Monday, June 28, 2010

Periscope Lighted Padfolio and Kindle Cover

The National Stationery Show is the place to showcase paper products, but also one of the places to show off unusual items. Travelling down the first aisle of the show (the 1100s), C and I spotted Periscope Light, an amazing collection of lighted padfolios and covers for the Kindle and Nook, as well as lighted covers for those paper things we used to read a lot...oh, yeah--books.

I have a Kindle 2 and use an M-Edge leather folio to protect it. The M-Edge has space for a notepad and a pen, but lighting is a problem as the detachagle lights I've used have damaged the inside suede cover. While it may seem like an e-reader doesn't need a light, it actually does: the e-ink is a dark gray-black on a lighter gray background, and reading can be strained even in a fairly bright room. Having a light directly shining on the face of the e-reader makes it readable. Since iPads are backlit, this isn't a problem for e-book readers. I've only found one light that I thought was bright enough, and didn't bother my eyes. Aesthetically, the thing reminds me of a steampunk worm gnawing at my Kindle, not a look I really like but functional.

What I've wanted was something that looked good and would light up my e-reader, but also have space for odds and ends, paper and pens. The Periscope Light is that and more. The Periscope Light e-reader folio for the Kindle 2 and Nook is a faux leather holder that comes with a built-in retractable twin LED reading light, and space for a notepad as well as a centrally-located pen holder.

This e-reader folio is amazing. The built-in, wide-angle, high intensity LED light can illuminate the entire face of a Kindle or Nook, or a writing area for that matter, in clean white light. The light is at the topf of an arm that automatically turns on when extended, and turns off when retracted. So all I do is flip out the top and start reading.

In addition to the e-reader folio, Periscope Light also offers a larger, lighted Executive Padfolio (pictured above with a Rhodia No. 18 notepad) that can handle an 8 1/2 x 11 padnotepad and has an expandable document compartment, along with zippered storage and pockets for business cards and a calculator. Also in a faux leather finish, the Padfolio can also fit an Amazon Kindle DX wireless reading device in its large pocket (to the left in the above pic). But this combination is not ideal (the Padfolio suddenly becomes too heavy), so if you have a Kindle DX I'd advise getting the new flip top folio.

As soon as we saw these C and I were in love. C is in media arts and working on an MFA, and note-taking while watching a film can be highly interesting (first time I've ever heard of someone taking a notebook, pens, and a flashlight to class). With a Periscope Light Padfolio, the problem is solved in an extremely stylish manner.

But C is also involved with her alumni association, and she talked with the Periscope Light guys (wave to Eric!) about selling these with her alumni association's logo on the front. cover Which is how I ended up with mine--C ordered some samples with the school's Media Arts logo, and I joined in. Now I'm Periscope'd and loving it.

The Periscope Light is also available for pocket-sized paperbacks and large hardcover and trade-sized books, if you're more into paper than e-ink. But with the price of the Kindle 2 and Nook dropping through the floor, it you're going to go with the e-reader then you need to consider a really nice folio for it. They're available online, at some chains such as Barnes and Noble and Restoration Hardware, and at local outlets.

(And there's an ongoing Essay Contest on the website, with the best "Desert Island" book essay winning a Book Light in a Bookcover--go over and check it out.)

The notepads that came with the e-reader folio and Executive Padfolio didn't quite thrill me, so I added my own. But the e-reader's space for a notepad is too big for my Rhodia No. 16, and too small for the Rhodia no. 14. Guess which small notepads fit just right and look really cool? Grid+lines wins, and it looks like I'll be ordering more small Doane Paper notepads to go with my Periscope Lighted e-reader folio.


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