In September 2009, Hugo van Woerden, CEO of the Christian printing house Jongbloed, introduced a new book format at the Manuscripta exhibition. It quickly became all the rage in Holland, where it since sold 1m copies
The format is a "flipback" (in Dutch “Dwarsligger” which has wonderful double meaning – just asl your Dutch friend or drop me a line).
The flipback is a sideways-bound book with a lie-flat binding. It is printed on onionskin (think bible pages) and it size easily makes it fit in a shirt. Most importantly, it is optimized for easy one-handed reading, which makes for perfect reading during rush hour.
After successfully conquering the Netherlands, Flipback is going European. The Spanish publisher Ediciones B is launching the Flipback in Spain under the brandname Librinos.
France will be next, and the flipback will reach UK shores in June 2011 when Hodder & Stoughton will launch a selection of 12 books with a price tag of £9.99. Titles will include David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Stephen King's Misery.
It seems that readers take to this new format. So will it be an addition to the current formats or a threat to e-books? Time will tell, especially once the flipback book format conquers the US.