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A foldable Kindle – why it doesn’t make much sense

Do you expect a foldable Kindle to resemble a paper book, have a compact size, and offer a two-page experience? Don’t get too excited.

Every time a rumor starts to circulate about a new foldable Samsung smartphone or iPad model, I wonder whether I would ever see a foldable Kindle. A sweet little dream followed by an adrenaline-rich snapshot of unboxing this insanely innovative device in my living room full of the magic-hour sun.

Fortunately, a few moments later a thought comes that a foldable device dedicated to reading books doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Well, it does, if you are looking for a new gizmo you’d love to play with, take to the beach once or twice, and, maybe, write a review.

An e-reader is a successor to the most powerful device that was ever invented – the print book. It’s inevitable that we will compare the foldable e-reader not only to other foldable mobile electronic devices, but also to the real book.

And it’s this comparison that makes the foldable Kindle a ridiculous idea. Sorry, no unboxing in the living room full of the magic-hour sun.

A foldable Kindle – 4 benefits that don’t make sense

It will resemble a real book

Foldable Kindle concept - opened book design
Foldable Kindle / Concept and visualization by Piotr Kowalczyk (Geek Updated)

The foldable e-reader will finally look and feel like a real book, you think.

I understand. The foldable design will force you to use the device in a landscape mode. Every time you want to read, you will open the foldable Kindle like an old good hardcover. Could you be any closer to the print book experience?

Here is the problem. An electronic device will never resemble a print book. It’s not about looks. It’s about the feel. And the smell. You won’t feel the texture of the paper, and you won’t feel the smell of an old library or a leather-bound classic novel.

What’s more, even if we focus on the manual side of the pleasure, the foldable Kindle will never be a print book, either. The print book is all about the curves of the pages, and the gentle rustle when you turn them.

Now, open the foldable Kindle. You spread the pages flat, hear the quiet click, and that’s it. End of pleasure. As flat as an iPad.

By the way, Kindle already offers a book-like experience. It’s provided by a case. It lets you open your Kindle like a real book, but then you can fold it back completely, so that you can read one-handed.

It could be used in a two-page mode

What is your preferred reading mode on the Kindle? I bet most users will say it’s a portrait mode. 

It’s not a result of limitations of the e-reader. You can change the orientation in the Kindle and most other e-readers any time. It’s just more comfortable to hold a tall object in one hand than a wide object.

What’s more, let’s keep in mind that a landscape mode doesn’t mean a two-page mode. A two page mode in the 6-inch e-reader is either not available or will force you to decrease the font to a ridiculously small size.

In fact, e-readers fix one of the biggest disadvantages of print books. Go ask your hands, and they will tell you: a closed book is a beauty, but an opened book is a nightmare.

A closed book is compact and handy. You can hold it in one hand. And then, when one hand gets tired, you can hold it in the other hand.

An opened book is forcing you to hold it with two hands. It is constantly fighting with you. You want to keep it open, and it wants to close.

A classic Kindle is like a closed book that you can read. Small and convenient to use. Why fix it?

It will be smaller

Obviously, it will be smaller when you close it. But on the other hand, how desperate are you to put an e-reader into a trouser pocket? Should it have the same size as your smartphone?

By the way, how many paperbacks were you able to put in your trouser pockets when you were young?

The size that really matters is the size of an opened foldable e-reader. Everything depends on the desired size of a page.

Is the size of the current 6-inch Kindle model right for you? Then you have to decide:

  • You want the opened foldable Kindle to have twice that size
  • You want the opened foldable Kindle to have exactly that size

Size version 1

Foldable Kindle concept compared to Paperwhite 5 -size 1
Foldable Kindle concept compared to Paperwhite 5 – size version 1

If it’s twice the size, it becomes huge. Yes, it will have the size of the opened paperback, but is it really what you are looking for? And it will be heavy. Say “bye” to one-handed reading.

Size version 2

Foldable Kindle concept compared to Paperwhite 5 – size version 2

If the opened foldable Kindle has the same size as a classic model, you will probably not use it in a two-page mode.

Each page will be too small, and you will be forced to use a tiny font size. You will most probably end up using the foldable Kindle in a portrait mode. Why foldable, then?

It could be used as a notebook

A two-page mode makes sense if the device is large. It becomes more like a textbook or notebook. A textbook with advanced editing features? Nice idea, especially, if you can have a dedicated pen. And make it color.

Wait, in this case, it’s not an e-reader any longer. It’s a foldable tablet with an e-paper display. That’s what it is.

• • •

What features do you still miss in your Kindle? What should a perfect Kindle look like?

I have imagined the next-generation Kindle Paperwhite as a fully symmetric device with a wider bezel to incorporate hard-press page-turn buttons and adjustable warm light tone.

• • •

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