Despite owning both a Sony Reader and an iPad with Kindle app - and enjoying both - I do not subscribe to the notion that the traditional paper-based book is doomed. People will likely always want books whether that is for the smell, the touch and feel or the decorative qualities. I can't quite describe why I care about owning real books. Just because. The fact that it is indescribable, however, does not make those feelings any less real. I feel it acutely and deeply.
That said, it is likely that fewer people will want books as other means of distribution of the core content become available. It also seems likely therefore that publishers will need to adapt to survive. And so I was delighted to receive m first "Flipback" - a pocket-sized and portable but full-length rendition of Peter Robinson's excellent Alan Banks novel, Piece of My Heart (review).
As you can see from the photo above, the flipback - a concept launched in the Netherlands 18 monhts ago and already popular on the continent - fits into the palm of the hand. The paper is very thin and the text obviously pretty small, although not noticably smaller than a regulation paperback. It is just about possible - although not easy - to read one-handed, and the book opens north to south rather than west to east. It took a while to think through how to describe that, so there's a picture (left to) help. Despite being 700 pages, the flipack will easily fit in the back pocket of my jeans. It will never run out of battery and I won't have to turn it off for landing and take-off. Perfect.
As I have already read Piece of My Heart - and despite enjoying it have no intention of reading it again - this review does not come with the full experience of reading the book. But I love the concept and applaud the creativity and innovation of Flipback and Hodder, who have published 12 titles today, including Charles Frazier's beuatiful civil war novel, Cold Mountain, Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker and Misery by Stephen King.
More titles are promised for the autumn.