Thursday, April 19, 2018

Product Review: Book Sleeves

Have you ever seen a bookish product and known immediately that you had to have one? I met a book friend for lunch about two years ago and I couldn't help but be curious about what looked like a small padded pillowcase with a book in it sticking out of her purse. When I asked her about it, she started raving about how great her book sleeve was. As someone who always has a book in my purse or backpack, I was immediately sold on something specifically designed to keep them safe as I went about my day.

Today, I'm going to review the two different kinds of book sleeves I've tried and tell you which one I think works the best.

Book Beau vs StoryHero

 When I was first looking into getting a book sleeve, everyone recommended getting a Book Beau. Unfortunately, they were so popular that the Etsy store would immediately sell out as soon as the new products were stocked. I tried for a few months to get one and was never able to. Then the store did a Kickstarter campaign and I was able to order one of each size. They have book sleeves available in three sizes: the mini for ereaders and mass markets (6" x 8.5"), the indie for trade paperbacks and smaller hardcovers (7.5" x 10"), and the XL for standard hardcovers (8" x 10.5").

Honestly, I'm super disappointed with these. They work but they were shoddily made for the Kickstarter. The fabric (which isn't even the one what I ordered) is permanently wrinkled and my seams have split. They're also super thin. They'll protect your books but not as well as other products. Since I ordered them through the Kickstarter, they were supposed to be water resistant but I found out quickly that my Indie size isn't. My water bottle broke in my purse and soaked everything. Instead of repelling the water, the book sleeve absorbed it and ruined the book. It made me so mad!

The most irritating thing to me though was that they don't run true to size. I use my "XL" one to protect trade paperbacks and manga volumes because it's not big enough to use on the larger hardcovers. It's the same width as my Indie size but has the length of the XL. I tried to get a refund/replacements but the store owner never responded to my emails. I'll never buy their product again. I know lots of people who have had good luck with them. I just wasn't one of them.

After my terrible luck with Book Beau, I started researching other book sleeve stores on Etsy and I came across a store called StoryHero. I LOVE these book sleeves so much!

They are really well made! Like perfectly well made! They each have a padded body to protect your book from taking a beating in your bag. They have a water resistant inner lining that actually works. Remember when I said my water bottle broke in my purse? I had span of about a month this last summer where I broke or had a leaking water bottle at least every other day. My StoryHero got wet but my book was perfectly dry. One thing I love about these book sleeves compared to others you can find on Etsy is that they come with a flap closure so your book is protected on all four sides and each sleeve comes with a pocket!

I frequently have my book in my sleeve as well as my iPad mini, a bookmark, post-its, and a pen in the sleeve. Depending on the size of the book, I can also fit a manga volume or my iPad in the main sleeve too. I've had my floral StoryHero for about a year now and it's still in top condition. And I used it commuting every day for six months of that.

You can get your book sleeve in one of two sizes: Original Story or Epic Story. The Original Story is approximately 10" x 8" which works perfectly for paperbacks and ARCs and can easily fits books up to 500 pages. It will also fit smaller hardcovers and is the perfect size for an iPad mini! Even if I don't have a physical book with me, I've taken to using mine to protect my iPad in my bag.

The Epic Story size is approximately 11" x 9" and works perfectly for the larger hardbacks (most adult hardcovers). I easily put my 624 page copy of Obsidio and a manga volume into the main sleeve and still had room to put my iPad in the pocket.

Also, the shop owner, Becky, has been a dream to work with! She ships fast and makes each sleeve to order. She restocks the store every Friday and has some great fabric choices. I really can't recommend her book sleeves enough! I use my small book print StoryHero every day.

Do you have a book sleeve? Which brand do you have?

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