Review: BookBuddy, My Favorite Fibromyalgia Helper

ReadingI’m so excited to not only be able to give you my review of the BookBuddy, by Amanda Crawford Designs.

Several years ago, back when my fibromyalgia was so bad that I couldn’t work, I did an extensive search for something to help me read and journal comfortably while sitting in bed and on the couch.

Like many of you, I found that the couch or bed was the most comfortable place for my body during the day. (Let’s be honest. It’s the most comfortable place anytime, right?) The problem was that I would end up getting a lot of headaches, and neck and back pain when I would try to read, journal or use my laptop. Through the help of my massage therapist and chiropractor, I realized that I was bending my neck and upper back down too far to see what I was doing.

I tried holding my book up higher to read, to keep my neck and back straighter, but I just didn’t have the strength in my hands and arms to physically hold the book that long. On the few days I did have the strength to hold the book up, I’d end up with worse upper back pain from holding my arms in one position. After a while, I just stopped reading altogether. (Mind you, I love to read! I’m on track to read a book a week this year.) Of course, that strategy just wasn’t possible for writing or using my laptop.

I figured out that if I propped up two throw pillows on my lap, I could get the book at about the right height. I’d still have to hold down the pages, which wasn’t totally comfortable, but my neck, head and back sure felt better. I actually measured the dimensions of those pillows and set out to see if I could find something that would work.

I actually found all sorts of things. Hard things. Uncomfortable things. Things that were ugly and utilitarian. Things that I didn’t want to have sitting out in my living room all the time. Bulky and heavy things. Sure, they were the right dimension, but other than that, forget it!

BookBuddy by Amanda Crawford DesignsThen I found the BookBuddy by Amanda Crawford Designs. *Hallelujah!* It was beautiful, soft, and had features I hadn’t even dreamed of! I could use it for reading, writing, and using my laptop! I had to have it!

I use my BookBuddy so much that Scott calls it my “EverythingBuddy.” I even take it in the car with me to hotels or friends’ houses when I travel. I haven’t gotten around to taking it when I travel via airplane… but I just might on the next trip. I literally use this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I seriously can’t live without this thing! I’m using it right now as I write this blog post! (Click any photo to see the image larger.)

The BookBuddy is designed as a lap pillow with a “ribbon-lock system” and removable acrylic lap desk. Four ribbons cross the BookBuddy to help hold things in place so that you don’t have to. Each ribbon has an adjustable fastener that allows you to make it as tight or loose as you need it to be, accommodating any size book or laptop.

BookBuddy with Laptop
Ellie feeling snug & secure

The pillow distributes the weight of your laptop or book making it nearly weightless and protects you from hard edges and laptop heat. It also brings the height of what you’re doing up to something more ergonomic – making your neck and back much happier. The acrylic lap desk gives you a hard surface when you need it, like to keep your laptop from suffocating, or when you need a writing desk.

As you can see in the photos, when I’m using my laptop, Ellie, I use the corner ribbons to keep her secure. The ribbons are in exactly the right place so that they don’t interfere with me, the keyboard or the trackpad.

BookBuddy with bookWhen reading, the vertical ribbons hold your book in place. If the book is large enough, you can even tuck the pages under the corner ribbons. I remember trying to read the Harry Potter books before my BookBuddy… HA! Talk about uncomfortable! After I got my BookBuddy, I started reading some of those big books that I’d never been able to hold before. You can also use one of the BookWorm Page Weights to help hold down the pages on these big guys. (Click the image at right to see it with a BookWorm.) Doesn’t this look a lot more do-able?

BookBuddy with iPadWhen you want to use the BookBuddy as a writing desk, just slip the corner ribbons over the tabs on the outside of the acrylic lap desk and you have a lump-free desk. Since I use my BookBuddy with Ellie so much, I just leave the corner ribbons on the top of the acrylic. They really aren’t in the way. This is also how I have it when I’m using my iPad. No more “iPad thumb” from holding your iPad! I have my iPad in a case that allows me to prop it up.

The more you use your BookBuddy, the more things you’ll find to use it for! I seriously need one in every room in my house. I find that I’m always wanting it and it’s in a different room! Amanda Crawford Designs makes them in so many gorgeous fabrics and colors that I know I’ll be able to find one that matches each room’s decor.

Things I do with my BookBuddy:

BookBuddy, corner
BookBuddy with acrylic lap desk, click pic to see it better in the enlarged view.
  • Writing this blog post!
  • Using my laptop
  • Eating, when not at the dining room table =)
  • Working in bed or on the couch
  • Using my iPad
  • Writing in my journal
  • Playing cards with Scott
  • Reading
  • Writing thank you notes
  • Paying bills
  • Opening mail
  • Updating my calendar

So what are you waiting for?

Contest closed September 16, 2011. Thanks to Amanda Crawford Designs for sending a BookBuddy to the winner! (YAY!)


