ReAuthored, based in Missouri, USA is a small company that has combined recycling, technology and art to create cases for a number of tablet devices, including the iPad, Kindle, and Google Nexus using discarded hardback books. Every case is made by hand and ReAuthored take great pride in their products that involve patience, passion and hard work.
When ReAuthored offered to send me my own customised case, all the way from the U.S., I couldn’t refuse and after waiting patiently it finally arrived. It came with a personal touch of a hand written note, a number of business cards and some more information about the company.
Customers can purchase a case, for about $59 each, through the website using PayPal and ReAuthored will ship to anywhere in the world. They currently serve 28 countries and are hoping to expand.
Because of my love of art, travel and design (about which ReAuthored enquired) the black faux leather iPad 2 case, made from a discarded Times Life Series book of the History of design in Vienna, is a reflection of who I am and therefore unique. It’s A3 in size, fits comfortably into a standard laptop bag and is surprisingly light, having had some of the middle of its pages removed to make room for the iPad, which sits comfortably in a leather lined compartment. What’s more is that some of the pages have remained intact, so I can read its pages and look at the photography.
Now, I was ready to find out more about who ReAuthored is and I interviewed its founder JC Holmes who runs it with co-founder and wife Maha.
What was the inspiration behind ReAuthored?
The Original idea came from a forum post I stumbled upon a few years ago where a person had made a hiding spot for their iPad by cutting out of an old book. I Immediately thought it would be cool if I could do something similar as a carrying case for the Kindle. That was as far as it went for several months until Maha and I, who were no longer passionate about our day jobs, were discussing possible ventures we could look into and I pitched the idea to her. Needless to say she loved it.
We soon started experimenting and quickly learned how hard it was going to be not only to cut out these books but to build a product that people didn’t just think was cool, but that they could use everyday. Now our inspiration comes from our customers. We have come a long way since the beginning and it’s exclusively because we are always asking our customers for improvements and ideas to give them what they want.
What were some of the challenges you encountered when you first started out?
Where do I begin? It’s just been the two of us since the beginning: we have made every case, written every email, hand-picked every book and there are only so many hours in the day. It’s tough sometimes but we have bootstrapped this with our own time, money and hard work since the beginning and it makes us proud to know we’ve done it on our own.
The other challenges come from trying to create a product that hasn’t been done before. We have sent countless emails and made hundreds of calls to people around the world trying to find better ways of doing what we do. Sometimes, it’s a slow process, but it’s worth it to us to be able to make every case ourselves and know that we have used the highest quality materials and techniques we possible could.
How long does it take you to produce a case?
It’s almost shocking how much time actually goes into making one of our cases. We travel very far to find good selections of discarded books, so factoring in the time to find and select the book that suits a customer, ensure it will be the right size, look and durability, design the case, cut the interior, set the cut pages, create the interiors, sometimes recover exteriors, add the elastic straps and do our finishing touches…in total it takes us roughly one and a half hours to make each case.
Where do you source your materials from?
This has been a slow process, but we have been continually making new contacts to find books since we began. Because we are so picky, we normally don’t get large numbers of books from any one source. As for the other materials we have made huge improvements over the past few months to ensure that we are using the highest quality non-toxic materials we can find.
We’ve changed our adhesives, fabrics, elastic and almost every component that goes into making a case over the past year and it has made a world of difference. We are always searching for new and better sources though, so if anyone has a good contact, please let us know!
What is your most popular product or design?
I guess you could say our ‘most popular’ case is for the iPad 2, but I say that simply because it’s the one we’ve sold the most of. Since we make each case from a different recycled book, each one has its own unique character and is truly a one-of-a-kind item. We think that those little bits of character add something really special to our cases.
Do you have any plans to expand your product line as new devices are launched?
It’s funny that you ask that question because I actually just made our pre-order listings live for both the Microsoft Surface and Google Nexus. We don’t have listings up for every device out there, but we are doing our best to be continually add new devices and stay-on-top of the new technology coming to market.
You can view the pictures of my ReAuthored iPad 2 case below: