BookBook iPhone Case Review: A unique case for the books

One of the more unique iPhone cases is the BookBook for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. It combines the functionality of a wallet and case in what ultimately looks like a miniaturized classic literary book that belongs on the shelves your local library. Is the Book Book right for you? Read our BookBook iPhone case review to see if it’s time to shelve your trusty wallet in favor of this all one design.

The Book Book is constructed of a high quality brown leather, one that is partly distressed and scuffed, most notably on the spine of the book. This is intentional by design. Over time, you can expect more scratches and scuffs that will result in even more character. I presume the team at Twelvesouth were looking to produce a product that doesn’t feel mass produced, which was definitely accomplished. The spine has gold foil imprints that faithfully reproduce the old leather books of yesteryear. Opening the case reveals three slots for credit cards, license, IDs and in my case a Starbucks card. The slot at the bottom has a transparent hard plastic covering exposing the contents of that slot, making it best served as a place for your license. There is also a pocket for cash or other items.

BookBook iPhone Case

On the other side is an insert for the iPhone 4. A red fabric tab that is reminiscent of a bookmark acts to close the case once you’ve securely placed your iPhone.The soft suede backing protects the sides and back of your iPhone. Leather wraps the four corners to provide a snug, but not overly tight fit. It feels very secure when placed in the BookBook, large in part to the red tab that extends from the middle top and tucks in behind the iPhone.

Book case

The primary role of the BookBook is to serve as a single carry-all for your iPhone and the contents of your wallet. I don’t carry a large amount of credit cards, nor cash in my wallet, but still felt a bit constrained by the BookBook. With two credit cards, a license, Starbucks card and assorted cash, the case starts to feel overloaded. The biggest culprit was cash, which when folded to accommodate the space, made it difficult to properly close the case. The cash would bump up against the left side of the iPhone.

BookBook iPhone 4 case

While the items in your BookBook wallet aren’t likely to cause damage to the iPhone, I did find that they were coming in contact with the screen quite often. The tab used to secure the iPhone created a bump at the top back of the case. The iPhone does feel very secure and you’re going to enjoy a high level of protection while using the BookBook.

Leather iPhone case

When you have everything in the case, it’s empowering to carry just one wallet-phone to rule them all. As someone who often forgets his wallet, this case makes that impossible, since I never leave home without my iPhone.

There are some hurdles to using the BookBook as a daily driver. When typing on my iPhone, I cradle each side of the phone with my palms, allowing dual-thumb typing. The case cover can be folded back. All of the ports and buttons are accessible. To use the camera, you pull the red tab and slide the iPhone up. This wasn’t a dealbreaker for me, although it does hinder your ability to take quick shots.


In the end, this is a phone, so you are going to hold it up to your ear on occasion. Holding a mini-literary publication up to my ear redefined the word awkward. I wasn’t sure how to hold it, not to mention how it might have looked. “Look at that guy with the tiny book up to his ear”.

I use the iPhone’s tap to top feature with regularity. It’s one of my favorite features of iOS. The leather outlines the case so perfectly that it makes it difficult to properly hit the top of the display, causing me to revert back to scrolling.

BookBook iPhone Case Review: Conclusion

I was genuinely excited to test drive the BookBook case and had visions of it simplifying my everyday life, by having one case/wallet to rule them all. The quality and design of the case was impeccable. The materials were soft to the touch and I absolutely loved the weathered look of the leather. While novel, unfortunately the BookBook loses points when it comes to usability. Using this case severely impacts how I use my iPhone, thus removing any utility gained from having one unified case/wallet.

The BookBook case for iPhone retails for $59.99 and is available from twelvesouth, the Apple Store and other online retailers including Amazon.

4 thoughts on “BookBook iPhone Case Review: A unique case for the books”

  1. I’ve had this case for a few months now, and although it is a good case with great looks, there are a couple of concerns. If you leave any face oil on your screen, there will always be an imprint of the license holder on your screen. And the narrow strip of leather at the top of the license pocket will eventually rub very find scratches onto the screen which will look somewhat hazy. I’d like to find a good glass polish to try and rub that out. The ‘haze’ of scratches is only really visible when the screen needs wiped off. Other than that I really like the case.

    • I ended-up sending mine back and getting a refund. The same thing happened to mine, luckily I noticed it early enough so I was able to buff out the hazy area.

  2. I’ve had the bookbook case for a few months now, and while I love the case (although I’m constantly being asked if it’s a Bible) I have noticed some shortcomings. The main one is that over time that the tab/strap on the back loses its tautness and your phone begins to slide in place considerably, the light sensor at the top of the phone will be obscured is there’s to much play. This becomes problematic when you need to use the keypad during a call (e.g. automated menu prompts). I did not see that noted in previous reviews and felt it was worth mentioning; perhaps a small clasp or some other method of locking the phone in place would mitigate this issue. I still feel it to be a great and stylish case, just deserves a minor tweaking.

  3. I actually found this product quite awesome. I did not encounter any of the problems listed above. I loved how I did not have to carry two items with me, and it all collapsed to one. I agree with it being bulky if you carry a lot of cash. Luckily I do not, I have only a few items in my wallet anyways. I do feel though the concept could be pushed farther though.


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