Calameo Alternative: 9 Reasons You Should Be Talking About It

I’ve been using online publishing software for quite some time, and was feeling frustrated that I couldn’t do precisely what I needed. I loved the Calameo app., but thought their pricing was a little expensive for all the features I wanted to use, and the free plan just wasn’t enough for my needs. That was until I found some reviews about the Calameo alternative Yumpu that I want to talk to you about today; a service with a generous free trial and tonnes of pro features to really light up your digital publishing world!

From frustrated to fabulous in seconds

calameo alternativeI’ve been struggling with digital publishing for some time now.

I wanted to make a real online magazine with flipping pages that did more for my readers but kept coming up against the same hurdles time and time again.

Despite having read the upload instructions in great detail, I still struggled to upload PDF document files with this digital magazine software, not to mention the issues with the upload size limit.

I checked again how to upload to Calameo, and digested all their guidelines and specifications as much as I could.

But still I found I can’t upload some types of file, or they just won’t upload for some reason; I was getting error after error.


I double checked the file size, format, specs, and settings, but nothing I could do seemed to work.

I didn’t want to pay a fortune for a service and looked everywhere for a promo code to make things cheaper, to no avail.

It seemed I was just trying to do too much with my files, and with my free upload account I was too restricted.

This was when I started searching for a Calameo alternative and came across some Calameo alternative reviews for a service I’d never heard of before.

It was free, so I thought I had nothing to lose by trying it out.

Boy, was I glad I did!


Not only were there way more upload options, but the time it took to upload was much, much less.

There was no restriction on upload file size, and I could use all the features I needed for free!

My requirements were met, and I was delighted.

Now, I can start creating a page flipping book or online catalogs in moments, complete with video, audio, and clickable links.

I don’t have to adhere to restrictive requirements, or to fuss about the size of my file.

I’m pleased to share my findings with you and to give you a workable Calameo alternative, which might just become your new favorite piece of free digital publishing platform.

Calameo Review: Do you think there is a realistic Calameo alternative?

Well, I will first give you a Calameo review, and later on, now that you have all the information needed, you can decide for yourself what you think about the Calameo alternative mentioned below.

So here is my review of everything you need to know.

What is Calameo?

calameo website
Calameo Website

Calameo was, until fairly recently, my number one choice of online flipbook publishing.

With this service, you can upload your PDF file or publisher documents, and have them converted into an HTML flipbook to share with your readers.

I’ve only ever used the free version, mainly because I prefer to save my cash for good coffee, but actually I found the upgrades to be a bit expensive really for the features offered.

Which functions exist?

Calameo does pretty much everything you’d expect from a flipping book maker.

For example:

  • Convert PDF to flipbooks
  • Share publications on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms
  • Advance planning of interactive publications (starting with the premium pan)
  • Interactive content
  • Google Analytics integration (only with the platinum plan)
  • Library hosting of your digital publication
  • Embed responsive digital publications on your own web sites
  • Works on all devices (mobile, tablet, PC desktop – Windows, Linux)

On the face of it, it does everything you’d expect it to.

But, in practice, it doesn’t do anything very well.

A painfully small upload limit, a ridiculously slow upload time and cripplingly expensive upgrades… it’s a flipbook maker, but not my first choice.

Not anymore.

Is Calameo free?

Calameo is free, yes.

Well, sort of.

There is certainly a free plan, but it’s pretty restrictive.

You can embed Calameo on WordPress with the free plan, but it’s impossible to remove Calameo logo embed in your pdf documents.

The miniscule upload limit makes it tricky to place any pretty pictures in your digital publication, and there are so many ads!

The free Calameo is good for trying it out, but any serious user will need to budget for an upgrade to one of their paid plans.

Which plans exist?

There are three main plans; basic, which is free, and the two paid services which are named premium and platinum.

The free account is a pretty basic affair, with only a small file size allowed and very limited access to publisher’s tools.

It is possible to embed Calameo on Facebook, but it’s a good idea to watch the tutorials with an embed example to understand how to do it.

The first tier is the premium plan, which gives you a few more options.

However, it’s not really a business account, because you’re still severely hampered in terms of your upload size, and can only have a maximum of 500 subscribers.

Not great.

The top tier is the platinum plan, and here you can remove the logo and embed responsive features throughout your document.

You can have up to 10,000 subscribers and can appoint up to 25 administrators to help with your publication.

However, each document is limited to 250MB, which can quickly get used up if you include lots of exciting features and images, and at the price that it is, I personally don’t think it’s great value for money.

How is Calameo priced?

The premium version, which is the first tier after the free service, is priced at $17 per month, which is the equivalent of $204 per year, excluding VAT.

The platinum level subscription is a hefty $53 per month, which adds up to $636 plus VAT per year.

These aren’t costs to be sniffed at, but if you want to embed code and other features, you’re going to need more than just the basic package.

How do I sign up for a paid service / plan?

Joining is easy – let me show you.

Enter the internet and simply go to the Calameo web site and sign in.

calameo sign up
Calameo Sign Up

You’ll be asked for your payment details, and whether you’d like to pay annually or monthly.

This software takes all major credit and debit cards, which should make it easy to sign up.

As soon as your subscription is activated, your premium or platinum account will be activated.

How much will it cost to use this service?

As mentioned above, the paid subscriptions start from $17 per month.

The Calameo alternative I am using, on the other hand, starts its ad-free service at just $10 (and offers more features).

If you can’t believe me, just visit their website.

How can Calameo be free?

The free service is the hook that the company uses to get you into their service, from where you will soon realize you need to start paying.

