I first discovered Paperback Note via a link at Better Living Through Design. It later turned out I’d made their creator a notebook addict of the week. It makes perfect sense that Herman would be so addicted to notebooks, he had to start a company to make them!
Paperback Notes Notebooks are made of old paperback books, but unlike some other notebooks made from recycled books, these keep the entire cover wrap intact.
The samples I was sent represent an interesting mix– an old Harlequin romance and some classics (including one of the original Penguin paperbacks that has inspired their current line of accessories).
Each notebook is pleasantly slim and solid. I’m not sure what their manufacturing process is, but the old book covers seem to be smoothly and securely fastened to the new notebook interior, almost as if laminated. The corners are precisely rounded.
The spines sometimes show a little wear, and you can see that the original book may have been slightly thicker than the notebook (though according to their website, the page count in the notebooks varies from 30-60 pages according to the original book’s thickness). The pages are sewn in signatures, so the notebooks open flat.
I really like how they’ve managed to preserve the wear and tear of the old book in the form of a sleek notebook that feels like it won’t fall into tatters. I also like the subtle Paperback Note branding– their logo is embossed onto the back cover– it’s easy to miss, and is more visible in reverse on the inside back cover.
The paper inside these notebooks has a slight texture, but all my usual pens wrote very smoothly on it. My Sharpie and Acculiner pens bled out a bit, and there was some feathering with fountain pens, but the overall show-through/ bleed-through performance was better than average. The paper is acid-free. All the notebooks I received had blank pages, which is standard, but according to their blog, lined or gridded paper is available upon request.
To buy one of these notebooks, you go to their website, pick out the book cover you want, and they then turn it into a handcrafted notebook. Pricing on the website is in Canadian dollars, but I’m afraid to say it’s a bit steep: Most of the notebooks are $25CAN each. Shipping to the US is $9CAN plus $3CAN per item, so your total would be $37CAN for one notebook, or about $37.25US at current conversion rates. They’ll also sell you the original book for $5CAN– I’m not sure how this works, as the cover would be removed to make the notebook, and a set of interior book pages on their own might not be that appealing to most people. You can also contact them to arrange to have your own books rebound into notebooks.
Bottom line: I love these notebooks and their workmanship makes them the best recycled-book notebook I’ve seen. But the quality comes at a pretty high price that might make them better for gift-giving than everyday use.
Check out the wares at Paperback Note… and you can enter to win one of the two notebooks I’m giving away to random winners selected from entries received in these ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing “Paperback Note” “@NotebookStories, and follow “@NotebookStories.”
On your blog, post something containing the words “Paperback Note” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this blog.
The deadline for entry is Friday October 26 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.