Thursday, August 29, 2013

Judge That Cover

It may not seem like it, but I love technology and where its taking us.  When its powers are used for good, it’s amazing.  Three to five years ago, I was very much against e-readers.  As a vested reader and author, I love books.  I didn’t see any benefit to e-readers, and rejected them out of hand.  Now, this isn’t a blog promoting e-readers.  Far from it.  I still love books, the look, the feel, even the smell of both new and old books.  You probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

But I’m also a husband and father.  I’m no longer the footloose and fancy-free bachelor who could blow most of a paycheck on books.  I barely even have the shelf-space for the books I’ve been hauling around since high school.  My wife used to give me “the look” whenever an Amazon box showed up with three or twelve new novels.  Finally, I looked at the last ten books I’d bought.  All of them were available as e-books, and all of them were less expensive.  The idea of hauling around a veritable library the size of a single hardbound book was not just appealing, it made economic and marital sense.  I settled on the Kindle, which at the time was 3rd generation keyboard.

But, I had a conundrum.  While I could get onboard the e-reader train, I still wanted my e-book to look like a book.  I wanted to be able to hold it on my hands, open the cover and start reading.  I wanted to protect my digital library, while still being able to “crack” the spine.  It’s a very steampunk kind of thing, and I’m a very steampunk kind of guy, with old world aesthetics attached to modern technological conveniences.  I really need to get to work on that steampunk novel!

But I digress.

Oberon "Tree of Life" Cover
There wasn’t a big market for that kind of cover at the time (and still isn’t), but I eventually found Oberon Design who makes some very beautiful leatherwork journals and had just ventured into the e-book cover business.  The Oberon cover was very nice, and I still love it.  It has never left my first Kindle e-reader, but it has some issues.  The interior of the cover is a felt that would leave little strands in the seams between the Kindle’s plastic outer shell and screen.  I solved this by super gluing a strip of microfiber to the inside.  I also didn’t like the clasp, which pulled at the middle of the cover and was really superfluous.  The four-point restraints for the Kindle were suitable, but not as sturdy as I would have liked, and didn’t really hug the e-reader tightly.

Verso Prologue Cover
So, when I bought my Kindle Fire, I went searching again.  I found the Verso Prologue cover that solved most of the problems I had with the Oberon.  Verso’s covers use a microfiber interior lining (great minds!), they had a wonderful four-point restraint system that fit snugly at all corners, and their cover looked very much like a book, rather than the leather journal I had with my Oberon.  A co-worker even commented, “Now that’s an old book!”  I was very pleased.  But the Verso cover is also not without faults.  It’s a faux-leather plastic that, over the last 18 months, has started to wear thin and show through.  Some of the imaging on the front of the cover has worn off from daily use.  For the most part, this just makes it look like an even older book, but it also heralds the demise of this excellent cover.  Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow . . .

My search for the perfect book-looking Kindle case had me stumble upon Etsy, which offers no end of home-made (and home-made looking) Kindle cases.  Most are no better than a slip-cover, and I rejected those out of hand.  Some are made from “recycled books” which I initially thought were great, until I realized that what they were actually doing was destroying books to make these covers.  I also found KleverCase, which seemed to meet all my needs.  I picked up one of these for my Kindle Fire HD, but when it arrived I was deeply disappointed.  What had looked like a faux-leather cover was nothing more than a printed paper case like a hard-bound book with no book inside, and no more durable.  I’ve been using it, but I know it’s going to get banged around far too much, and simply won't survive.  I can't recommend this at all, unless you just want to put your e-reader or tablet on a shelf and have it look pretty.

Customize Me AZ Cover
But then I found an Etsy vendor Customize Me AZ, which offered some very classic looking “book” covers for my tablet.  I liked everything I saw, from the Harry Potter-themed covers (Defense Against the Dark Arts, Hogwarts: A History, etc.) to The Neverending Story and Lord of the Rings.  They use a leather and faux-suede, which immediately hooked me, and they even offered a customizable cover, where you could send them any image and they would print it onto their cover.  I liked the title books, but I wanted my cover to be an anonymous-looking book, so I contacted them directly and asked if they could do the Neverending Story cover without the title on it.  No problem, they said, and so the cover is on its way.

In the meantime, I'm considering buying an Auryn and attaching it to my new cover.


  1. You know I never thought much about my Kindle cover. My Kindle cover is one sold by Amazon, basic, and has held up. It's not fancy, doesn't look like a book, but does the job. Maybe for my next one . . . My Kidnle is older, by tech standards.