a browsable PDF often isn’t searchable. Not by the user, and not by Google either. Your magazine will not be found by search engines. Also, 90 percent of the time, the ‘output’ is Flash. Flash unfortunately is not supported on iPhones and iPads. In conclusion: if you want to offer your target group good service on a screen, then create something that really is suitable for screens.

But I already have a printed magazine! Wouldn’t a browsable PDF be much more practical?

I understand what you mean. From your perspective, that is. But your readers won’t understand. Zooming in and out is not practical. Not being able to play videos is not practical. Not being able to share every page via social media is not practical. Not being able to open a magazine on your smartphone is not practical. Horizontal scrolling is not practical.

We also understand that a browsable PDF saves time and money, making it very appealing. This is why we have made Instant Magazine in such a way that it is possible to produce an online magazine super fast. Extremely suitable for screens. Believe it when you see it? Request a 14-day free trial and discover the endless possibilities our tool has to offer.

Ready to start creating a real online magazine? Get in touch! Call to +31 (0)20 303 2822 or mail to daan@instantmagazine.com.

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