Questions from Readers

These are some stumpers! Please chime in if you can help these readers!

From Jeffrey:

I’m looking for a specific kind of notebook that I can’t figure out if it exists or not… looking for a soft cover with elastic closure (like the soft moleskines).  Also want it to be perforated on every page (like the ecosystem architect).  Finally, hoping it had a dot grid (like the rhodia, leuchtturm, etc).  Does such a notebook exist?  It seems like I can have 2 of these things easy, but not all 3.  Am I missing something?  I can’t even seem to find a soft cover moleskine-style, all-perforated, lined book. Woe is me!

I think he’s right– 2 out of 3 isn’t that hard, but 3 out of 3???

From Stephanie:

I’d love a list of films that feature journals and diaries and blank books!  For example, in Finding Neverland, J.M. Barrie scribbles in his blank book to capture ideas and produce plays, and he gives one of his young friends a blank book of his own.  The blank books totally have a starring role in the film!

I know other readers will be better at this than I am, I am drawing a blank right now…

From Asstou:

I’d like to buy a notebook with a leather cover (but not a hard one, I want it supple), and with a binder inside (and not spirals), so that I can have loose leaves. Moreover, I don’t want a small notebook but a rather large.

Filofax makes a line of “A5″ size organizers, with paper measuring 5 3/4 x 8 1/4”. Some are available on Amazon.


From Jennifer:

I’ve been stuck in a Moleskine rut for awhile as I haven’t found anything better. Qualities I’m looking for:
-narrow line-spacing ( I have tiny handwriting and the Moleskine makes it look even smaller)
-lays flat and is sturdy enough to write with it on my knees
-a color other than black would be nice, but not necessary
-I don’t use a fountain pen so as long as the paper holds up to a Pentel Energel it’s fine with me
-not a fan of spiral binding

I’ve been looking at the lined Ecosystem but I have a blank one already and it feels too bulky next to the streamlined Moleskine, plus the cover extends beyond the paper which in my opinion looks silly. The lime green color shows every ink smudge (ink always manages to get on my fingers which in turn gets on everything else). I have also been considering a Picaddilly Primo (love red notebooks!) but it doesn’t look like it lays very flat and I’m not sure about the horizontal elastic band.

The narrow line spacing makes this challenging…


From Lucien:

Looking for a walletsize booklet with alphabetize pages to record addresses, location, tel #.
The one I did have once measured 3″ by 2″

Now these I have seen, often just in very basic office supply stores. Amazon has a really cheap version, $3.99 for a 2-pack!
2 Classic Black Mini Address Books Small Pocket Size


From Skippy:

Anyone ever find those hard, clothbound blank journals they used to sell at Borders for about $7?
No branding, no silly flowers or designs.  Just good, simple, durable lined notebook at a reasonable price.

I think he may mean the Piccadilly notebooks. I am not sure if the plain black “Essentials” notebooks have been picked up by other retailers, though their more colorful designs are for sale at Barnes & Noble and other shops. Piccadilly’s website does have a list of retailers.


From Sylvain:

I need some advice. I search a notebook which looks like a Moleskine (cover, pocket inside, something to close it) but with a better paper.
I have some Moleskine, Paperblanks and Legami, but using them with a foutain pen is impossible. The paper isn’t good enough. The ink is drooling and passing trough.

The Rhodia Webnotebook is probably the best thing to try.


Thank you to everyone who submits questions and answers– sorry I can’t answer them all personally!

14 thoughts on “Questions from Readers”

  1. for jennifer: try the B5 sized notebooks at jetpens. they have a wide variety that have 6mm spacing, like this one for example: Kokuyo Campus Slim Notebook – Slim B5 (9.9″ X 5.7″) – 35 Lines X 30 Sheets – Green Cover.

    35 lines translates to 6mm spacing. i use these and muji notebooks for things that i want to keep for future reference. i also use rhodia #16 pads because the spacing on them is smaller than other rhodias. for quick notes and to do lists, they are excellent. and they all work pretty well with fountain pens, especially fine nibs.

    good luck.

  2. @Jeffrey You don’t mention the size notebook you want, but there is at least one that meets your Plan-B criteria in 3-1/2 x 5-1/2″: the Rhodia Unlimited Notebook, which has a soft cover, elastic closure, left-side perforation on all pages, and lines. There is a detailed photo review on, and you can purchase it from,, and presumably many others.

  3. @Jeffrey again…. As soon as I clicked “Submit,” I thought, whoa, what about the Behance stuff? Take a look at the Action Method Dot Grid Cahier (on It is soft cover, perforated pages, AND dot grid. But no elastic closure, though obviously you can invent that easily enough. Be warned, however, that if you are a FP user, then you should be prepared for disappointment. The paper is “60#,” but definitely not FP-friendly at any nib size in my experience.

  4. @Jennifer: I’ve been stocking up on some really wonderful Moleskine-esque journals from Office Depot. They’re nearly the exact same size as a Moleskine and come in hard and soft-cover varieties! The hard cover seem to only come in black so far, but the soft covers come in a variety of colors including red. I absolutely LOVE them and they have very narrow line spacing, and lie down just fine for me! They also have the elastic closure and back pocket with paper/fabric reinforcement.

    The best part? They’re $3.99 each!!!

  5. “I’m looking for a specific kind of notebook”
    “I haven’t found anything better”

    Make it yourself!

    No, really it’s not that hard at all. Start here:

    And here’s all my links I’ve collected so far:

    I had the same problem. I couldn’t find EXACTLY what i wanted in a notebook. Now I can make one in about 2 hours (first attempts took a bit longer) that has all the features I can’t possibly get anywhere else like Kevlar/titanium covers with hex grid fountain pen friendly paper!

  6. @Stephanie: In “The English Patient” the main character, interpreted by Ralph Fiennes, is shown taking notes and sketches in his journal.

  7. For Jennifer: I’ve recently discovered Quo Vadis journals – and they seem to fit your specifications. I first picked one up in Paris and fell in love – but they’re so hard to find in Australia so I ordered a whole stack online.
    The Habana line has a hard but flexible cover that lets me rest the journal on my knee; line spacing is 5mm and quite feint; and it sits flat no matter how far in you are. Comes in a range of beautiful colours – I could only order ‘Anise’ and ‘Raspberry’ (also comes in black); but there was a much larger range of colours in Paris, including an amazing tangerine, which is what I picked up on holiday. Now I wish I spent a bit more and got half a dozen.
    I can’t use spiral bound books (left-handed) so it was a dream to find these lovely books!

  8. Hi, everyone. I just posted this to FaceBook:

    Has anyone else noticed the decrease in quality of the Eccolo World Traveler 4″x6″ notebook? I noticed the leatherette is cheaper (if you could actually get cheaper on leatherette!), feels thinner and it peels off the cover. I also noticed the cover “breaks” instead of flexes. Please, someone tell me this was a bad batch! Thoughts?

  9. Re: Skippy’s question: No, not Piccadilly- these were cloth-bound books in various sizes, thicknesses, and colors, blank and lined. I would love to find them, also! I have a few but they have no logos or branding whatsoever.

  10. Jeffrey, I’m hoping the not-yet-released TWSBI notebooks *might* eventually meet all of those specifications. The covers look soft to me in the photos they posted on their Facebook page, they have elastic bands, and the pages are all perforated. Looks like three different sizes.

    They don’t seem to have an actual dot grid version in the works, yet (they have shown dot-lined, dot-squared, and blank) but it’s worth keeping your eye on. They’re big on feedback, so write to them about dot grids.

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