BookBook for iPhone from Twelve South has made me a better person: A review

Once in a while a product comes storming into my life and really leaves me changed for better or worse. BookBook for iPhone is one of those products, and I have to admit, it’s been for the better.

That sounds a bit dramatic as the opening for an iPhone case review, but stay with me and I promise I’ll make you understand. BookBook for iPhone is a combination iPhone case & wallet-stuffs organizer wrapped in the shape of a tiny, aged, leather bound book.

I knew immediately following the announcement of BookBook for iPhone that I had to have one. I will admit, while my intrigue did border on obsessive, I was sane enough to interject, on occasion, the notion that this would end up as yet another iPhone case in my end table drawer, abandoned and hardly used.

Something was different this time though.

Twelve South has released the BookBook case for Macbooks as well as the iPad, of which I was pretty critical of from the jump off. The iPhone iteration though really grabbed me and thus far isn’t showing any signs of letting go.

Shallow tendencies

I pride myself on being someone that appreciates inner beauty, but I have to take a minute to praise Twelve South on a well executed package design.

When my BookBook arrived, I was immediately drawn to the retail ready packaging that wrapped around my newest iPhone accessory.

The color scheme paired with the leather of the case just oozes class and sophistication. This is the type of packaging that is destined to line the shelves of an Apple Store. It is visually stunning and grabs your attention.

The unveiling

As nice as it was, I was obviously eager to get this sucker out of the packaging and into my hand. Once I slipped the external plastic casing from the box, I was able to get a feel for the quality of workmanship and materials used.

The leather used in crafting the BookBook is thick and pliable. The case immediately opened and closed without effort as the binding side of the book comes pre-creased and is easily manipulated to adapt for how much extra stuff you carry. I also really appreciate the embossed 12 logo on the back, and thought it was very classily placed.

The stitching is clean, straight, and perfectly spaced.

Oooh fancy, but what’s that red thing?

Opening the BookBook you are presented with a card carrier housing three slots on the left side of the case, and a pocket beneath them for holding your cash. The right side is the iPhone holder and I was quick to take it for a test drive.

When you slide your iPhone into the case, there is a leather locking tab that slides down and behind the phone holding the phone slightly, so it doesn’t slip out. The top of this tab is adorned by a red bit of nylon you use to pull the tab out when you need to remove the phone. The red tab sticks outside of the case resembling a book mark. It’s a small detail, but I find that little added subtlety very clever.

BookBook for iPhone is sold as an iPhone case, for obvious reasons. I am, however, more inclined to call it a wallet with an iPhone holder built in as I have completely replaced my wallet with this case, and couldn’t be happier. My wallet has always been a topic of frustration for me. I carry way too many things in it and it simply gets out of control.

Some may see the BookBook’s limited space as a negative quality, but I took full advantage of it and am living my pocket life in redux mode.  The three card slots easily accommodate two plastic cards each, which gives you room for five misc cards if you carry your license or ID with you and a little extra room in each for a business card or paper proof of insurance.

The cash pocket accommodates a few bills folded in half, and could stand to hold a bit more, but I could spin this as an excuse to live more digital, or start carrying one of many money clips I’ve been gifted at weddings. I do wish that the money pocket was a touch wider though, as the edges of American currency stick just past the leather enough to fold and get ruffled when the BookBook is closed.

Talking on a book

Initially, you may find it, as I did, a bit awkward talking on a book. Once I realized that you can simply fold the entire front cover back, I was immediately comforted. The phone actually feels amazing in this position when talking. Folding the front cover around to the back also really helps with texting and the added thickness really stabilizes the phone in your grasp.

The iPhone sleeve of the BookBook is trimmed around the home button which gives a nice tactile presence, and the ear speaker,  front camera and light sensors share their own cut out as well.

