For my day job, I attend the Book Expo convention every year. A fringe benefit of the show is that I usually manage to spot some notebook vendors and get a look at their new products, but at this year’s show, which occurred last weekend, it was really sparse! Leuchtturm had a colorful corner booth, with their Whitelines collaboration prominently highlighted. Filofax/Letts/Lamy had a shared booth, and seemed to be pouncing on anyone who showed the least bit of interest, perhaps just to keep their samples from being stolen. Moleskine was totally absent, other than their name being permanently emblazoned on part of the Chronicle booth (their distributor). Exaclair wasn’t there, nor was Peter Pauper Press, Cavallini, or Piccadilly– all companies I’ve seen there in the past. Book Expo was where I first spotted Pocket Dept notebooks, but this year I didn’t spot a single new or interesting notebook. The only thing that attracted me was the booth of some Italian publisher where I saw that they had a pile of promotional notebooks that they seemed to be giving away. I couldn’t come up with any valid pretext for an actual business conversation with the guy, and was too embarrassed to just walk up and say “hey, can I have a free notebook?” I spotted one other promotional notebook giveaway, from Ingram, the largest book wholesaler. They were offering a notebook that looked like a composition book, but it was a different size, closer to 6×9″, and thinner, with a squared-off spine.
It’s a shame I didn’t manage to photograph these things, but sadly, you’re not missing much! I hope there will be better pickings next year… and in the meantime, maybe I’ll manage to attend the Stationery Show someday. I suppose most notebook companies feel like it’s not worth paying to hawk their wares to the thinning ranks of booksellers and prefer to attend a show with more potential buyers of non-book product. But at least Book Expo is still a fun place to talk about books! They are opening it up to more and more activities for the general public, now called “BookCon,” so if you’re a reader, and you will be in NYC at the end of May next year, you should check it out!
This week’s addict is from Holland, and sent this picture of her collection, or rather, part of it:
“I’ve been a fan of your site for a long time and for an equally long time I’ve been wanting to send you a picture of my own collection. What was holding me back was a sense of fear to admit to myself how big the collection actually is. And that with that realisation would come a resolution to stop buying new ones. But then I figured … we all need a hobby, right?
The ones in the picture are all new. I have another collection of used notebooks, but not quite as large as this one.”
Great collection! I spy Rhodia, TeNeues, Oxford, Cambridge, Clairefontaine, Cavallini, Rite in the Rain, Moleskine and others I can’t identify. Thanks for sharing your addiction, Anke, and I hope you’re still letting yourself buy new ones!
… for me and my notebooks! I’ve been posting a little less frequently lately because I’ve been very busy preparing for a move to a new home. My notebooks, of course, are all coming with me, and I’ve been trying to organize them better in the process. For years, I’ve stored them all in shoeboxes, some of which were starting to break down a bit, so I decided to try using larger under-bed plastic boxes. Here’s one of them:
I also got a larger wheeled box for bigger sketchbooks. I’m not sure I’ll stick with this approach– for one thing, all these plastic boxes have angled sides, so they aren’t as efficient as I’d like for storing notebooks. A larger box like this also gets really heavy when it’s stuffed with notebooks! I am always saving shoeboxes so I may end up transferring some notebooks back into newer, sturdier ones, we’ll see… My old apartment had more closet shelves where I could store all my boxes of notebooks, but in my new space, I have to spread them around a bit more– some in a cabinet, some on a shelf, and some under the bed.
Where do you store your notebooks?
This week’s addict blogs at Economy Pens, and of course he has to test all those pens on lots of notebooks:
The picture above consists of the contents of one of my desk drawers and is probably about 90% of what I have for notebooks. Not shown are my legal pads (mostly Doane or Staples Bagasse), my pocket notebook (currently a Doane Leather Works Utility Notebook Cover), and my desk notebooks (usually my cheaper notebooks or notebooks I am about to retire).
Read more at Economy Pens: (Most of) My Notebook Collection.
