Chicago Tribune

Are Online Flipbooks Making a Comeback?


Online Flipbooks are like CDs and tapes; they were popular once but soon cast into the sea of obscurity by new advances in technology, destined to be included on the “Remember this retro technology” pages on Buzzfeed and shared on Facebook as relics of a bygone technical age. Traditional paper flipbooks haven’t fared as badly and are still used here and there – and the London International Animation Festival typically features a Flipbook Challenge so they’re still in pop culture and current news, but online flipbooks (usually created using Flash which is also a dying breed) sadly seemed to decline as new technologies came in, such as HTML5.

However, could we see all of that change? The Chicago Tribune has launched a Flash based flipbook to showcase their evening news edition of the paper. It looks like a tabloid and is available online for readers, although anyone using an Apple smart device will be unable to view it, as Apple do not support Flash and haven’t since 2010.

So why would they have made the decision to launch their evening news as a Flipbook? Well, as they are Flash based, they can be manipulated for great graphics and animations and as such are an easy way to replicate a printed version of the content on the internet that looks slick to users. Also, as a marketing gimmick, this is quite a good way to get their name in the news for doing something a bit different to everyone else!

So, if online flipbooks are making a comeback, could we see a rise in popularity for paper versions? Back when flipbooks were the “in thing”, it wasn’t uncommon to create them and save them as PDFs, which then meant they could be shared safely without the risk of being edited by other users (at least, not easily). This is still a technique that is used today, although with the advent of PDF editing software such as Infix, editing them is no longer the chore that it used to be. If Flipbooks are due to be the next comeback queens, saving them as PDFs and editing them as and when needed is definitely the best way to go!

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