These Books Are Smaller Than a Smartphone

Reports of the printed word’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Independent bookstores have grown by an estimated 40% since 2009, while e-readers, once thought a death knell, are in decline.

And then there’s Mouse Books, the Chicago company making a name for itself thanks to a nifty innovation: they condense canonical pieces of literature into a format the size of a smartphone.

Mouse was initially funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017. Their subscription-based premise was simple: once a quarter, they send readers a packet of three famous works of literature — poetry, fiction and non-fiction all included — grouped according to a theme. “Struggle,” for example, included Thoreau, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe; “Bullshit” got you Melville, Jonathan Swift and Machiavelli.

Shorter works are printed in their entirety, while longer ones are abridged down to their “essential” sections. Great for people aspiring to broaden their literary horizons on a short timeline, great for gifting.

Now Mouse is back on Kickstarter for their “second season” at a price that can’t be beat: $15 will get you all three volumes from the first theme of 2019 (“Service”), while $50 gets you an entire year’s haul (12 total volumes, plus some extras for friends and family. You can also stock up on old volumes, including a boxed set “micro library” that includes every book they’ve printed to date.

And since everything is printed in Mount Prospect, Illinois, you won’t just be supporting your local bookstore — you’ll be supporting your local print industry from the ground up.