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One Day, four formats

February 26, 2012

One Day by David Nicholls was the bestselling book of 2011 according to The Bookseller, selling almost twice as many copies of the next bestselling title. With quotes from Nick Hornby and Marian Keyes on the front cover of the paperback and a film version out, I decided to try reading it myself to see what all the fuss was about.

I was also intrigued that it was possible to buy a ‘flipback’ edition of the book, so thought it would be a good chance to test this new format out. An article in The Guardian about the ‘flipback’ format had even asked Could this new book kill the Kindle?, although The Bookseller was more sceptical and recently reported that the flipback edition accounted for only 0.3% of the sales of printed editions of One Day.

Here are photos of the front cover and the first page of chapter one for the paperback, the flipback and the Kindle editions:

Front covers of paperback, flipback and Kindle editions

First page of chapter one: paperback, flipback and Kindle

Kindle version on iPhone screen

So how did they compare? Well the standard paperbook was fairly standard, so there’s not much to say about it.

I was really disappointed by the flipback edition. It was small and dinky and cute on the outside but the pages seemed tissue thin and the action of flipping pages up vertically seemed awkward and unnatural. This distracted me from reading the book.

The edition of the book I actually ended up reading to the end was the Kindle edition, because this was the one that was always in my bag, whether on the Kindle itself or on my iPhone. I’ve already written about the fact I love my Kindle. I would never argue that the Kindle is nicer or more attractive than a real book, but it is a very convenient way of carry lots of books with me.

The fourth format I tried was the audible edition of One Day (unabridged, narrated by Anna Bentinck). I signed up to the audible service last summer and have been getting on with it quite well. The audible ‘talking book’ version of One Day is enjoyable to listen to, and makes a clear distinction between the voices of the different characters. Since the book is mostly dialogue or internal monologue, this works well. The only downside of ‘talking books’ is that they take longer to listen to than to read.

Audible version on iPhone screen

So, to summarise, here are my scores for the four formats:

Paperback book
Reading experience 5/5
Portability 3/5

Flipback book
Reading experience 1/5
Portability 4/5

Kindle ebook
Reading experience 4/5
Portability 5/5

Audible talking book
Listening experience 4/5
Portability 5/5

Have you tried any of these formats? Which did you like best?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2012 3:40 pm

    This was really interesting. I loathe that book, but it was fascinating to see how it looked in all forms. I’ve never seen anyone analyze e-books v paperbacks in a photo before. Awesome.

    • February 26, 2012 7:57 pm

      Thanks very much! I wasn’t that impressed with the book either, but I did find it interesting trying out the different formats.

  2. March 5, 2012 11:21 pm

    I have never heard of a flipback before so you have enlightened me!


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