BookBook may have broke Instagram

Ok, not really, but that would be a pretty funny customer service complaint. See, BookBook for iPhone doesn’t have a hole for the camera. It’s really easy to slide the iPhone up out of the case a tiny bit to snap a photo, and it only requires one finger to slide up. The company demonstrates this procedure in the product video and while it’s a little daunting to have to do if you need to snap a photo quickly, it’s not a deal breaker for me. But, I do wish it would have the camera hole.

Houston we have a… Nevermind

While playing around with BookBook for iPhone, I noticed an issue on the back of the case. There was about a 1/2″ section of thread that had come unraveled in the middle of the stitching.

Knowing how new this product was in the market, I contacted TwelveSouth to make sure this wasn’t a manufacturing issue they might want to work with the factory on. After two emails, it was clear that we were dealing with a fluke incident, and TwelveSouth even overnighted me a new case! It’s important to note that this wasn’t the intention of my call.

I love companies that take customer service inquiries seriously, and was blown away at how my little email, which was purely meant to make them aware of a potential manufacturing issue, was handled.

Wait, is that your wallet? OMG & your phone?

Out in public the BookBook for iPhone is an attention grabber. If the case is in my hand, someone is bound to ask me about it. I’ve had friends inquire, which isn’t that uncommon for me as the bulk of my social circle isn’t as near to the bleeding edge of technology as I am.

Things started getting interesting when cashiers at Target were inquiring about it. The madness continued at our local BBQ pit, where it spawned a pretty in depth discussion about losing your wallet and losing your phone at the same time, a notion that still has me a little nervous as I write this review.  Although, if you have MobileMe, soon to be iCloud, you could use Find My iPhone to track down both your wallet and your phone.

The fact is, it’s a sexy looking wallet which is even more intriguing when people realize it’s an iPhone case. I don’t cringe when I have to take out my George Costanza wallet any more, and actually  enjoy talking to people about the company and the product.

What’s Macgasmic?

I am in love with BookBook for iPhone. It really has helped me reduce my pocket clutter, and I like the idea of keeping my phone and wallet in one case. It’s possible that I will be the only one who would actually list this in a review as a positive, but the packaging for the BookBook is beautiful. It’s very clean and sophisticated and will look great on a shelf.

The clear ID case with thumb slide is a must for any functional wallet and I’m glad they decided to include it here. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have been able to permanently replace my wallet. The craftsmanship of BookBook for iPhone is really evident. The lines are all clean and credit cards as well as the iPhone all slip in perfectly.

When typing on the iPhone with the front of the case folded back, you actually gain a good surface area which prevents that strange hunch most of us share, that you are about to drop your phone.

Twelve South really walks the line of amazing customer service. They seem to look out for their customer base and care about your experience.

What’s Not

The inability to snap pictures without lifting the iPhone part way from the case is a bit cumbersome, but I really can appreciate taking the more aesthetic direction Twelve South took here. A camera hole would have taken something away from the look and feel of the case, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t welcome the trade-off personally.

The cash pocket on the BookBook for iPhone is just a tad too thin. If it were a bit wider, a folded US dollar bill would fit perfectly without crinkling the edge of the bill when the case is closed. As a customer to many fine vending machines, crinkled dollar bills tend to drive me crazy!

At $59.99, the price comes off as a bit steep, but having experienced the case, I’d honestly pay slightly more for the case, and debated putting the price in the Macgasmic section as opposed to here.

Love Fest

So it’s pretty obvious that I’m in love with the BookBook for iPhone. I have hated carrying my iPhone in a case since the day iPhone launched, and this is the first one I’ve tolerated for more than a day or two. The few issues I have are not deal breakers and I have been recommending this case to everyone I know and even a few times to passing strangers.

I’m convinced, where can I get one?

BookBook for iPhone is available directly from Twelve South’s website, along with all of their other awesome “Mac only” products for $59.99.  Tell them Macgasm sent ya!

Josh is the Social Media Director and Sr. Systems Engineer for a startup toy company. He is freakishly into just about anything tech related. When he's not writing, he can be found inventing products at Quirky, or doing 3D renders… Full Bio