People exaggerate WordPress powers more than 25% of the sites on web. In reality, it is easy to create content and blog sites with WordPress as a standalone content management system. But you need a premium plugin for any additional need. And most of the times the premium plugins also will not fulfill your needs and you still need to spend money for support and further customization. Creating an eBooks library is one such a task in WordPress.
In this article we will explain how did we create flipbook style eBooks in WordPress.
Flipbook Plugin for WordPress
Among few available flipbooks plugins, the most suitable one for creating flippable eBooks in WordPress is the Responsive Flipbook Plugin. It will cost you $36 and you need to purchase the plugin from Codecanyon. This plugin also has two add-ons – one for converting your PDF files ($16) into eBooks and other is for offering print option ($14).
Now that it will cost you $66 in total for which you can easily buy any high-end theme for your WordPress site. Also the plugin needs the minimum memory limit (WP_MEMORY_LIMIT) of 64M and maximum inputs vars per request (MAX_INPUT_VARS) to be set to 2000. Some shared hosting companies may not allow you to setup these parameters. So we strongly recommend to consult with your hosting company before purchasing this plugin.
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What Flipbook Plugin Does?
Well, if you are not aware or never looked into flipbooks in the past then it will look something like below:
The main plugin will simply allow you to create eBooks using the page editor. This page editor is a special editor added by the plugin inside your WordPress admin panel. Remember this is not WordPress post editor, it is a separate editor offered by the plugin. The PDF add-on will allow you to convert your exiting PDF files into an eBook format. But the problem here is that all the pages will be in JPEG image format and search engines can’t index them.
How to Create Flipbook Style eBooks in WordPress?
Purchase and install the plugin on your WordPress site either through admin panel or using FTP. After activation, the plugin will create a menu named “Flip Books” with some sub-menu items as shown below.
Click on the “Flip Books” menu to go to the dashboard. Here you can see all your existing eBooks and the options to convert PDF and create a new eBook. Remember, convert PDF is a paid add-on which will appear only after you install the PDF add-on.
Creating eBook with Editor
Click on the “Create New eBook” button. There are numerous options to fill in the next screen like book name, border, navigation, pagination, etc. Frankly every aspect of a physical book is included in these settings. On top, you have around 10 predefined styles to choose the settings.
We recommend you to view their demo and choose one of the predefined styles as a starting point. Clicking on the “Save Settings” option will create an additional tab with the name “Add Pages”.
Adding Page to Your eBook
Go to the “Add Pages” section and click on the “Add Your First Page” button to go the page editor.
The page editor will allow you add backgrounds, text content and upload images or videos. You can easily create beautiful and search engine indexable eBooks using the page editor.
The only problem is that it will take certain time for you to get the proportionate height and width that suits the size on the screen for your theme. Once you get the hands on it, you can make wonderful pages as shown in their demos. You can also add custom CSS to each of your eBook page in page editor.
The tools section on the page editor will allow you to upload images in bulk. These images will be used for the pages instead of text / image / video content. Here you will have to upload normal and larger images for each single page. The larger images will be used when the user zoom the page and read.
Converting PDF to eBooks
This is similar to image upload option with the difference that you can directly convert PDFs to eBook format. You will see “Convert PDF” button, once you have purchased and installed the PDF To Flipbook Extension add-on. Click on the “Convert PDF” button and enter the basic details for your flipbook.
Under step 2, choose the PDF file from you computer and then click on the “Convert PDF” button in step 3. The pages in your PDF will be converted as JPEG images and used as individual pages of the eBook. Since these are images search engines will not index the content of the eBooks.
All the created eBooks will be shown in the dashboard. You can delete or edit the book and page settings any point of time.
Inserting eBooks in Posts
Now that you have created eBooks using page editor or converted your PDF files. The next step is to create a library using the shortcode. The plugin offers three shortcodes to insert an eBook in your post or page. Go to WordPress post editor under “Posts > Add New” or to the page editor “Pages > Add New”. You will see an additional flipbook icon with the following three options.
- Insert Flipbook – allow you to insert individual eBook
- Insert Shelf – allow you to insert multiple eBooks in a shelf like a library. Here you can further customize the styles of the shelf and the titles.
- Insert Popup – insert eBooks with a link so that it will open as a popup when clicking on the link.
Readers can open an eBook in a normal or fullscreen or zoomed mode to read the content online.
Features of Responsive Flipbook Plugin for WordPress
- Good animation with flipping and page turn sound.
- Large number of customizing options for books and pages.
- Bulk image upload allows you to use your images for eBook.
- Page editor will allow to create interactive eBooks with images and videos.
- RTL support is available.
- Mobile zoom function allows users to view the eBooks in a readable format.
- Full screen and popup mode.
- Responsive and books can be viewed easily in smaller mobile devices.
- Elegant bookshelf to create a library.
- Shortcode options to insert books in widget area.
- Even larger PDFs can be converted to books easily.
- Easy to create table of content, grid view and align the navigations in different styles.
- Predefined styles are helpful to have eBooks with different styles.
Points for Concern
- Price of the plugin is high. The support from the author is good but after a year of free support you should pay additional $27.13 to get the six months of extended support. In addition, you should also pay separately for the add-on support. This is extremely high cost in our opinion and not affordable for normal users.
- You should go to author’s website for creating support tickets.
- Without PDF add-on, you may need to spend lot of time in creating books.
- Image content will not be indexable, so PDF add-on or bulk image upload may not be much useful from search engine perspective.
- Bookshelf will be very small on mobile devices. You should adjust the width with the number of books and create additional rows separately. Plugin will not do this automatically.
- Plugin is suitable for small number of eBooks. When you have hundreds of eBooks then the site will become very slow. There are no options to control the loading of CSS and JS files. The plugin files will be loaded on all the pages of your site making the entire site slow. This is the reason we have hosted the eBooks in a separate subdomain.
- Also the conversion of PDF will fail when the author’s server is busy.
- The plugin may not work smoothly with all the themes, especially if your theme heavily depends on jQuery.
Responsive Flipbook plugin for WordPress is definitely a good plugin for creating a flipbook showing individual eBooks or as a bookshelf. The PDF extension will help you to convert all your PDF files to an online readable eBooks. But the main plugin and PDF add-on will cost you $50 with one year free support. The plugin needs quality hosting and does not have option to load the CSS / JS files only on the required pages. This will drag down the page loading speed even though there are no eBooks on that page. So our recommendation is to buy the plugin only if you have good hosting plan and planning to showcase limited number of eBooks on a dedicated site or on a subdomain.
- Good design.
- Multiple demos.
- Decent support.
- Affect site speed.
- High resource needed for the plugin.
- Additional add-ons needed for full functions.