Friday, October 16, 2009

Free Your Hands

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&, 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 . . .


  1. Hi Lynn,
    I checked Amazon for that Gimble you wanted but you have to order it from the company direct. The SKU # is (this has to be exact): U-R HSBND 1. If that one doesn't work you cab always try model number two or even three (though some people frown at that :))


  2. Astrid5:33 AM

    I think you don't call that one Gimble but "husband" or boyfriend :-)

  3. I must have a defective version of the products mentioned above; )

    I am off to B & N.

  4. That's an intriguing holder - haven't seen that style before. I'm a big bookholder fan - my absolute favorite is the discontinued ReadUpon. For reading away from home, I have a FlipKlip that I keep in my purse. Neither breaks book spines.

  5. These look great - I can imagine using them to hold open cookbooks which always pose a problem for me. However, how convenient is it to have to tuck in the page every time you turn it, especially when reading a novel that moves along quickly? It seems like it would be intrusive to smooth reading when you're ready to flip onward and have to pause to pull the page out from one clip and tuck it into the opposite side? Or is it no big deal?

  6. Lynn wrote: However, how convenient is it to have to tuck in the page every time you turn it, especially when reading a novel that moves along quickly?

    It can be a little awkward turning pages (I lift the right clip, thumb the page over, and guide it under the left clip) so if you're a speed reader I imagine it would become annoying. A friend of mine uses a Book Hugger ( for her sheet music books when she plays and loves it because it's easy to turn pages; that might work better for you, Lynn.

  7. Lynn M asked the same question I had. How difficult is it turning the pages when you read. However, I can really see it as a cookbook holder. I prefer to lay mine flat on the counter rather than in a stand because I run my finger over the recipe as I go (which makes for some very messy pages :P )so I can see myself easily using it for that.

  8. I always wanted something like this when I was a girl and wanted to read while doing dishes. I would clip a book to the curtain rod over the sink with clothespins. This would have been so much better.

  9. That's cool. Somehow I didn't know these things existed.

  10. This sounds like a convenient little gadget. I have been using a BookMate for several years, but the book cant stand up unless you buy an additional product to help it and the plastic strip across eventually tears. I found it on ebay. I think the next time I need to get another I just might try the Gimble. Thanks for the tip.

  11. do you recommend (in the tech of writing dept) any voice to text software?

  12. Hey - there's a new telescopic , folding version just come out - it's brilliant, makes such a difference been using mine on holiday and there's another improvement it attaches to the book cover


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