Category Archives: Writersblok

Review and Giveaway: Writersblok 2017 Planner

Writersblok is heading in some exciting new directions lately. I reviewed their most recent notebooks here. Now they’ve expanded the product line to include a planner for 2017. Let’s take a look!

From Kikkerland’s website:

“Keep all of your master plans safe and on schedule with this beautiful recycled leather Writersblok Planner. Back pages feature exclusive subway maps of New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, redesigned solely for Writersblok planner. Also includes gorgeous and useful reference sheets. Part of the proceeds from Writersblok goes to literacy programs such as 826NYC in New York City. 826NYC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.”


The exterior design is very similar to the notebooks– plain black cover, with an attractive removable wrapper with branding info.

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Inside, you get a nice assortment of planner layouts– annual, monthly and weekly, etc., so it should be adaptable to bullet journaling. The layouts are nice and clean, with attractive touches of color.

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In the back, you get some cool bonus material, including a nicely designed weights and measures conversion page.

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There are also a couple pages for key contacts– nowadays most of us keep contact info only in our phones. I’m guilty of that too but keep hearing horror stories of people who lose their phones and can’t remember any numbers when they are trying to meet up with someone, so writing these down is a good habit to get into.

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The transit maps are very cool, although the one for New York is overly optimistic about 2nd Avenue subway– only a small section of it is planned to open by the end of 2016 and the rest of the T line isn’t even funded. But it’s fun to fantasize about how great it will be someday! The other cities included are London, Tokyo, and Paris.

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There is also a world time zone map, but I spotted an error in its color coding– it seems like the key to the GMT offsets is off by an hour, at least based on the places whose timezones I am familiar with. NYC should be -5, not -4. London and the rest of England should be in the 0 zone, not the purple +1 zone. And France, Spain, Germany, etc should be +1. The lines and the numbers on the key are correct, it’s just the colors that are misleading, so the map is not unusable, just a bit misleading. (Kikkerland has said they’ll fix it in next year’s version.)

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A ribbon marker and back pocket complete the package. At 6×8.25″ to match the size of an iPad Mini, and with a lay-flat binding, this will work well both on the desktop or in your bag.

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You can buy the Writersblok planner at a 30% discount off of the regular $20.00 price with promo code NS16 via the ad link in the upper right corner of this site. Or you can try your luck in my giveaway for a free sample! I’ll select two winners from entries received in any of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Writersblok 2017 Planner @kikkerland @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @kikkerland

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Kikkerland page and post something containing the words “Writersblok 2017 Planner” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Kikkerland Writersblok 2017 Planner” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday August 26, 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.

Note: Kikkerland provided me with these samples free of charge, and are an advertiser on this site, but all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Review and Giveaway: Writersblok Double Spiral Notebooks

When our friends at Kikkerland shared these samples of their latest new product, I had to clap my hands– finally a notebook that really DOES do something new! I’ve seen other notebooks that can open from the back or the front, but I have never seen a notebook with both top and side openings in one. Designed by Constantin Boym, the Writersblok Double Spiral notebooks offer some interesting features and embellishments that you don’t see everyday.


The first notebook has wire-o bindings on both sides. When you open it from one side, you get ruled pages, and the other side is blank. The covers are made of a nice heavy matte black board with snazzy metallic corners.  A Writersblok logo is stamped on one side– whether you consider it the front cover or the back cover is up to you. The pages have rounded corners on all sides. The page count on the notebook says 140, but by my count each side seems to have 70 sheets/140 pages, so you’re getting a total of 280 pages/ 140 sheets.


The second notebook has a slim top-opening notebook and then a side-opening notebook on the back. It makes for a bit of a challenge in slipping the paper band off without tearing it– the wrapper is bound into the spiral on one side and has to be nudged out from between the pages on the other, as you can’t open the notebook until the band is loosened. The top-opening pad is lined paper, and the side-opening part is squared.


The paper inside the notebooks is smooth and cool white. Show-through and bleed-through are about average, maybe a little bit more bleed-through than average from a couple of my usual pens.


The double thickness of the combined notebooks makes for a pleasingly chunky package, but when you hold them in your hand, it becomes hard to avoid the wire spirals. After a while, it might get annoying to have them digging into your palm. (Shown below with a pocket size Moleskine for size comparison.)


My only other complaint about these notebooks is that the wire-o binding starts on the wrong side– normally, a wire-o binding connects from hole to hole at the back of the notebook, allowing the pages to turn freely from the front. In this case, that part is at the front of the notebook so you have to jiggle the whole wire around to get it out of the way if you want the pages to open flat. Both notebooks have this problem on both sides– I don’t know if it’s just an accidental defect, or if the two-sided design makes it a manufacturing necessity, but it really lessens the usability of the notebook.


