My librarian friend Tamara sent me a link to this Guardian article about the lightweight flipback book format that’ll be available in England this summer. It’s portable, pocketable and obviously marketable.
The Sly Oyster reports the flipback debuted in Holland in 2009.
Whether or not it’ll kill Kindle, as postulated by the rather overinflated headline on Patrick Kingsley’s piece in the Guardian, the idea of a sideways-bound book, with ultra-thin pages, is a fascinating one. I expect there’d be fewer production costs; although there are more pages in a flipback version, the paper itself must cost less than what’s used in traditionally bound books. Might that translate to a lower shelf price–or am I dreaming?
The convenience factor might cause readers to tote literature around more frequently–much like the invention of small digital cameras has encouraged folks to carry their handy Canon at all times.
Mr. Kingsley reports the construction allows the flipbook to stay open on its own. Wouldn’t that be great for those who read while they exercise? Or for new moms who want to read while nursing or pumping? Some knitters have turned to audio books to get a fix of words while their hands keep busy. But perhaps, with the flipback book, they could set the book next to the pattern, and read both at the same time. (Or maybe not.)
I do love traditional hardcovers and paperbacks, but any innovation in the publishing industry these days is a positive one. More specifically, anything that gets people to buy books is fantastic, whether Kindle or Nook or flipback format. The industry is changing, slowly, because the world has already changed.
Perhaps if the flipback migrates across the ocean, we’ll see American writers tighten their work down, minimizing page counts to please the pocket market. Such an innovation in form might even result in a sizable wave of new readership for novellas and short-story collections–or maybe now I’m really dreaming.
What do you think?
UPDATE: Check out my latest post about flipbacks! A lot of the information is courtesy of Jongbloed BV, the company that developed the product. Stay tuned for an interview with Arthur van Keulen of Jongbloed on Monday.