Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2020 Issue

Bookwallets – a New Bookish Way to Hide Your Money

No, they aren't books. They're wallets.

Hollowed out books in which you could hide your valuables have been made for centuries. I guess the idea was that no one would want to open a book, let alone steal it, so what could offer a safer hiding place? Now, a new twist has been created based on that same assumption, who would want to steal a book?

 

According to founder Westley Coleman of Portland, Oregon, he left his wallet behind on the driver's seat of his car one night, presumably it having slipped from his pocket. He said it wasn't the first time. When he peered in the window the next morning, he realized the danger of someone seeing the wallet and stealing it. It occurred to him that the risk would be less if his wallet didn't look like a wallet, but instead something thieves were less likely to steal. Thereupon came the inspiration for a new business. He would create a “bookwallet,” a wallet that looked like an old novel. The business now goes by the name “Novel Bookwallet.”

 

They have come up with almost three dozen designs, each being the cover of some old book. Classic books have the advantage of being familiar, plus, being out of copyright, the creator won't have to worry about a copyright holder trying to empty his bookwallet.

 

Portland is known as a city where people are environmentally friendly. Novel Bookwallet doesn't disappoint. Its wallets are made from cloth and natural resins, which create a leather-like appearance. There is no plastic, and no animal hides are used. If you are vegan and find yourself starving out in the woods, one of those situations where people had to eat their shoe leather, you can eat your wallet with a clear conscience.

 

The novels as which the wallets are disguised are ones you know, Huckleberry Finn, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland (a later edition since “Adventures” is left out of the title), Les Miserables, Little Women, The Three Little Pigs, Dracula, and many more. You can even get a bible, appropriate since many people used to hide money in a bible, believing no thief would ever open that book. Since full-size books won't fit in most people's pockets, these are necessarily smaller than a typical book. Perhaps large miniature, if there is such a size classification, would be descriptive.

 

The wallets are surprisingly inexpensive. Most are priced in the $15-$25 range. They have been selling them in groups of two or more, so the total may be a bit higher, but this way, even if you run out of money, you will never run out of wallets.

 

So, how has this novel idea been received? The creator put them out on a Kickstarter page, allowing people to pre-order them. In the first run, 4,754 supporters pledged $263,522 to buy them. Sounds like he has a winner here.

Rare Book Monthly

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