Shopping for Notebooks at Book People

I recently went to Book People, a great independent bookstore in Austin, Texas. They have a huge selection of gift items and stationery, including lots of notebooks from Moleskine, Leuchtturm, Miquelrius, Michael Roger, HandBook, Paperblanks, Rhodia, Field Notes and many more.

Here’s what I had to snag for myself, as I’d never seen these in a store before:

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It’s not the most practical notebook, but I loved the design! A variety of map designs were available. Some were only on the front cover, but others had maps both front and back. The edges of the paper are rough-torn and seem like they’ve been dipped in something to artificially age them. The overall effect is quite attractive, though I’m a little worried that the binding won’t be very durable. There is no branding anywhere on the notebook, so I have no idea who makes them. BookPeople’s price label says “Worldbuyers Blank Books” but a Google search hasn’t turned anything up.

The other new discovery for me was some Field Notes-like 3-packs of notebooks in themes for Grumps and Introverts. A fun gift item for sure! They’re made by Archie McPhee.

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A Family Notebook Business

A neat story about Winnie Chan, a member of the family who owns Grandluxe (some of whose products I’ve reviewed.)

“Some children shun their family business or become reluctant successors.

Not Ms Winnie Chan. In fact, her childhood dream was to join her family’s bookbinding business, Grandluxe.

“Growing up, my ambition was to be my dad’s secretary,” Ms Chan, who is in her 40s, tells SundayLife! with a laugh. Her father, Mr Percy Chan, 68, is chairman of Grandluxe.

Her dream even had an impact on her education. Her computing science project for the A levels was based on a study of Grandluxe’s payroll system and she opted to read economics at the University of California as it seemed most practical for when she returned to the company.

Her elder sister is a piano teacher and is not involved in the business.

Grandluxe is a traditional bookbinding business started in 1945 by her grandfather in a small shophouse at Mohamed Sultan Road.

Over the past 70 years, the business has grown from a tiny outfit producing hand- sewn paper stationery to a company that has five brands under its belt and manufactures paper and leather goods for companies in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Still, despite her bushy-tailed enthusiasm, the journey to become general manager was not a bed of roses for Ms Chan, who joined as a sales executive in 1994….”

Read more at  Taking over family’s bookbinding business a childhood dream come true – More Lifestyle Stories News & Top Stories – The Straits Times.

A Paleontologist’s Field Notebook

Catching up on some old links I’ve saved, here’s a nice wrap-up of some books featuring the pages of artists’, designers’, and scientists’ notebooks, including the one below from Field Notes on Science & Nature:

“A typical notebook page detailing the thoughts and events of a day doing fieldwork at Olorgesailie, Kenya, with a personal note near the end of the page about the joy of being alone with rocks.” — Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Paleontologist, in the essay “Linking Researchers Across Generations”

See more at From Design to Street Art, 5 Looks Inside Great Creators Notebooks – Maria Popova – Life – The Atlantic.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Bubba

This week’s addict emailed me some photos and the following story:

“I’ve loved notebooks since I was a little kid. But this year things got crazy with the super cheap back to school sales at Staples, Walmart, and the dollar stores. Even though a single notebook was as cheap as $0.50, I ended up spending around $80 to fill up the spare room in my cubicle at work with single subject and composition books. When I ran out of space the impulse thankfully melted away, and now I’m happily imagining all the wonderful things I’m going to use my (probably lifetime supply) of writing materials. I just filled one single subject book up this week, and opened another. The sheer volume of materials that I have motivate me to use them for jotting down stories, solving math problems, taking school notes, lists, work notes, and preparing for when the baby comes. Attached are pictures of my stash. I don’t know exactly how many I have unused, probably 160! O_o”

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I love notebook collections with variety, but I think I love it even more when I see a collection that single-minded focuses on hoarding a favorite style of notebook, and this is sure one of those! Thanks for sharing your addiction, Bubba!

Adventure Log Notebooks

Nice idea, and I love the retro-style yellow cover…

“The Adventure Log is the result of a collaborative effort by Word. Notebooks and clothing company Bradley Mountain. Both companies emphasize a focus on real and sustained expression of spirit at the core of what they offer. Bradley Mountain, as a clothing company, puts a premium on creating specialized products in line with a person’s particular craft. Word.Notebooks is in fact a smaller venture run by the founders of the website Cool Material, who looked to create notebooks that were handy, pleasing to the eye and able to contain all of the pertinent info a person would come across in a neat fashion. A shared love for the passion that craftsmen had for their products generations ago and the communal artistry that sprang forth from it led the two entities to work on The Adventure Log.”

Read more at  New Notebooks For Wandering Scribes.

Etch-A-Sketch Notebook

This is the best novelty notebook I’ve seen in a while! The knobs are erasers! Very cute.

Read more at Drawing On An Etch-A-Sketch Notebook Is Easier With A Pencil | Gizmodo Australia.

