Web-Based Applications: Issuu

14 Mar

issuu-logo1One of the things that we’ve been looking for lately is a good online book previewer to integrate into the individual product pages at our e-commerce site (as well as using elsewhere as applicable). The first good application I remember coming across like this was Amazon.com’s system. Another one is used by National Academies Press. Both these systems, though, are proprietary and what we needed was a system that was robust enough for our purposes and, because we don’t have tons of money for a new stand-alone application or one off the shelf, at the right price.

Thankfully, I think we’ve finally found what we’re looking for with Issuu.

As described on its Web site, Issuu allows you to publish documents online via their platform for free. (While there is an Issuu Pro option, the basic level is working well for us.) Some representative examples of what gets uploaded there include:

From what I’ve seen through an informal, not scientific, assessment book publishers are using Issuu primarily for book catalogs. But there’s no reason not to use it for more. So far, in addition to uploading our catalog, we’ve also used Issuu’s sharing capabilities regarding printing/downloading to utilize the following options:

  • Full text, downloadable & printable—(TSTC 40th Anniversary Cookbook, Shelbert Goes to Summer Camp)
  • Full text, no download or printing—(biotechnology, nanotechnology, home technology integration, fuel cell, and gaming technology forecasts)
  • Table of contents & sample chapter, downloadable and printable—(Biomed TechCareers, Contemporary Math Using Maple and TI-89, Installing & Administering MS Windows Server Operating Systems and others)

(Plus, we’re beginning to link to these previews from individual product pages at our e-commerce site. For example, there’s a link at the Taking Charge page under the jpeg of the cover that goes directly to here.)

Anyway, overall it seems to be working pretty well as we’ve uploaded previews and/or full text of many of our titles with the rest coming in the near future at our Issue page. I will say that we looked pretty long and hard at Google Books but it was going to be to harder to integrate with the software at our e-commerce site. (And besides, do Google and Amazon.com have to be source of everything that is innovative and new!?!) Plus, Issuu just seemed to be the easiest to get started with. That being said, of course, once we get this first set of previews done Google Books is next, especially given that the book info there has links that go directly to booksellers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, Books-A-Million, Borders, and Indiebound.

This is all thanks to Sarah-Jane Sanders over at marketing & communications here on campus at TSTC Waco. A while back I was kvetching once again about my inability to find a good book previewer application—after all, as Marge Simpson says “It’s easy to be critical” while Homer follows up with “And it’s fun too”—but it’s thanks to her pointing out that TSTC Harlingen has been using Issuu for a while—for example, putting their college catalog online—that we’ve actually got a solution.

Mark

2 Responses to “Web-Based Applications: Issuu”

  1. Ron Sanders March 14, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    That is VERY cool. I love the way it works – easy, fast, and intuitive. That Sarah-Jane is smart!

    (She took after her mother)

  2. kiwilman March 16, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    thanks keep posting,Im really enjoying your site

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