Tami Stackelhouse


Books, Giveaway, Review, Tips

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  1. Thanks for doing this giveaway Tami! I signed up for 2 of your newsletters aand I shared your link on facebook (i don’t have twitter) so hopefully you’ll get lots of new subscribers!
    Thanks for engering me 😉

  2. @Diane – I’ve got ya! Way to be creative on blogging with Facebook notes. Is it a public page? Would love to send you some “Likes.” =) And thanks for the retweets on Twitter! =)

    @Pat – Welcome! I’ve got you entered for commenting. If you do any of the other things, be sure to leave another comment so that I know. =) So glad you found me!

    @Chris – The BookBuddy really is awesome! Thanks for signing up for the newsletter! I’ve got you entered.

    @Nancy – Awesome to see you here! Thanks for sharing the link on FB – that works too!

  3. Hello, The Book Buddy looks like it could be quite useful. My father who had a stroke might could use it, too. He just started reading again. It was very sad when we cancelled his newspaper but he didn’t want to read anything. Now he’s on his second book. Hallelujah!
    I hope I win. Blessings.

  4. @Chandra – Like I said, I use my BookBuddy for everything! That’s so wonderful about your dad! You should visit Amanda Crawford Designs site to read their story. Myrna, the owner, originally designed the BookBuddy for her mom who stopped reading due to arthritis. =)

  5. @Aviva – OHMYGOODNESS! I just read your Happy Anniversary post. My hubby’s name is Scott, like your hubby… and my computer is Ellie like your daughter. TOO FUNNY! Gotcha entered!

  6. Hey @Nicole! It IS way awesome! You read on a Nook, don’t you? Does it have a stand to prop it up? You could also look at the smaller PaperbackBuddy that they offer, depending on which way you want to turn your reader. I think that the owner, Myrna, also told me that they’re working on something specifically for the eReaders… but you know what fibro brain is like… =)

  7. This bookbuddy looks great!

    I am following you on Twitter, actually was following you before I knew any of this! (@gerrikassel)

    I posted on twitter about it with a link to your review about it

    I signed up for your newsletters (all 3)

    So I guess that’s 6 entries – hoping I win it!

    Thanks Tami!

    1. Hi Gerri! Don’t forget you were my 100th “Like” on my FibroCoach Facebook page! That got you five special edition entries! =)

      Something must’ve happened with the newsletter signup, ’cause I don’t see you on any of those lists. =( I’ve got your entries for everything else, but try the newsletter signup again. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kimberly! The Healthy Habits newsletter goes out tomorrow. You should have just gotten a welcome letter with links to the most recent newsletters. I’m pretty sure I updated that with the August Hope & Healing newsletter.

  8. I was getting excited reading about this amazing Book buddy product which looks like just what i need and then you tell me it is a giveaway. Wow! this is great
    Followed you on Twitter (@tamicat)
    Tweeted about this contest,
    Signed up for newsletter
    Thank you

  9. Hi! I’m new to your blog and the PDX Fibro group (just moved to Portland a little over six months ago) I would love to win a Book Buddy – it sounds like it will solve so many problems! Thanks!

    1. @Nadine – Welcome to Portland & our fibro group. Our next meeting is on Social Security Disability; we actually have a disability attorney coming to speak. I hope you can make it, I’d love to meet you in person!

  10. I have been a sufferer for over 10 years now. I join all the sites that I can find on Fibro. I am always open to discussing my experiences, Listening to and hopefully helping others who have this ugly disease. Please enter me in your contest.

  11. Hope you dont mind, but I am reposting your post to my page so that others who have not found you yet, can find your site and join. Thank you so much. Can you please enter me in your contest?

  12. @Rebecca – Thanks for the retweet & new follow! I’ve got your entries in.

    @Debra – Good for you for participating and sharing! It’s so easy to get isolated with fibro! If you haven’t checked out the support group I’m part of, you should. We have an online group, a private Facebook page, as well as local meetings and webinars. We’ve got lots of folks who join our group for the online support and webinars, even if they can’t come to any of the local events.

    @Sherri – I know you’re on two of my newsletters! I’ll get you entered! Good to see you here. =)

    @Pat – Got your extra entries down!

    @Lisa – The BookBuddy is awesome! I really do use it for everything.

  13. I talked to my winner today on the phone. @Aviva is it! She’s also going to write a review on her blog so you guys can hear all about how much she loves her new ‘Buddy!

    I have a special gift for all of you for playing along – watch your inboxes for an email from me sometime this week. (God & fibro willing!) =)

  14. & tweeted. Thanks so much! This looks incredible-I have the same issues & being housebound have to rely on technology-kindle, iPad, blogging, etc to stay connected! Soft hugs

  15. I suffer from severe Fibromyalgia every day. Anything I can get to make things easier on me (like this book buddy) is a gift from God. I have been on disability for 15yrs. I am in so much pain I can’t even stand up long enough to make myself a sandwich. Without my husband, sons & mother I don’t know what I would . My husband even bought me a kindel because I kept dropping my books. (Not very good when you’re reading the Bible) I would love a book buddy & if I received one I would happily advertise where I got it .(Alot of my friends have Fibromyalgia) .

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