FLIPPING BRILLIANT

What do you do when you’re a Dutch Bible publisher, and you find yourself stuck with too much Bible paper? If it were me, you would immediately amass a huge squadron of awesome paper aeroplanes, but in the case of Jongbloed BV, you invent a new book format with the strangely provocative “Dwarsligger”. Here is a strangely provocative ad which will give you an idea of what it’s like to slip a Dwarsligger into your back pocket. If you know what I mean.

As you an see, it’s a mobile-phone sized book that flips open vertically, hence the English name, The Flipback. The thin yet strong Bible paper allows a normal book to fit into a smaller, slimmer size. It has been somewhat of a success in Holland, with over 100 titles available in the new format and a million copies in print. Hachette has exclusive rights in Australia, and the first 11 titles will drop July 12. It’s a pretty decent mix of titles:

Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy – John le Carré
The Adventure of English – Melvyn Bragg
Liar’s Poker – Michael Lewis
One Day – David Nicholls
The Other Hand – Chris Cleave
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
Misery – Stephen King
Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde
A Million Little Pieces – James Frey
Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
Piece of My Heart – Peter Robinson

Here’s a little more info. Now with British accents!

I’ve had a chance to play with one of these Flipbacks, and it was pretty great. The important thing to note is that the text has not been shrunk down; what you have to get used to is a smaller page size (and, obviously the “flip” pages. It stays open in your hand well and is indeed pocket-sized! They will retail for $20, making them cheaper than your average paperback.

The main drawback, for me at least, is that (for now) the titles are limited to Hodder’s Sceptre imprint. The books I’d want to read from this initial release I’ve already read, and the next raft of titles (due October) are almost exclusively mass-market thrillers. Critics will say this is just another spasm in the final death throes of the printed word (“Why would I want to buy something the size of an eReader when it’s made of paper?), but in my opinion, anything that may get someone into (or back into) reading is fine by me.

What do you y’all think about the new format? Will it be as successful as this innovation below?

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