This review makes me sad! I’m going to cut to the chase and say this is a GREAT notebook, but it seems that SiS Original, the online store that sent me this sample has just gone out of business! Now I feel very bad that I wasn’t able to catch up and write the review sooner. That said, let’s take a look at this lovely Conceptum notebook they sent me.
Conceptum is a German brand of notebooks that come in a variety of styles. The one I received is the Conceptum Pure Softcover notebook. In some ways, it seems very similar to other softcover notebooks, but there are some lovely features and details that set Conceptum apart.
The packaging is a bit more elaborate than the usual paper bellyband. It’s a snug wrap-around, with full coverage of the back of the notebook so they can explain some of the features in multiple languages.
Once the wrapper’s off, you have a nice simple exterior, with the brand name on the front cover, and the Sigel logo on the back cover. You’ll immediately notice one key feature that a lot of people will be happy about: a built-in pen loop. (I personally never use pen loops, so I could live without it!) The elastic closure is a bit wider than usual, and I thought it felt a bit flabby, though not loose enough to be a problem. Shown below next to a pocket hardcover Moleskine for size comparison.
Open the front cover, and you get more nice details that most other notebooks don’t offer: a little pocket where you can tuck cards or receipts, and an index page. The notebook opens nice and flat, and you have not one but two ribbon markers, in different colors, which is a really nice touch.
The pages are numbered throughout. At the back, some of the pages are perforated. In notebooks like this with plain pages, they give you a sheet with lines and squares on it that you can use as a guide for tracing over. The back pocket has cloth-reinforced sides.
The paper feels great with all my usual pens, nice and smooth. My Lamy Safari fountain pen seemed to skid on the page a bit at first, which may have just been the pen itself getting going, or perhaps an oily spot on the page, but other than that, the paper seems pretty good for fountain pens. Show-through and bleed-through were about average for this weight of paper.
There’s just something very nice about this notebook– it seems well-made, with good attention to detail and design, and nice extra features. At 93 x 140 mm, it’s exactly my preferred size, though I was disappointed to see that the hardcover Conceptum notebooks are slightly larger: 115 x 150. I would definitely buy more of these, but unfortunately they don’t seem to be sold outside of Europe, though there are listings on eBay from sellers who will ship to the US, and also some listings on Amazon. The Amazon price for this pocket size notebook is about $15, which is not exactly cheap, but I think the quality and features justify the differential from a pocket softcover Moleskine at $12.95. And I’m grateful to the people at SiS Original who sent me the sample. They had some other interesting brands on their site that I hadn’t seen elsewhere, so I’m hoping they’ll be able to reopen someday!
If anyone has any other good leads on where to buy these, please let us know in the comments!