Best case scenario for the iPad mini: BookBook

Best case scenario for the iPad mini: BookBook

Summary: Ever since the iPad mini was announced I've been thinking about the perfect case for it, and I think that it's finally here.

TOPICS: Apple, iPad, Reviews
Best case scenario for the iPad mini - Jason O'Grady

Apple almost ruined the iPad mini. Twice.

Its first mistake was the glaring omission of a Retina Display (a topic for another post). The second was the horrible Smart Cover that Apple released along side it -- the only cover available at launch because of Apple's hyper-secretive nature. Unlike the Smart Cover for the full-size iPad, the mini version feels junky. It doesn't fit properly, it falls over as a stand and it doesn't come in black or white. In short, it's a disaster. 

Well, it's time to toss your $40 mini Smart Cover in the trash because there's a new sheriff in town: BookBook for iPad mini ($69.99) by twelvesouth. Unlike the garbage Smart Cover, BookBook is the epitome of good taste. It's a portfolio case that when zippered shut, looks like a beautiful leather-bound book. But its beauty is more than skin deep. BookBook offers great protection for your iPad while being a completely functional case.

When it's zipped open you can use the iPad mini book style, or your can unsnap one side of the case and use a small kickstand to prop it up to a more comfortable typing angle. It even flips open for easy access to the camera on the rear. You might look a tad silly using the iPad mini camera, but not as ridiculous as using the full-size iPad.

I've long been a fan of twelvesouth's BookBook cases because they tone down the tech. When you bring one into a meeting, it stops being about what device you're carrying and the conversation focuses on the task at hand (It's probably going to draw a few glances when you bust it out though). BookBook mini is a high quality piece that's more akin to a family heirloom than a tech accessory. While it adds a bit of heft to the wafer-thin mini, it adds it in all the right places. 

Best case scenario for the iPad mini - Jason O'Grady

Update 2013-1120: I'm happy to report that the BookBook for iPad mini also fits the Retina iPad mini.

Topics: Apple, iPad, Reviews

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  • OK people ... forget your usual dumb fanboism

    That is a pretty cool case ...
    • Brain surgery is cheaper

      There's absolutely nothing cool about a case that costs $70 plus tax - about 20% of what one pays for the actual product it wraps. Nobody's bought a book that looks like that since Encyclopedia Brittanicas's 100-volume set went out of fashion in the 80's, so the chances are, as O'Grady suggests, they won't be talking about your iPad Mini at the next meeting, but rather, how completely fake the case looks, and hey, did you pay extra for Vol. XII and those generic graphics! Keep it real people. Even if you enjoy walking around with a notably fake antique book, there's simply not $70 worth of material or good design to make the laughter worth it. But hey, if you're not convinced, I have a perfect companion stylus that looks like a giant feathered quill, for only $59.99... plus tax... plus the laughter!
      • What's next?

        A bible with a hole cut in the pages to hide your gun?
  • style

    In my home this will blend right in or be totally lost on the first day...
    dumb blonde
  • Let's take the mini and make it a maxi

    Some people are amused by the simplest things. And then they write about it as if it is news. Epic blog fail here.
  • Really?

    If this is all you've been thinking about, you really need to get a life.
  • That doesnt look like a leather bound book

    It looks like a cheap vinyl portfolio full of bogus patents.
  • BookBookBigBucks

    Let me preface my comments by assuring the world I am not a fan boy - at 59 I am not any kind of boy. Computers are tools - I happen to prefer DeWalt to Milwaukee. I'm not sure one is any better than the other but once you make the initial investment the batteries work in all. I happen to have chosen the Mac over Wintel.
    That said I bought an iPhone 5 (replacing a iP4) Big disappointment - should have bought discounted 4S.
    I had no interest in iPads until the mini was released. After a month I still love it. Without a case it sucks. I dropped it so many times I am amazed it still works. This is not unique to Apple - every hand held tablet has a similar problem. What is unique to Apple is the cost and quality of the "after sale" products that are essential purchases. I purchased a case for the iPad mini for 29.99 on Amazon Prime. It should have cost 7 bucks like the case for my Kindle which is far superior.
    The product Jason O'Grady is pushing is for the "nouveau riche" who never read but buy books by the yard to fill their bookcases and impress their friends.
    This appalling little case, that Jason O'Grady is pushing for $70+, does not even shut down and wake the iPm when the case is opened and closed according to The only conclusion I can draw would mean one of two things - he misguidedly thinks we share his appreciation for kitsch or he's being paid off big time.
    The fix is in.
    • LOL, "the fix is in?"

      Great comment, literally ROTFL laughing. (after I cashed my check from 12 south, that is!) Are you kidding me? I happen to like their cases, they look cool and are well made. Simple as that. Btw, high quality materials cost $$. Their case is leather, 360 degrees around. The Apple cover -- which costs $$40 -- is one-sided and pleather! So which case is for the nouveau riche?

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • The case is stupid on so many levels

        What the hell is the point of buying a mini if you are going to wrap it in a big clunky case? Why would want to spend extra money on a fashionable case anyways? The whole point of the device is that it fits in a pocket (well apple's doesn't, but every other "mini" tablet does). Or did you just get it because you wanted to show people that you are rich? In that case, why didn't you get a full sized Ipad? Not that rich? Why not a full sized tablet?
      • Cut the guy some slack

        Does the case cost more? Yes it does, but in my opinion it is worth it. The case: 1. is well constructed; 2. provides decent protection from drops; 3. has the added benefit of looking like a book (nice when you are on the subway, train or coffee shop).

