Have you heard of the dwarsligger aka Flipback, the not so new concept that’s taken Europe by storm?

On June 30, British publishing house Hodder & Stoughton released the first 12 titles in the flipback book format to the book-buying public. To us, this is a great little edition to the reader’s world: The Flipback.

The reality is, there’s nothing really new or innovative about this type of book.  It’s been around for decades (centuries). In the 1930s in Europe Nelson and Calmann-Levy  were publishing small trim hardbacks (6″ x 4″ or 16 cm x 11cm) because they were inexpensive and easy to carry around for the readers.

This book cover is shown in actual size

It was only in recent decades that publishing massive (tree-killing) books with huge covers and on high-quality paper  in quantities of 200K at a time became the (wasteful, destructive) done thing.

It was Penguin, in the 1930s, that saw the tiny books and thought, we can go one better, paperback!, and thus the inexpensive, small, mass market paperback was born in the US.  So really, this is a returning to reader friendly, earth friendly, consumer friendly publishing.

These are small books, the fit in the pocket . . . uh, pocket paperbacks, remember them? . . .  and to suit the smart phone, iPad readers, they are simply laid out to read as those devices.  So now, you can buy a hardback (or paperback?) that’s just as easy to carry around as your iPhone.

And who is to credit with this? Thank God. That’s right, Bible publishers who often deal with unique formats, thin paper, and small bindings, realized they could print books too. And so it began, in the Netherlands.

We’re not yet sure if this revolution will cross the Pond, but we’re talking to our printer Lighting Source (and Ingram company) now about it.  Also, we have to see what the costs will work out to be.  The paper is thinner, and that usually reduces cost, but  . . .

And dwarsligger is a Dutch noun, meaning this: “A person unwilling to cooperate, who is stubbornly resistant to everything; obstructionist; troublemaker.”  Unfortunately no one in the office here speaks Dutch so we call it the drawslinger.  You know, that small thing you can sling into a drawer and pretend you weren’t really looking at?

Eventually FAB will be publishing drawslingers, small books and flipbacks, but we’ll see how long it takes LSI to come on board.

To read an article on the subject, and see some interior pictures of the pages, check out
The Kindle slayer? New ‘flipback’ book printed on wafer-thin Bible paper to take on high-tech competition
By REBECCA TWOMEY of the UK’s Daily Mail

And get a lot more detail from Laura Stanfill’s 3 blog post on the topic (with lots of great pictures) : Countdown to the Release of the Flipbook All You Want to Know About the Flipback Book (Part 1), and Part 2: Exclusive interview with Arthur van Keulen of Jongbloed BV, the Dutch publishing company

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Great post on flipbacks, the origins of mass-market paperbacks and the earth-friendly nature of smaller books. And thanks for linking to my flipback posts!


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