8 Tools to Create a Digital Annual Report

Advanced, Marketing

By Jeremy Reis

Do you want to go beyond simply uploading a PDF to your site for people to read your annual report? Create a flip book style digital presentation to take your annual report to the next level. Instead of downloading the PDF, the reader can click thru and read your annual report on your site, or on a third party site. There are many options to create a flip book with your nonprofit annual report ranging from downloadable software to hosted web services.

What features should you look for?

  • HTML5 support. Many older tools created Adobe Flash files to support flip book animations and interactivity. Most browsers are disabling Flash and many platforms (like all iPhones and iPads) do not support Flash. HTML5 is a web standard with animation and greater layout control than we’ve ever had in the past.
  • File downloads. Some tools offer you the ability to download the HTML5 output files so you can retain and host the flip book yourself, if desired. With this feature, you’re able to download the files and stop paying monthly for the service.
  • Remove advertising. As a nonprofit, you’ll want to turn off banner ads as a part of the flip book. You never know what may be advertised if a hosted solution is placing ads on your annual report.
  • Search. Allows the reader to search your document for specific words.
  • Embedded videos. Embedding videos directly into your flip book provides an engaging experience a PDF file can’t replicate.
  • Lead gen forms. Create a conversion tool with your annual report to gather email leads of readers.

Here are several options I’ve found to help you create a digital nonprofit annual report:


Issuu is one of the most popular options to create an online version of your annual report. It is a hosted web service ranging from $0 to $299 a month ($269 a month when paid annually). The tool is full-featured allowing easy PDF conversion, no banner ads option, the ability to sell access to documents, stats, and customizable embed.

Instant Flipbook

Instant Flipbook is one of the better solutions for organizations that want to host their flip book themselves. This is different than a web service – with a web service, you’re often provided code that you put onto a webpage to embed your flip book. When you host the book yourself, you upload the necessary files to your web server and create the page to host the flip book. This is for an organization that has technical support. Instant Flipbook offers search, videos, and more. It is priced per book you create and as you create more books, you receive discounts for the later books you create. The price per book ranges from $77 for the first book to $47 a book when you create 20+ flip books.

Flipping Book

Flipping Book creates HTML5 – interactive – documents for your website with analytics, lead generation form support, with custom branding. Flipping Book offers both a hosted platform (from $44 to $179 a month) or downloadable Windows software to create self hosted HTML5 documents ($699 for a single user license). Flipping Book is one of the most expensive options.


DCatalog is a hosted solution that may be a good fit for organizations with high digital documentation needs. The platform allows for complex linking in documents and customizable forms. It is best suited for organizations looking for a platform to host multiple types of documents. Pricing is TBD.


FlipBuilder offers a software solution for Mac, Windows, iPads, and Android devices to create and read flipbooks. The company offers a variety of solutions from standalone software to plugins for popular software such as PowerPoint and Word. They also offer templates so you can create a good looking flip book if you don’t already have a design. The Flip PDF and Flip PDF Professional software packages are $99 and $299 respectively. The Professional version adds the ability to embed more content such as YouTube videos.


FlipDocs is another online service that allows you to create flip books on a “pay as you go” basis. The site starts at $30 for a flip book PDF conversion. The site has fewer features than most of the competitors reviewed, but it does have a cost savings over the other site.


FlipSnack is a full featured PDF to HTML5 transformation tool that allows you to add in interactive elements such as videos. It is a software-as-a-service solution ranging from $0 to $24 per month. The service produces great looking flip books for one of the lowest per month costs.


AnyFlip is one of the more full featured flip book creation services ranging from $0 to $299 for the year. It has many of the features of higher priced solutions such as embedding rich media (like videos) and selling access to content. The company offers a Microsoft Office plugin to create flip books directly from within Office applications.



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