Made in Chicago: Book Covers for Book Lovers

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 8, 2010 6:20PM

The bookthingys book covers come in five different designs and are adjustable for 7" - 10" books.
Any avid reader can attest to the annoyance of dust jackets. Sharon Larkin was so annoyed by one in particular - a Harry Potter dust jacket to be precise - that she decided to craft something to cover and carry the book. A paper bag and some Scotch tape later, she had the prototype of what would become bookthingys. Then she graduated to fabric and glue, and soon enough, a sewing machine sale tempted her. After teaching herself to sew with the machine’s manual and via trail and error, Larkin was able to streamline production of the bookthingys and applied for a patent in 2004.

Larkin and her little business have come a long way since then. A manufacturer in Tennessee now produces bookthingys. There are a whole slew of different designs available, and all are adjustable for different sizes of books. The e-reader craze has also affected business - in a good way. Larkin introduced an e-book travel bag line earlier this year, which fit Kindles, Nooks, iPads and Netbooks. She sold out at Printers Row in June and is now selling them on her site. If you’re looking for a good way to carry and protect your iPad, “The Purse of Being a Wallflower” or “Fashionheit 451” might be a good fit.

Bookthingys are also available at the Book Cellar and about 20 stores throughout the Midwest. The Library of Congress gift shop also carries them. And, you can catch Larkin at a slew of Chicagoland book fairs, where she enjoys chatting with customers and showing people how to use the bookthingys.