How does Calameo make money?

It’s quite simple really.

The company has two main income streams:

  1. The publishers
  2. The advertisers

See, users like me pretty soon realize they can’t get away with the free plan for long, and so we subscribe and hand over our hard-earned cash on a regular basis, so they make money that way.

The other route is for those individuals who simply can’t afford to upgrade and have to persist with the free plan.
Publications are laden with ads and the Calameo logo, which earns them revenue from their advertisers (and a bit of free publicity too).

Is Calameo free for readers?

Yes, it is.

Unless, of course, you want to charge subscribers to access your digital HTML5 magazine, which is always an option.

With this service, you can embed video, audio and more, and Calameo will restrict access to only those people on your subscriber’s list.

However, the free version doesn’t allow any subscribers at all, and on the paid versions your subscriber numbers are capped, so don’t count on this as a feature you can use very well.

How to order printed copies of publications?

This magazine publishing platform is primarily for online viewing, and it’s not really possible to order a printed copy of the digital magazine.

If you download and print it yourself, you’ll be missing all the embed responsive content, and won’t be able to use hyperlinks, for example.

You can print elements of the publications on there if the publisher allows it, but the most enjoyable experience is to view the beautiful publications online.

That’s a short Calameo review but now let’s get into the exciting part.

Here are nine things I simply adore about my Calameo alternative, which I am hoping will sway your opinion when you next need a page flip book maker.

Clickable links (hurrah!) and eight more reasons you’ll love this Calameo alternative

I wanted to create more than just an online PDF.

I wanted to give my readers a really interactive experience, packed with premium plan features, but without paying a ridiculous price.

I began looking for a publisher like Calameo, but with pro plan functionality that was either free or very affordable.

Guess what?

I found it in Yumpu, which is the best free alternative to Calameo.

If you don’t know Yumpu yet, don’t worry.

You will get to know it.

It will for sure help you engage customers with flip books!

Yumpu Website
Yumpu Website

Here are my nine good reasons you should sign up to this Issuu Calameo alternative for your pro reader needs and to publish your magazine.

  1. Clickable links: If you like your links to be embedded within the text, as well as having audio and video files, this Calameo alternative software does it better than most. You can link to your shop, web sites or social media platform, even on the basic plan, which, by the way, is free.
  2. Discoverable: For me, it’s crucial that I expose my work to like-minded readers, and to be able to do this effectively, my content needs to be discoverable. With some digital publishing platforms, the differences among the various plans mean not everything is searchable.
  3. Cross-device compatibility: Some of the Calameo alternative solutions I investigated tended to work better on small screens or large, but not both. With Yumpu, I found you could login from any device (Android, iPhone, tablet, PC), with no Flashplayer problems, no digital publishing issues, and no connection problems.
  4. Low discrepancy between pro vs free: Most of the features in the pro plan are available in the lower tier services, and there is a generous free trial to try out the enhanced features. Most places offer a 14-day trial, but with this Calameo alternative, it was a 30-day free account limit.
  5. Affordable paid services: The paid subscription for the adfree version of this Calameo alternative is significantly cheaper than the pricing, at just $10 for 30 days. Having an add free reader makes everything look much more professional, and as premium account prices go, this one is a winner.
  6. Branding accepted: Whether you go for the premium account free account or the full-service business account, with this Calameo alternative, your own branding is allowed. Rejoice! You already know how important it is to have brand recognition in today’s marketplace, and one of the problems with Calameo is the lack of brandability.
  7. Zero upload problems: Sometimes uploading to can be tricky. Sometimes it’s been bad enough I’ve wanted to cancel subscription. But with this alternative Calameo service, uploading from Microsoft Publisher, PDFs and more has been super easy.
  8. So many pro account features: The Calameo pro features are pretty generous, but nothing like the free features that this Calameo alternative brings. On both the free and pro account, there are bucket loads of fantastic features, and no max upload size, so it’s easy to add your Publisher page, no matter how complicated you’ve made it!
  9. Effortless integration and reporting: This Calameo alternative really is the bee’s knees in terms of both reporting and integration. Linking seamlessly with your social accounts makes it easy to spread the word, and with full Google Analytics support, this is a premium example of just how good online publisher tools have become. Plus its Search Engine Optimized!

And there are the nine reasons you should be talking about this best alternative Calameo software right now, in your business.

When you weigh up the pros and cons between Yumpu, Issuu and Calameo, the outcome is clear.

This good alternative has really set the bar for publishing, and as much as I’d give a positive Calameo review if I was asked, for me, this free online publishing platform wins!

Time to close Calameo account and create a new account that can do more?

Whether you’re into unpaid or paid content, I think you’ll agree that the Calameo alternative Yumpu is the winning outcome for all your publishing needs.

It’s super easy to sign up online, and the basic package is free.

This just makes me way too excited!

200w_d (5)

To be honest, you’ll probably have more trouble when you try to delete account with Calameo, so leave yourself time to remove account details to stop future marketing messages.

With this Calameo alternative, it’s super easy if you did want to cancel account details later down the line, so you’re not tied into anything at all.

Try my suggestion for your next publishing requirements, or let me know if you know of any other best alternative options that I haven’t covered here.

I enjoy reading your feedback, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Also feel free to share any of my articles! My recently published articles about Calameo vs Joomag and Flipsnack Alternatives might be of interest to you too.

If you would be interested in an article about  Issuu alternatives, Scribd, Fliphtml5 or any other publishing software to make digital magazines, just choose / recommend a topic and let me know 🙂

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