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Book-ish

Touted as a rival to Kindle, Flipback books aren’t putting anyone out of business anytime soon

Written by . Published on September 6th 2011.


Book-ish

HODDER and Stoughton is on the brink of releasing another series of Flipback books. For all of us unaware, the Flipback concept was first introduced over 18 months ago and was a small success. Extraordinarily there are now 1.5 million of these books in print. The books are said to create a new revolution in the book world. However, we aren’t too sure about these. When first seen, the Flipbacks have a great appearance, light and portable with a tactile finish. At the first touch, they are a marvellous accessory that can slip straight into our handbags or rucksacks, but unfortunately they don’t quite challenge the limitations of the Kindle.

It seems that they’ve realised that in order to attract consumers away from the Kindle they need an alternative which holds a similar convenience factor. For us, it seems as though it was a missed opportunity to really highlight the downfalls of a Kindle.

In releasing this collection, Hodder are in many ways using a high risk strategy in the current market. It seems that they’ve realised that in order to attract consumers away from the Kindle they need an alternative which holds a similar convenience factor. For us, it seems as though it was a missed opportunity to really highlight the downfalls of a Kindle. Don’t mistake us in thinking that the Flipback isn’t a sound idea. For example, it doesn’t need charging, and it is the perfect size for fitting into a pocket. Even in terms of design, it is arguably better than the Kindle. Nevertheless, it just doesn’t quite match up to our expectations. In essence, the books have been merely reformatted, keeping the same cover designs and blurbs as the original paperbacks. For us, we think that Hodder could have done something a little more creative.

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In contrast to Hodder, Penguin has published the ‘Penguin Ink’ collection, and these are limited edition as well as marking their favourite British books. Hodder could have easily made the Flipbacks a limited edition collection, which would be targeted in the same way – to their collectors. In this way, Flipbacks could have become the new bookish gift for family and friends. The initial concept of Flipbacks, is on the surface a great idea, but it hasn’t quite lived up to its potential.

Undeterred, Hodder have released their new set of titles in the Flipback format, and are due to be available for us on the 15th of September. The collection includes the following titles: Bad Men by John Connolly, The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver, Little Face by Sophie Hannah, What I Loved Siri Hustvedt, Brethren by Robyn Young and Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. The books will be retailing at £9.99, a very stark contrast to the eBook prices. We’re aching to see a bit more imagination and we hope Hodder can show us what Flipback books can really do.

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