What a brilliant idea! Wish I had thought of it myself. I liked the idea, but not the construction. It is perfectly fine, just not my style. So I decided to lift the idea and change it to form my own style.
I am a paper person, as you know so I wanted to construct this using paper. You know me, I also wanted to add my own "Michelle" to it. I started with 2 strips of 8x2.5 sheet of cardstock (what a perfect use for scraps!!). I set them aside. I took a strip of duct tape and laid out my pennies. I used 20 pennies. On each end I added 4 pennies on top to add a little weight. I used the duct tape to hold all this in place.
I then took one of the 2 strips (right side down) and glued the duct tape piece to the strip. I used Scrappy Glue by Heidi Swapp. So far I have found this to be a very good glue for holding heavy things to my projects. After adhering that strip I placed the second strip on top and glued it to the top of the duct tape stuff. I used binder clips all around to hold in place(you can never have too many binder clips on hand when you construct things from paper). Let this set up a bit and after about 10 minutes remove the clips. It may tear some of the paper, but you can distress over this...no big deal.
If there are any gaps I use Aleene's tacky glue and put some into the gaps. Clip again and let set a few minutes.
Now take all the clips off (if you have not already) and let dry for about an hour. Distress the base if you desire after that hour is over. Then decorate the top as you desire.
Once, everything is dry, get yourself a good book and test it out. Now you can cook and not worry about the book closing or you can read your favorite book and not worry about losing your place.