Out of Print’s iPad Case – Manufactured by a Real Bookbinder! A Product Review

DIY Electronics GeekMom
With the size and feel of a classic picture book, the Out of Print iPad covers will fool almost everyone! Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Right on the heels of GeekMom Kris’s review of indie company Out of Print’s products, we had an invitation to be among the first to check out a sample of their eReader/tablet case!

This made the rounds this past summer as an immensely popular Kickstarter campaign and the necessary funds (and then some!) were raised in just over a week.

Out of Print contacted the country’s oldest bookbinder about keeping alive a classic trade with a modern twist. These are authentic hand-assembled cloth-bound covers with a molded styrene plastic pop-in holder for the iPad.

The detail in the classic binding is very well done. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

I had just received a new iPad for my birthday in September and was happy to be able to review this product just a couple weeks later. I had requested The Great Gatsby as my cover of choice; the classic cover brings back memories of the copies of the books we had in the 9th grade for English class required reading.

Out of Print has a mission of spreading its love of classic literature and it donates books for every product sold through the Books for Africa. As we recently discussed here, anything sold to Americans that’s made in America is appealing also.

This iPad case would be a great gift this holiday season. It’s a fun way to dress up your iPad (or other eReader or tablet device) and keep those around you guessing.

It’s incredibly simple to put the iPad into the case. The molded plastic was designed by an MIT Engineer and he did a great job — it fit my device perfectly.  It snaps into place and so far has not given me any problems. There are spaces cut into the sides of the moulding to accomodate the volume controls/mute switch, power switch, charging port and headphone jack. A hole is cut into the upper left corner of the back of the cover to accomodate the camera lens (see top photo above). There is even space carved out underneath the speaker to prevent the sound from muffling. The edges of the plastic moulding have grooves cut into the sides to give the appearance of page edges.  Clever design.

To sum up the features that I especially enjoyed:

  • Classic bookbinding style. It’s a lot of fun to transform your tablet and keep your friends guessing what you’re doing with a large-print copy of Slaughterhouse Five!*
  • Lightweight. But this can also be a limitation, which I will elaborate on below.
  • The moulding for the iPad is very precisely cut. We had no problems accessing the buttons or taking photos with the holes carved into the sides and back. The tablet fits very well in the moulding.
  • Rigid construction will do a good job protecting the tablet from many — but not all — bumps and spills. I wouldn’t trust this case to protect from a fall off a table onto the kitchen floor, or hammer falling on top of it, but it will protect your device while in a tote bag, or from coffee spills (if the cover is closed, of course).
  • Security! This case will truly make your eReader or iPad look like a book. You could sit this down next to you and no one would know the difference! It could be sitting in the passenger seat of your car and someone wouldn’t think to break in and steal your device.
  • Made in America!
*The dimensions of the iPad case make these jackets as large as children’s  picture books or large print books. The photos I saw of the Kindle and Nook prototypes are much more realistically sized, when compared to the original books.
If you look REALLY closely, you might be able to see the grooves cut into the edges of the moulded plastic, to replicate page edges. I enjoyed this attention to detail. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Despite the fantastic attention to detail in the design, and the “fun” factor in this product overall, there are some features that could use improvement or are missing. Some of these features are unique to the iPad and may not be a factor with the other models for which Out of Print will make these covers. If you’re considering these cases for eReader purposes only, then you might find this list superfluous.

  • As realistic as the interior bound design is, I’d have preferred a softer endsheet material for better protection for my tablet screen when the cover is closed. Many other iPad cases have sueded or velvet facings.
  • The cover does not have a way to stay closed, such as elastic. Because the jacket is so lightweight, the cover falls open VERY easily.
  • Higher quality iPad cases often have magnets on the front cover that will lock the iPad screen when you close the lid. This case does not do that. I recommend the company consider this as a future addition to the product.
  • There are no features on the jacket to prop up the iPad to watch videos, such as a discreetly placed tab or other sort of stop to keep the cover from flopping flat.
I wouldn’t do this for very long. Like a quality library book, the cover isn’t really designed to be turned inside out and it kept wanting to turn itself back to it’s correct orientation. Photo: Patricia Vollmer
  • Since this is effectively library book material, it will show signs of wear and tear similar to a library book: crushed corners, broken spines, faded surfaces. One can argue that this will give the cover “charm”, however.
  • You cannot flip the front cover behind the tablet very gracefully. The spine will remain vertical, and the tablet will maintain a slope. This ebook jacket is best used like a book. Lock your screen orientation if you don’t want your iPad to automatically flip horizontally, because it will in this configuration otherwise.
I didn’t know how else to explain this, so here’s a picture. You cannot lie the tablet flat if you want to flip the front cover behind it. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

To conclude, the Out of Print eReader jackets will be a great gift this holiday season for that person who enjoys something fun, retro and functional.

Choose from a variety of classic titles! Image: Out of Print Clothing.

They will be available through Out of Print’s website beginning later in October, or you may check out Amazon.com’s Out of Print Clothing Company’s shop for great deals.

A complimentary sample of this product was provided for review.

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