I appreciate little low- or no-tech reading gadgets, especially the ones that are so simple I wish I'd thought of them and/or that last a long time. For a couple of years now I've happily used Gimbles, a clever little invention from the UK that allows you to hold a book open to read without using your hands.
I think I bought my original pair during one of the LB&LI workshops, maybe in 2007 or 2008. They're still in perfect shape and haven't cracked, split or warped. They are especially wonderful because unlike some other book holders, the shape of the Gimble prevents the book's spine from being damaged, and also allows you to stand the book up on end. Obviously I don't have to point out the advantages for people who have difficult holding books open; they do it for us.
The pair that are sold here in the U.S. come in two different sizes; one for standard paperbacks and one for larger trade paperbacks and softcovers. I've seen them for sale in B&N stores and also I think at BAM; they're usually displayed on those carousel racks with the bookmarks or near the booklights.
The larger Gimble even fits some oversize softcover books, you just have to test it (and for these shots of my Gimbles at work, I used the larger one on the biggest cookbook it fits):
Here's what they look like when they're not clipped on:
I purchased my pair shown in these photos from B&N.com, which is currently selling them for $7.99 U.S. (or $7.15 after membership discount.)
Now if only they could invent a Gimble that turns the pages, feeds me grapes and rubs my feet while I read . . .