Building a Better Book

No, I really don’t think this is going to make the Kindle lose sleep, but the “flipback” book might have some cool uses. Here’s what it can do:

Nearly 370 pages long in its original format, the flipback version has more than 550 – but still fits easily in my pocket. The book’s not called The Other Hand for nothing. It’s so small that I can perch it in one fist, and keep my other hand free for shopping. How? The paper is wafer-thin.

I am a member of that proud group (and I suspect not-so-small) of readers who loves the mass market paperback because, well, because you can slip a whole John Barth novel in your pocket. I don’t really see the MMP coming back into style because–though it was once the proud haunt of Pynchon, DeLillo, Joyce . . . pretty much anyone worth reading–it’s now thoroughly stigmatized.

But, a cool new European book design might succeed where the MMP appears to be failing. I’d love to try reading a fat new novel this way, and the portability factor would be a huge plus.

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