I received a sample of the Monsieur Notebook quite a long time ago, and in some ways it’s a good thing I hadn’t gotten around to reviewing it until now, as the company is growing fast and has had some interesting recent developments. Monsieur has been in business for about two years, producing hand-finished leather-bound notebooks in India. They come in various colors and sizes and paper types, and they now offer customized engraving on the covers.
In most respects, this notebook has all the standard features: ribbon marker, elastic closure, and logo stamped on the back. The inside front cover has a space for your name.
The key difference is the leather cover. Rather than being a thin layer of leather wrapped around cover boards, it’s a single layer of thick, sturdy leather, as you can see from the edges. It has that nice leather smell, and I’m sure it will soften up nicely as it ages. One immediate benefit I can see to this type of cover is that you won’t have that fraying that often happens at the corners of the spines of Moleskines and other similar notebooks, where the outer layer of the cover starts to tear from repeated folding.
They have a beautiful selection of colors:
The spine feels a little stiff, more so in front and back than when opening at middle, but it should soften up and break in: as the company points out on their website, “If you want your notebook to lie flat, bend the book back on itself. It can take the strain; they’re stronger than you think.”
The sample I was sent has their 90 gsm plain paper, which is smooth and somewhat “hard.” (Their “sketch” notebooks have a 140 gsm paper that is said to be “not as primed,” and better for pencil and charcoal.) All my usual pens felt good writing on it, and there was no beading-up or feathering. Only the Super Sharpie bled through. Show-through was about average.
Overall, this is quite a nice notebook and I look forward to seeing how it settles in over time. Prices start at £9.99 for A6 size, which is not super cheap, but also not unreasonable for the level of quality, I think. If you’d like to try a Monsieur Notebook yourself, at the moment your best bet may be ordering online– they are have distribution in the UK and Australia, but the US is “coming soon” at this point. In the meantime, we have a giveaway!
The folks at Monsieur Notebook have kindly offered to give one lucky reader a free notebook, including customized engraving! The winner can select any A5 or A6 notebook from their shop. I’ll select a random winner from entries received in these ways:
On your blog, post something containing the words “Monsieur Notebook” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this blog.
The deadline for entry is Friday May 18 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.