Review & Giveaway: Banditapple Carnets

Banditapple was launched a couple of years ago as a new notebook manufacturer focused on providing a quality handmade notebook at very affordable prices. I’d read reviews of them on other blogs and was thrilled when they contacted me to offer some samples for review.


The notebooks are similar to the Moleskine Cahiers or Field Notes– simple stitch-bound notebooks with plain covers, with 64 pages. The colors are “Hanoi Red” or “Saigon Black,” reflecting their manufacturing origins in Vietnam. (The ownership of the company is in Korea.) They come in a clear plastic envelope with a sticker that tells you the style of the notebook (ruled or plain), but beyond that, there is no branding on the notebooks, except for one “special edition” that has an embossed logo. There is no pocket in the back.


The corners are precisely cut and lines are precisely aligned. There’s a bit of extra space at the top and bottom of the page, and in between the sharp, dark grey lines are spaced at 1/4″.


The  9 x 14cm “Peewee” size notebook is shown here with a pocket size Moleskine for comparison. I like it that they have a size called Peewee! Other sizes are called “Handy” and “Tablet,” which may not be totally informative, but are much more interesting than just saying “Medium” and “Large.”


The stitching on the spine is also nice and straight– with Moleskine Cahiers and the Kikkerland Writersblok notebooks, I’d noticed that it was sometimes at a bit of a slant.


All my usual pens performed well on the acid-free paper, though I found it a bit less smooth than some of the other notebooks I’ve tested. The slight toothiness of the paper can make very fine pen tips seem to drag a little, but it works nicely with pencils and thicker pens. The Pilot Precise V5 and Uniball Micro feathered a bit. I found that the pens that tend to bleed through the most on most paper might bleed slightly more than average on this paper. But show-through was minimal, a little better than average.




The company’s website is not in English, so most people won’t find that an easy way of finding out more about these notebooks. But you can click on this link to download a brochure with full details: Banditapple Carnet_ENG. The brochure covers the notebooks I have, which are the first generation made by Banditapple:

Banditapple Carnet 1G.
Peewee (9×14 cm) 1,800 krw / 1.61 USD
Handy (11×21 cm) 2,800 krw / 2.51 USD
Tablet (13×21 cm) 3,300 krw / 2.96 USD
*Color: Saigon Black/ Hanoi Red
**Format: Blank/Lined

They’ve since launched a second generation:

Banditapple 2G
Peewee (9×14 cm) 2,500 krw / 2.24 USD
Tablet (13×21 cm) 4,000 krw / 3.58 USD
*Color: Finland Pine(Green), Manuka Honey(light brown), Ginger bread (Dark brown)
*Format: Blank/Lined/Grid

More details from the owner of the company:

All handmade with ecological Heritage paper.
Printed with Soy Type Ink
Practice with fair business.
We are working with minority women & handicapped in Vietnam.
So they can get a job, and support family.
Price has increased due to Economic crisis in Europe (Exchange rates went up), Price went up include paper,
and labor costs went up in Vietnam (about 30-40%)
We practice Fair business so sadly we couldn’t control the price.

But that is the great thing about these notebooks– the price! Even at the higher 2G prices, I think these are a really good value for the quality of the product. Unfortunately, the don’t have a US distributor yet, but you can order them directly by emailing They accept Paypal and ship via airmail.  UPDATE: Goulet Pens now sells Banditapple 1G!

And of course you can also take a shot at winning one of these samples:

I’ll select three random winners from entries submitted as follows:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “@Banditapple” and “@NotebookStories, and follow “@banditapple” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page  and post something containing the words “Banditapple” on my wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Banditapple” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday March 16 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!

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