We live in a digital age, yet sales of good old fashioned paper are way up. Why? An article in the Guardian provides quite a good answer:
We all love stationery (some more moderately and tastefully than others). But why? It seems to me to offer two great and seductive promises. The first is that it will unleash your creative potential. The unsullied page, the pristine pen offer limitless possibilities (also, on a bad day, unlimited fear). “My grey goose quill,” wrote Byron, “Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will/Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen/That mighty instrument of little men.” And look how well he got on. Imagine what he would have been able to do with a Mont Blanc and special-edition Moleskine.
The right pen and the right paper brought into conjunction, runs the unspoken thought, cannot help but result in a sudden influx of bold, brilliant and original ideas, the germ of a bestselling novel that will in its turn be inscribed in another, perhaps larger notebook more worthy of the task, in sentences as creamy and beautiful as the pages on which they are written. I am always on the hunt for the perfect notebook. Muji (the brown paperbacked ones), Field Notes (the three-packs), the ubiquitous Moleskine and, in more whimsical moments, Cavallini & Co have all come close. Which is to say, close to being the one that will become the perfect commonplace book, in which I will continue that proud Renaissance tradition of recording useful quotations, inspiring stories and intriguing snippets, but which will eventually, in a surprising modern twist and via a complicated but plausible chain of events involving bestsellerdom, successful film adaptation and a meeting of minds with the star during an on-set visit, end in a long and happy marriage to Jake Gyllenhaal. Is it any wonder I keep buying, when only an unlined leather notebook stands between me and all this?
Read more at Why I love stationery | Life and style | The Guardian.
I love finding notebooks where I least expect them. Drop into your local American Eagle Outfitters store and you might be able to snag some of these– they were marked down when I saw them a couple of weeks ago!
This week’s addict sent me a link to this photo of her collection.
Lots of Moleskines plus I think a couple of Cavallinis? And a plastic one resembling my “Le Zippe.”
I’d like to know more about the light blue one in the front row, I’ve never seen one like that before.
Thanks for sharing your addiction, Dalal!
If you happen to be in Singapore, you might want to stop by a store called Books Actually. They have a nicely-curated selection of notebooks, some of which they create themselves, and others from international brands such as Cavallini and Serrote:
Read more at BooksActually: wall of notebooks.
I’m fortunate to work in a neighborhood with some great shopping– or perhaps it’s unfortunate, as the temptation to overspend can be dangerous! Here in New York’s Flatiron/Chelsea district I have at least 3 good stationery/art supply shops within a short walk: Paper Access, Sam Flax, and A. I. Friedman.
Today I spent part of my lunch hour browsing at Paper Access. They must have just recently gotten in a lot of their fall merchandise, as I noticed a lot of new things I hadn’t seen on my last visit.
They had the Eco Jot notebooks I posted about recently, which actually come in two sizes, approx 6×8″ and 4×6″ if I’m remembering correctly. They also had Goldline notebooks made by Tollit and Harvey, who manufacture the Guildhall notebooks. Paper Access seemed to be down to only one last Guildhall in the pocket size– perhaps Black Cover wiped them out! I prefer the Goldline notebooks anyway, as they have unlined paper, though I’m not crazy about their pastel suede covers.
I also spotted a whole shelf of Cavallini notebooks in wonderfully colorful retro designs– I’ve been a fan of these since the early 1990s– their cover designs are fabulous, even though I’ve never loved the size and the ones I’ve owned didn’t have the greatest paper.
Paper Access now also stocks the HandBook journals, which they didn’t a few months ago. And of course they have the full line of Moleskines, and plenty of Rhodia, Miquelrius and Clairefontaine.
I do love this store, and I could easily have spent a ton of money– and there’s the rub: Paper Access is really expensive! They are now charging $12.95 for pocket-size Moleskines, and the HandBook journals were $10.95 for the pocket size– each at least a dollar or two more than they cost at A.I. Friedman just a block away. But browsing is free, and I have a backlog of empty notebooks to use right now anyway!