If you've ever whined about how the Kindle, compact though it may be, doesn't have the look or feel of a nice printed novel – put this in your pipe and read it: the newly invented "flipback" book.
Released in Britain this summer, it is being touted as the, er, new Kindle: the tome that's smaller and lighter than an e-reader, but made out of pages, not bytes.
It is all the rage in Holland, where it was introduced in 2009, and has since sold 1m copies. A version has just been launched in Spain, France is next, and the flipback reaches UK shores in June, when Hodder & Stoughton will treat us to a selection of 12 books. They cost £9.99, and will include David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Stephen King's Misery.
I am keen to see what the hype is about so I take a pre-released copy on my travels: Chris Cleave's The Other Hand. 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.
"Great for making rollies," says my nicotine-addicted lunch date. More to the point, it's also great for reading. Unlike an ordinary paperback, the book lies open without intervention on my part, due to its special spine.
It's handy on a rush-hour tube, too. 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.
Would it work with War and Peace? Unlikely. Is it the new Kindle? Obviously not. It can't hold 1,500 books. But if you want something that doesn't need recharging, and slips into your pocket as easily as a phone, the flipback is worth a try.
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