I previously posted some snapshots of notebook sightings during my travels around Istanbul, but now let’s get into the details of the 5 notebooks I actually purchased there.
Below is the first notebook I purchased, the Elastic Notebook/ Bloknot by Le Color. From doing a little online searching, this seems to be a Turkish brand, but I couldn’t find this exact notebook anywhere. I found it in a fairly nondescript office supply store.
It’s a pretty standard Moleskine-ish notebook with the usual elastic band, accordion pocket, ribbon marker and logo stamped on the back. But it feels a bit cheap and has that big cover overhang I don’t care for. I wasn’t hugely excited about it when I bought it, but it was the first interesting and unusual notebook I’d seen, so my standards weren’t that high!
One thing that is quite weird about this notebook is that the elastic closure is extremely tight– you can see below how short it is. I didn’t love the brown color. This notebook didn’t open 100% flat very easily, and though I found the paper nice and smooth, it was a bit thin.
The next notebook I bought was much nicer: a softcover squared notebook by Modena/ Fabio Ricci. There’s no indication of the country of origin on the packaging, and from the name, you’d think it might be Italian, but according to this website, it seems to be made in Turkey.
I quite liked this notebook– I’ve been on the verge of starting to use it daily. The cover has a nice vertical rib texture to it, and the notebook is sturdy but flexible. The paper inside is nice to write on. The only drawbacks were that it was a little harder to open completely flat than some other notebooks, and the pocket in the back was all paper (no cloth tape on the edges) and kind of flimsy. I’ve lost track of exactly how much it cost, but I think it was relatively cheap– this was also found in a run of the mill office supply store.
Then there’s the trio of notebooks I bought at Panter on Istiklal Caddesi, a high-end touristy shopping street. First, the Filou notebook by Brunnen.
They had a whole range of these in different sizes and I thought they were very cute. The red string closure is something I’ve only seen on inter-office envelopes, never notebooks. But after playing around with this a bit, I decided I didn’t like the loose strings flapping around when the notebook is open.
Below is another Brunnen notebook. This has a soft cover and a cloth-taped spine, with squared pages within. It’s an inexpensive, basic notebook, somewhat wider and slightly thicker than a Moleskine Volant. Due to the taped edge and glue binding, it really doesn’t open flat at all.
This one is my favorite of the Panter buys, the Brunnen Kompagnon reporter-style notebook. I have lost track of exactly how much it cost but I seem to remember that it was quite expensive, so much so that I had to grit my teeth and remind myself that I have a responsibility to my readers to purchase such things!
These were available in black and white, top-opening and side-opening, with various sizes and paper styles. Very similar to your basic Moleskine or Piccadilly, but with some important differences.
The pen loop on the side is a nice touch, and the notebook flips open 360 degrees. The sheets are all perforated for easy tear-out. It’s hard to see in these photos, but the cover boards of this notebook are quite thin compared to other notebooks, but they are still rigid.
The Kompagnon I bought has squared paper. It’s on the top in the photo below, with the yellow Brunnen under it, then the Fabio Ricci, then a Moleskine for comparison. Interesting variety in the paper tones and the line color and size of the squares. I don’t usually like reporter-style notebooks or care about pen loops, but I really liked the Kompagnon and contemplated adding it to my daily use candidates… until I tested the paper. I found it rather rough and not that pleasant to write on with my usual fine tip pens. I didn’t do full pen tests on all these notebooks but maybe someday I’ll do a follow-up post if I run out of other things to write about! (I did confirm that all the papers were acid-free.)
Below you can see some shots of these notebooks stacked up with a pocket Moleskine on top for size comparison:
All in all, I was pleased to find this nice a variety of notebooks in Turkey and wish I’d had time to explore even more stationery shops. But there were a few other interesting things to do there!