Here’s a new brand of notebooks from Buenos Aires, Argentina: Libretas Brügge. The owner of the company was kind enough to send me 3 samples to review.
Brügge’s notebooks offer pretty much all the standard features: a hard cover, removable paper band with branding, elastic closure, ribbon marker, and back pocket. They come in pocket and medium sizes, a variety of colors, and side- and top-opening styles. (Other styles are also displayed on their website.) Shown below with a pocket size Moleskine for comparison:
Inside the front cover, you have the brand name, and lines to write your contact details. In the back, the company’s web address, and an all-paper pocket– no cloth reinforcement on the expanding sides. The spine is flexible enough to open nice and flat. The elastic closure has just the right amount of tension– not too tight, not too loose, so you can tuck it around the back cover to get it out of the way.
Here’s my major disappointment with these notebooks: the cover overhang is really pronounced, and it’s not symmetrical. In each of the samples I received, the book block is not centered on the cover. In the orange one I test-drove, it sticks out much more on the top than on the bottom, and the side edge of the front cover sticks out much more than the back cover.
If the front cover had been even with the back, I think there would have been a lot of extra room in the spine– it’s almost as though the book block should have been thicker for this cover, but they chose a lighter paper. There’s also some extra glue in the spine that makes the orange cover stick to the spine of the pages. In general, the quality of construction on these is a bit behind other similar brands, all made in China as these are. (If I had to guess, I would say they are making these notebooks in the same factory as Piccadilly uses, or used to use a few years ago, at least, because some of the materials seem quite similar, and also because one of Brügge’s other products is a notebook identical to the Piccadilly Primo I reviewed several years ago. They also offer a softcover notebook, and if that’s anything like the Piccadilly softcover I reviewed, I’d be excited to try one, since they offer plain and squared page versions.)
Inside, the notebook has creamy white paper. It feels quite pleasant to write on, fairly smooth but with a very slight tooth to it. It feels great with fine point gel ink pens and pencils but started to seem a wee bit feathery with wetter pens. It’s pretty thin, though– showthrough and bleed-through were worse than average.
So unfortunately, I can’t give these a glowing review due to the quality issues. These seem to be sold only in Argentina, where at least one online retailer has them priced at 73 Argentine pesos, which is about $9.26 in US dollars right now. If these were sold at much lower retail prices, I could overlook some of the quality concerns… but I know Argentina is in a tough economic situation right now, so perhaps lower pricing would be impossible.
But I’m still very pleased to have had a chance to try these, and to add a new country to my notebook collection. And you can take a chance at adding one to your collection too, by entering the giveaway!
I’ll be giving one notebook each to two lucky winners randomly selected from entries received in any of the following ways:
On your blog, post something containing the words “Brügge” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday March 7, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.