The Kindle-Killer That Wasn’t

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Throw away your iPad. Trash your Kindle. The future of reading is made of something far more innovative, and it’s called “paper.”

The flipback is, according to Patrick Kingsley at the UK Guardian, an ingenious new kind of printed book designed for the iGeneration. “Could this kill the Kindle?” the headlines asks. Err, no.

The pages are “wafer-thin”, so thin that even a 550 page volume fits comfortably in his pocket. A clever new spine design means it lies flat in the hand, or on any other surface. You don’t have to hold it open, it just stays open.

It’s a boon for commuters, he says:

“Page-turning with paperbacks will see you elbowing your neighbour in the pancreas in no time. But the minuteness of this little beauty, with its pages that flip rather than turn, help me keep my elbows to myself and pancreases everywhere safe.”

These things are all the rage in Holland, says Kingsley. Which is weird, because you’d think something that popular would have left behind some trace of its popularity on the web somewhere. But after hours of hunting high and low, Kingsley’s article, a follow-up at Boing Boing, and a zillion blogs linking to both of them are the only mentions we can find of flipback books. That’s the quietest craze we’ve ever seen.

And another thing: a flipback might be small, and it might be convenient, but you’re still going to need a pretty big bag if you want to carry five hundred novels around with you. Something that’s no problem with e-readers.

So you know what? Hang on to that iPad, and pluck that Kindle out of the trash. We don’t think they’re dead yet.