Posted by Anthony Lewis
What is it?
Issuu is a brilliantly simple and accessible digital publishing platform. Transform your pdfs into stylish interactive online flash magazines, for free with and with no hassle. Like YouTube for magazines.
One of Time Magazine’s 50 Best Websites of 2009, it makes publishing and sharing visual documents incredibly easy and just a little bit sexy.
Why should I care?
In a frequently impersonal and detached online world, Issuu documents can provide a tangible and personal experience. The practical advantages of this method of document sharing are clear: no downloading of files to the reader’s computer (although that is an option); easy, rapid sharing through all the major online social channels; the documents can be embedded on almost any web page, and are now mobile, with an Android app available and an iPhone version on the way.
Perhaps the biggest plus for Issuu, though, particularly compared to the competition, is the design of the viewing frame. Completely intuitive and simple, with a full screen option, the reader can fully engage with the content. This is the best virtual simulation of the real magazine reading experience that I’ve been able to find. Therefore, it offers you a great way to share your content in a way that will make the reader genuinely enjoy and engage with what you’re trying to show them.
Whether it’s a personal and private gift for a specific person, or information to be shared with the whole world, Issuu provides a simple, effective tool for publishing your content online.
Anything else I should know?
Issuu isn’t the only option, and has its drawbacks. The nice embedding options aren’t compatible with wordpress.com pages (such as this one), although embedding on wordpress.org sites is as simple as you’d expect. You can only upload pdf files, and text in your document can’t be selected or searched for as easily as you’d like. If you’re looking to share text heavy documents in a similar way, try Scribd, which lets you upload documents in a range of formats and makes your text searchable. There is the customary “Pro” option to remove the fairly unobtrusive adverts, but it’s not really needed unless you’re a very large scale publisher.
There are whole load of customization features and little perks, such as “smart look” which can automatically replace all of the downloadable documents on your webpage with swish online publications, so no more downloading is required (again, unless desired).
Go check it out for yourself and browse through the huge library of mainstream magazines and obscure publications already posted.
There’s potential for a lot of fun, and a slightly different way to share your content with the world. Here’s one we made earlier: An Introduction to Wisdom London
Think you can do better? Show us, we’d love to see how you use Issuu.
Ever Wondered About is a new series on the Wisdom London blog, where we aim to demystify and explore what’s shaping our social interactions. Coming up: Ning, Paper.li and PPC. Wondering about anything else? Tell us and we’ll investigate!
Ever wondered about Diaspora? You’ll find this helpful.