The Little Blue Book

Nrepose of Unposted tipped me off to this rather nice-looking variation on the classic moleskine-ish notebook: the Little Blue Book, from a website called The Forgetful Gentleman. (They also sell a few styles of cards, which will please all who advocate the preservation of handwritten correspondence.)

This may be another case of over-the-top marketing for a notebook, as evidenced by the photos above and this description:

“While the Little Black Book has gained notoriety as the pocket companion of playboys with more show than substance, its a little known fact that throughout history true gentlemen have always carried a Little Blue Book to capture fleeting moments of inspiration and genius, wherever or whenever they may be.”

Uh-huh, and true gentlemen also probably know when to put an apostrophe in “it’s” and a hyphen in “little-known.” But getting past all that, I have to say that I LOVE the fact that it’s blue. Not fluorescent blue, not turquoise blue, but a gorgeous, old-fashioned navy blue, just like the pocketbook your grandmother took to her DAR luncheons. (Actually, they should make a version for women and call it the “Grandma’s DAR Pocketbook Journal,” or something like that, to appeal to gentlewomen!)

In all other details, it’s pretty standard: 9×14 cm size, ribbon marker, elastic closure, lined pages, interior pocket, embossed logo on back, and a place to write your name on the inside, with the header “This notebook belongs to a Forgetful Gentleman.” The cover is said to be made of “PU Leather.” While my inner third-grader wants to claim they mean it’s “pee-eww” smelly, stinky leather, my online research uncovered this definition:

Bicast leather (also known as bycast leather, split leather or PU leather) is a split leather with a layer of polyurethane applied to the surface and then embossed…. The use of the term ‘leather’ in relation to this bicast treatment is considered a misrepresentation and therefore not permitted in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Furniture made with bicast exhibits none of the characteristics associated with genuine leather; it will not develop a patina or suppleness nor otherwise “improve with age”. With constant use the polyurethane layer will crack and split free of its backing.

I’m glad I looked this up, as I’d wondered about the “bonded leather” cover of the Markings notebook — sounds like a similar process of making a cheap, leather-like material that has enough leather content to allow it to be called “leather,” at least in some countries.

The Little Blue Notebook is $12.00 plus $5.95 shipping (within the continental US) for up to 4 notebooks. At 5, the shipping increases to $12.95. At 13, it’s $24.95. At 17, it’s $32.95. I didn’t test all the other quantities beyond that, so suffice it to say that this will not be the cheapest notebook you’ve ever purchased, nor will it be the most expensive. Which seems very gentlemanly to me.

2 thoughts on “The Little Blue Book”

  1. I presume they’re referring to Smythson ‘Panama’ notebooks when they state “throughout history true gentlemen have always carried a Little Blue Book”. Unfortunately, this notebook only trumps the Smythson on price — Bond Street’s finest are renowned for their peerless quality and class, but infamous for their huge price-tag. They’re also incredibly thin due to the ‘Featherweight’ paper used inside them; on average, just over half the thickness of a Moleskine but with more leaves (128 vs. 96).

    I also think the Moleskine beats this too; it has character of its own, and its oil-cloth covers don’t try to be up-market like these PU leather covers try and fail to do. I’m also not convinced by the printing inside the front cover. It looks somewhat poorly done, and not much thought has gone into it. It certainly doesn’t strike me as particularly evocative of a gentlemanly image.

    Overall, I’m not so impressed. If Moleskine were to bring out one of their pocket notebooks in royal blue (as they recently did with their cahiers), I’d be much more likely to buy it.

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