Looking for high-quality PDF magazines to enjoy on the go? Or, maybe you want to create PDF content, embed the file in your site, and share it with readers.
In this guide, we dive into all things PDF magazines.
We cover the pros and cons of this content format, whether or not you should create a PDF magazine or a digital magazine, and the best platforms—no matter what you’re looking for.
Keep reading for our top tool picks for reading and creating PDF magazines and for converting PDF files into mobile-optimized magazines that are easier to read on small devices.
What is a PDF magazine?
A PDF magazine is a digital publication distributed as a Portable Document Format (PDF). This a file format was created by Adobe to protect the formatting, fonts, and images and of a document, making it a good fit for distributing highly visual content like magazines, brochures, catalogs, reports, and other publications electronically.
A PDF magazine usually looks exactly like a print magazine and might include articles, images, and advertisements. PDF magazines can be easily viewed on various devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones, using PDF reader software.
Publishers opt for a PDF format because it provides a consistent and reliable way to present content across different devices while maintaining the intended layout and design. Readers can download the PDF file, making it a good option for offline reading.
A PDF magazine can be sent as an attachment via email or linked from a CTA button in an email newsletter. You can also embed it with a PDF reader in a page of your website so that readers can easily flip through the content. It can serve as a premium piece of content that readers need to pay for or a free content opt-in or upgrade as part of your content marketing efforts.
On the plus side, it is easy to create a PDF magazine with any online graphic design platform. If you already have a print version of your magazine, then you can just export is as a PDF file, embed it in your site, and you’re good to go.
PDF magazines are very difficult to read online. When reading on a mobile phone, readers have to pinch and zoom around the screen to view the content. Even when viewed on a computer or laptop, it’s hard to follow the complex formatting.
PDF magazines versus digital magazines
A PDF is a static document. Once created, it will have the same colors, fonts, and layout on any device and any screen size. This is not necessarily a benefit, however, because PDF files aren’t mobile-optimized. The text stays in the column and layout instead of filling the available space.
A digital magazine, on the other hand, is mobile optimized, much like a modern website, and can fill the available space with a single column of content.
PDF magazine example
Check out this example of a PDF travel magazine. As you can see, the content is not optimized for reading online. Readers need to use the zoom tool to make the font larger.
Digital magazine example
Now, compare that PDF magazine example to this example of a digital magazine created with eMagazines.
As you can see, eMagazines’ technology reflows the PDF content from Time Traveler into a clean, single-column view that is readable on any device.
Audio articles can be automatically added using AI.
3 platforms for reading PDF magazines
To read PDF magazines online, you can navigate to a website that offers multiple magazines or download their native apps.
The following platforms allow you to access millions of PDF magazines in one place.
FlipHTML5 is a PDF magazine embedding platform that offers an Explore tab for readers. Here, you can find millions of digital publications created by their global user base, allowing you to find all sorts of great free content.
Similar to FlipHTML5, Anyflip is an online platform for sharing and embedding PDF content. You can head over to their Explore tab to find free PDF magazines across all categories and in dozens of different languages.
With Flipboard, you can read online magazines and curated stories. You can also curate your own digital magazine by adding stories to your feed. Many articles are in a digital, mobile-optimized format, while some are PDF files that have been uploaded for online reading.
3 tools for creating PDF magazines
Do you want to create your own PDF magazine?
You’ll need to use a graphic design platform to create the layout and add your content. Below, we’ve got options for any experience level.
1. Adobe InDesign
Adobe InDesign is the premier graphic design tool for magazine creation. Use it to design a stunning cover and craft every page. There are professional templates to choose from, or you can design from scratch. Keep in mind that InDesign was developed for professional graphic designers, and it’s too complex for non-professional use.
Canva is the most popular online graphic design platform for non-professional designers. There are thousands of easy-to-use templates, including magazine covers, magazine tables of content, and magazine pages. You can add multiple pages and then export your design as a single PDF file.
Marq is another great option for creating a PDF magazine if you’re not a pro designer. They offer a brand templating platform that makes it easy to create more editions and special issues without having to work from scratch every time.
3 platforms for embedding your PDF magazine in your website
If you want to share your PDF magazine with readers online, the next step is to embed it in your website.
This makes it a little easier to read because users have the option to enter full-screen mode, use the zoom tool, and click the arrows to move through the pages.
Check out these popular options.
Publuu takes your PDF file and turns it into an interactive flipbook. You also get viewing analytics to help you discover which content is the most popular. And there are sharing tools for social media and email marketing.
Issuu is another option for PDF embedding. You can convert your PDF magazine files into flipbooks, social media posts, articles, and GIFs, making this a comprehensive platform for content promotion.
With FlowPaper, you can turn any PDF magazine, catalog, or brochure into a realistic PDF flipbook that is can embedded on any page of your website. The platform comes with Google-friendly content crawling and indexing to increase your chances of ranking your PDF magazine for important keyphrases.
3 platforms for converting PDF magazines into mobile-optimized digital magazines
As shown in the digital magazine example above,
eMagazines is a trusted solution for creating mobile-optimized digital magazines. Our platform converts the PDF file from your print version into a beautiful online magazine with clean design, on-brand fonts and colors, and single-column content that is a breeze to read. We also offer all of the services you need to create, distribute, and promote the digital edition of your magazine, with no need for mobile apps or user passwords.
MagLoft is a digital publishing platform designed to seamlessly transform traditional PDF magazines into digital editions. The platform offers a PDF converter, mobile app and website management tools, a content editor, and customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities.
Mag+ is a magazine publishing solution offering tools to create, manage, and publish interactive content. Features include multichannel publishing, interactive content creation, content management system, performance tracking, and monetization analytics.
Want to create the absolute best online reading experience? Learn more about eMagazines.