The format of a printed book has stood the test of time for many years, only really changing when the paperback was introduced in 1935. But of course like most things in this world books can be improved on, or at least that’s what Dutch publisher Royal Jongbloed thought as in 2006 when the first Flipback Book was released. I thought I would try this format of book and see is it would revolutionise the way I read or if it was just a fad.
This is where I came across the first issue. Flipback Books originated in the Netherlands and are hugely popular there as well as other European countries but they haven’t taken off hugely in the UK or the US so as a result there isn’t a huge selection of books that I could pick from. I wanted to read Misery by Stephen King as this was a book I really wanted to read but the cheapest copy I could find was £619.52 so I did the next reasonable thing and I bought the cheapest Flipback book I would find. This was Piece of my heart by Peter Robinson. Now just so you know I never intended to read this book all the way through, I just wanted to maybe read a chapter and experience the book format, the fact that I did enjoy the book was just a very nice side effect.
One of the main reasons that these books are so popular and could become so popular in the UK is they’re small but mighty, about half the size of a regular soft back book but still fitting in the story. The book open upwards and read left to right, the font size slightly smaller and the paper is extremely thin.
All these things mean it can be read with one hand standing on a train or bus, you’re even able to turn the page with the single hand. I love this concept, allowing the convenience of an kindle but still supporting the print book industry. It also lays flat with how the spine works, allowing it to lay across a table without closing itself.
I think this kind of book would appeal to people who like e-readers but I don’t think it’ll replace it fully, a flipback offers things like the single hand read but it is still just one book.
Buuuuuttt I really don’t like this format. The thin pages don’t feel nice to read, early on in the book I wanted to flip back to another page near the front and this turned out to be an almost impossible task. It feels very fragile and I prefer something that feels a little more solid. It also feels awkward to read at home, curled up on the couch or laying in bed reading doesn’t feel comfortable with something so small.
I do understand why the format is so good and I really wish it would become more popular, I think it would help introduce a lot of people into reading printed books but I don’t think it’s going to replace print books or even e-readers because of how uncomfortable it all feels. I think it’ll be a fad, something for book bloggers like me to talk about and put on the bookshelf but nothing else.
I really recommend you give it a try for yourself though, experience it and maybe fall in love with it.
Check out my last blog post here where I talk about why it’s not fair to compare books and movies.