        I purchased the bookbook for the Ipad 3 and it is the best case I have ever owned.
        Yes there are cheaper cases for sale and if this one is not for you don't buy it. But don't shoot he messenger.

        Some of the comments are amazing, i.e. why buy a device if you are going to cover it. Hmm, how many folks use cases for their smart phones? Why invest anywhere from $300-$700 (iPad Mini) on a device and not protect it.

        Jason thanks for your report and do not be dissuaded by the negative comments here. I'm sure there are many like me that appreciate reviews of alternate cases and accessories.
        Espresso joe
  • Give the guy a break

    He just needs to report on something he thinks would benefit some people or those who are looking for an alternative cover. If it doesn't work like it should or it's too expensive, then that's the nature of the beast. Eventually you'll get others bringing cheaper, better alternatives. Give O'Grady a break, he's entitled to his opinion and what better way of giving it than in a regular spot at ZDNet.
    I wouldn't buy at that price.

  • Give the guy a break????????????


    You clearly feel I am being too tough with Jason O'Grady. I don't get a break when I screw up my job, Why should he?

    "He just needs to report on something he thinks would benefit some people or those who are looking for an alternative cover. If it doesn't work like it should or it's too expensive, then that's the nature of the beast."

    I won't even bother deconstructing most of the above, it's too obvious. I will however draw your attention to your understanding of the word "report". In this context reporting requires independent evidence to support your statements. In your last sentence you have decided O'Grady is no longer reporting but opining. This is where we come close to agreeing.

    He begins his unbiased review by describing the Smart Cover as "junky" and "a disaster". He then suggests you "toss" your $40 + tax Smart Cover into the trash and invest a further $70 + tax for the bookbook! He goes on to inform us that the BookBook is "the epitome of good taste"
    Hey Joe, how about a video tour of the highlights of the O'Grady MacMansion? Joe continues that the BookBook "is a high quality piece that's more akin to a family heirloom than a tech accessory". WOW!!! Joe , I got this piece of fine art depicting some dogs playing poker! Interested?

    The final sentence "While it adds a bit of heft to the wafer-thin mini, it adds it in all the right places." !!! I would love to know which are the right places to add 30% extra weight to a device advertised as "mini". If you wish to see the size of the case compared to the iPad mini just google.

    I am not an O'Grady hater nor a ZDNET hater. I have been reading them both for years. I have never felt compelled to negatively comment on either. It is because of this that I was appalled to read this.

    What ZDNET & O'Grady have to realize is that the majority of purchasers do not live in large ciies where they can make a hands on purchase and rely on these reviews to make their decisions. It is not only rural customers who have this problem - I live in New York and have yet to find a store with more than five options for the iPadMini.

    marcomar, clearly you are a sophisticated consumer. "I wouldn't buy at that price"despite what my buddy jason says.
    • A bit too harsh, considering the subject matter...

      Let's start with his trashing of the Smart Case. Everyone and their mom knows that Apple's Smart Cases don't perform as well as they SHOULD for what you pay for them. Do they work? Absolutely. Is that all you should be asking for given their price tag? No. You should be getting something that works as well as the product its intended to protect, which it does only a half-decent job of doing, even compared to other products in its class, such as the identical case for full-sized iPad.

      You mentioned in a comment above that the BookBook is the case for the "nouveau riche" that buy fancy books to line their shelves with. My bookshelf is full of graphic novels and Harry Potter. Do I fit this demographic? Not really. But I want this case.


      It's nice-looking. Does it look like a modern book? No, it looks kind of dated. But that's part of its charm. It's supposed to look that way. It offers really great protection compared to a large swath of the competition (read: not all, but a large amount). It is extremely functional, what with the various ways you can stand it and manipulate it and move it around to accomplish what you wanna do, whether it's taking a picture, or propping for reading. When he said that it adds weight "in the right places," he was speaking metaphorically. He was saying that for the added weight, you have a lot of gain and benefit.

      People might say this case is too big or bulky, but doesn't that come down entirely to personal taste? Take a look at the iPhone. I see people using cases that practically double its size. Why? They're either worried about protection (they could be hard on their devices), or they get a specific feature from the case that they want or need. Case in point (no pun intended), the OtterBox cases are generally enormous. But they provide a certain level of protection for the people who need it.

      It's the same with the BookBook. If you don't need what the BookBook is offering, then don't buy it. No one is forcing you. But obviously O'Grady really enjoyed it, and wanted to share that, which brings me back to my subject line. This blog post was his personal findings after trying out the BookBook for iPad mini. If you don't agree, that's fine, but it's not like he's shoving it down your throat. It's not like he's doing door-to-door gospel. People are being far too harsh on this entry for what it is.
      Megan Evans
  • Why?..

    The main purpose of someone buying an iPm is its size. Why would one add a cover that increases the bulk and width of the iPm? Seems counterintuitive to me.

    As for the price.... I think there are and will be better cases available soon. But as the old adage goes...a fool and his money are soon parted.
  • I have the SmartCover for the mini

    It's not perfect, but seems to accomplish its purpose. What I really hate from the smartcover is when its closed it transfer your finger's grease or any dirt that catches when the cover is under the iPad, for example using it as a stand or over a table and transfers it to the screen actually "drawing" lines for the bands of the cover.

    Regarding the iPm seems to be sturdy enough to use only the smartcover as case.