If you’re like me, then you probably have a great disdain for cookie cutter designs of any sort. You don’t have to have the eye of a graphic artist to look at the typical hot pink, yellow, fluorescent green, and polka-dotted eReader jacket designs that litter cyberspace with absolute contempt. If given a choice between plain, dull, and contrived, I usually opt for the flat black option, but give me some real choice, and I’ll come up with a doozy.
Therefore I was undeniably excited when I saw that a company had finally come up with a way for people to design their own Kindle jackets. What follows is a discussion of my experience using M-Edge’s MyEdge software, and a review of the jacket the service produced.
How It Works
I have to start by saying that if you’ve ever used one of those online photo ordering websites, you should have no problem designing your own Kindle case. M-Edge has done an excellent job with the “MyEdge” interface, making what could have been a truly difficult experience something that even a novice can pull off. In other words, if I can figure out how to do it without calling technical support, anyone can.
The process is simple. Once you get to the MyEdge website, you’re faced with three jacket sizes to choose from: Kindle, Nook, or iPad. Once you make your selection you’re given a few more options. Appropriately sized jackets for the iPad 1 and 2 are available, as are jackets for the Kindle 2 and 3. If you’re a Nook enthusiast, you don’t have to worry about size variations.
At this point, a customizing page comes up that gives you the option of uploading personal images directly from your computer that’ll appear on the front and back cover of your eReader jacket. The upload is slow, but that could have had more to do with the fact that I’d chosen a super high resolution image for my Kindle jacket.
The editor also lets you choose from a small gallery of patterns and colors to spruce up your jacket design if you’re so inclined, and the “preview design” button lets you see what your creation will look like from various angles.
Of course, not everyone has a brilliant idea for a jacket design, and if you count yourself among the ranks of those who’d rather find a pre-existing template in the Style Library, there are almost 250 to pore over – many of which were built by users with a flair for the creative (as well as a flair for the plain dull).
My advice: you’re spending $40 for this jacket ($50 if you own an iPad), so unless you see something in the Style Library that absolutely floats your boat, why not make it truly unique?
The jacket itself is a pretty simple, no-frills deal. The interior flap is made of micro suede, while the exterior is a lightweight cotton canvas. Your eReader of choice is held in place in the jacket by secure leather straps at all four corners, ensuring a snug fit. According to the MyEdge site, the front canvas is treated with ScotchGard.
- Excellent quality end product: Print job on the cotton canvas cover captures your desired image perfectly and the jacket’s spine is rigid and durable.
- Easy to use editing tool makes it simple to design a unique, one-of-a-kind jacket you’ll never confuse for someone else’s the next time you’re hanging out at an eBook party.
- Design isn’t limited to just one uploaded image or stock pattern, with an option to mix and match several images and patterns.
- The jacket interior only comes in one color: cream.
- Spine colors are limited to two basic colors: black and brown. Considering the other opportunities for customization, M-Edge should provide a few more options.
- It’s expensive.
Delivery of my own personally designed MyEdge jacket took just over two weeks, but that’s no reflection on M-Edge. I did, after all, opt for the cheapest method of delivery.
When the package finally arrived and I cracked open the delivery box, I was pleasantly surprised. I have to admit, I was skeptical about what the final product would look like, despite the cost. I even selected an artsy-fartsy type photo with a blurry background and focused object in the foreground because I thought, if anything, that would test the limitations of the print technology – but it still came out looking great.
The soft cotton canvas jacket looks and feels fabulous, and the 3/4-inch-thick spine feels tough and durable. I didn’t even mind the cream colored micro suede interior as much as I thought I would, although the nitpicker in me still thinks M-Edge should offer a choice there.
All in all, I still think the $40-$50 price tag feels a bit high, considering the end product. But the idea of creating a personalized eReader or iPad jacket feels especially novel, and the print quality M-Edge offers is top notch.