Review and Giveaway: Guided Rewrite Notebooks

I’m always hoping to find new brands of American-made notebooks. I was not familiar with Guided Products or their ReWrite brand of notebooks until they contacted me and sent some samples for review, so it was a pleasant discovery!

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I received quite a selection of samples. ReWrite notebooks come in 3 sizes, with ruled, plain, squared, and dot-grid options. The small notebooks come in shrinkwrapped 4-packs, and the medium and large sizes are sold in 3 packs. All sizes are 48 pages.

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The notebooks are very simple– plain brown cardboard covers, with no branding except on the lower back cover. My first impression about the 3.5 x 5.5″ pocket size notebook was that it was actually a bit smaller than a Moleskine Cahier or Field Notes notebook– but this was an illusion, as they are actually the same size. (Shown below with a hardcover pocket Moleskine and a Field Notes for size comparison.)

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The main difference is that the spine here is squared off and the pages are glued in rather than sewed or stapled in a signature. This makes the spine of the notebook somewhat stiffer when you first open it.

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It can be opened pretty flat, but you have to force it a bit, and you may see the spine between the pages, especially at the front and back of the notebook. The pages are perforated throughout. Some people would no doubt prefer a sewn or stapled binding without perforations, but others will like being able to easily tear out pages.

The notebook is quite flexible. Though it is thicker than a standard Field Notes, and the cardboard cover is somewhat thicker than what Field Notes usually uses, it bends a bit more easily. Another difference I noticed is that the corners are rounded to a smaller diameter than Field Notes.

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The squared paper has somewhat larger squares than the Moleskine shown for comparison. The lines are brown, and somewhat thicker. You can also see the bright white color of the paper in comparison to the cream-colored Moleskine. The paper felt good to write on with my usual pens, and show-through was a little better than average. Bleed-through was about average for most pens, and a little bit worse than average with fountain pens. The paper is acid-free, and recycled.

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ReWrite notebooks are available at Amazon or directly from the Guided Products website, where quantity discounts are offered on larger orders. At $13.99 suggested retail price for a 4-pack of small notebooks, they are a great value for an American-made product of this quality. Their plain covers are a nice alternative to over-branding of certain other notebooks. And Guided Products offers custom-printed covers too, starting at only $4.41 each for a minimum of 100 small notebooks with one-color front cover art, with prices dropping for larger orders. And in the meantime, you can enter the giveaway for a chance at some of my extra samples! Each winner will get at least 2 packs of notebooks (not all will still be in shrinkwrap).

Four randomly chosen winners will be selected from entries received in any or all of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “ReWrite @guidedproducts @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @guidedproducts.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Guided Products page and post something containing the words “ReWrite” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “ReWrite” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday February 20, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Luke

This week’s addict won one of my giveaways a while back, and later shared this photo of his sketchbook collection on Twitter:


Luke is an “Art maker” and “Fan of pencils and paper” from Australia. You can follow him on Twitter at @moon_peel

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Luke!

NY Now Gift Show

Last week, I was able to visit the NY Now Gift Show for the first time. It’s quite an extravaganza– the whole Javits Center filled with vendors showing off housewares, crafts, and all manner of gifty items. If you’ve ever bought a stationery item or a candle or a pillow, or any of a million other things, the store you bought it at might have decided to stock that item because they saw it at this gift show or one of the other regional versions of it.

I work in publishing, so I was theoretically there to help at my own company’s booth and check out the books, but luckily, most of the book publishers were in an area of the show floor that also featured quite a few stationery products. I snapped a few photos before someone told me it was frowned upon for people with exhibitor badges to do so. This seemed very odd to me, as you’d think even other exhibitors would be seen as potential customers– that is certainly how the book publishing industry looks at it. But I guess with gift items, people are more afraid that you’ll steal their idea and sell it more cheaply than they do! Anyway, here’s a few things that caught my eye.

First, some of the lovely Ogami notebooks, with paper made out of stone. I don’t think I’ve seen the larger spiral ones in stores yet.

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I just loved these mushroom notebooks, from Gift Republic. They had some other really nice designs too– these were my favorite thing at the show that I’d never seen before. I hope we’ll see them on lots of store shelves soon!

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Colorful designs by Calypso:

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Some fun-looking journals:

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Great to see Michael Roger’s Decomposition Book line continuing to expand with fun new designs and sizes.

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Cute little spiral-bound notebooks from Knock-Knock:

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Rifle Paper Co.‘s line of Garance Doré stationery:

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More from Rifle Paper Co.:

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I enjoyed getting to see all these beautiful products on display– there was so much to see even though notebooks and stationery were only a small part of what the Gift Show had to offer. I’m not sure I could even handle going to Paper World or the Stationery Show— it would be total overload!

Edward Hopper Sketchbook Viewer

Very cool– on the Tate Museum’s website, you can flip through one of Edward Hopper’s sketchbooks:

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I love the way you really get a feel for the sketchbook as an object rather than just disembodied drawings.

See more at Edward Hopper: Sketchbook Viewer | Tate.