So while I love the innovation and creativity and design of these notebooks, the practicality of them may be somewhat limited. I hope Kikkerland will make some other single-sided notebooks with the same styling– the black covers and metal corners really do look great and I would absolutely love to have an 8.5 x 11″ squared notebook in this design to use as my desktop notebook at work, where I always like to have something that I can open flat and flip the pages around to the back.

Look for these at your local stationery store, or you can buy direct from Kikkerland’s online store. (Other Kikkerland Writersblok notebooks are available on Amazon, so these will probably be there soon too.)

I’ll be giving away the double side-opening notebook to one lucky winner, selected at random from entries received by these methods:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Writersblok @kikkerland @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @kikkerland

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Kikkerland page and post something containing the words “Writersblok” on the Notebook Stories page.

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

The deadline for entry is Friday March 25 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.

Questions from Readers

Here’s some questions from readers that have come in over the last few months. Some of them are stumpers, for me at least, but I hope some other sharp-eyed readers will be able to answer!

From Chris:

Do you by any chance know what type of notebook/journal Bradley Cooper is using in the movie ‘Burnt’?

I haven’t seen the movie, so I hope someone else can chime in!

From Ernie:

Do you know of a spiral notebook that uses yellow pages like a legal pad does? I’m looking for a spiral notebook but the pages yellow like legal pad instead of white.

This may depend on whether you want top-opening or side-opening. There are definitely spiral bound legal pads that open top to bottom, like this one. I also found this side-opening notebook that is only 6×9″ but the pages are yellow with legal ruling on one side and squared on the other.

From Fuzzy:

I’m trying to find a sketch journal that has both lined and blank paper, lined paper on one side and blank on the other. I’m not looking for the journal where the page is blank at the top and lined at the bottom.

The Dialogue notebooks I reviewed have this feature. I also found this though I’m not sure what the quality would be like. The ArtTrails Nature Notebook sounds like an interesting option, as it contains alternating pages of recycled lined paper and unlined watercolor paper.

From Jenn:

I’m experimenting with fore-edge painting.  Acrylic paint sits on the outside of the page where I want it, so when I bend the pages the image can show, but it flakes after too many openings and when you separate stuck together pages.  Oil and wax bases stain the inner paper.  So far, water bases are either not opaque enough or stain the paper.  Of course, the type of paper is also an issue.  The pages of a watercolor pad would be too thick, but too thin paper would soak through to the next page, the finish on the paper is an issue, etc.  So maybe a fake gild edge that I can paint then shut the book and wipe off would be the answer.  This would need to be a plain blank book.  Everything online is expensive and/or has leather.  It would also have to be cheap enough to experiment with and throw away if it doesn’t work.  If it really does, I’d buy more.  Do you have any ideas of cheap, plain, fake gilt edge notebooks?

I have not seen anything particularly cheap with gilded edges. The Object Series notebook I reviewed is $16 with gilded edges but it does have a leather cover and might not be suitable for painting on.

From Frances:
I do lots and lots of note-taking and have been using 3×5 cards (cheap ones) since I have filled up entire shoe boxes with my notes (separated in small cheap envelopes with the content indicated on the outside). Using so many, I can’t justify those nice cards from Levenger at 10 cents a piece! But, the Oxford/EssLT card packs in stores here (middle of nowhere New Mexico) are so rough I can’t hardly stand to use them. Back when I was still working, I used the Levenger circa junior size paper/notebooks and some smaller sizes, but have not been buying those lately due to budget constraints. Have you found a ‘system’ that includes nicer paper AND is economical AND with refillable pages?
I haven’t tried the Staples Arc system notebooks, but they are said to be pretty comparable to Levenger yet lower priced. I wish I knew of a brand of index cards made from nice paper, but I don’t!
From Doug:
I have used the following sketchbook for a while, and generally like them… the Hand Book . I live in Canada however, and sometimes this can make it harder to find. Anyhow, I use it for art, sketches, etc. I like the buff colour (not pure white), and I like the slight tooth it has. Do you have any recommendations for similar style notebook style sketchbooks that are good for artists?

Check out the Art Alternatives Sketch & Draw sketchbooks I reviewed, or the Hahnemuhle travel journal. These both have very similar paper to the HandBook.

From Richard:
Years back I bought a 7 x 10 notebook from a company called writers block. The paper was lightweight and had a dot grid. The book weighed only four oz.   It fit well alongside my iPad I’ve been searching high and low for something similar.
I am guessing you mean the Writersblok notebooks from Kikkerland. They have changed their offerings in the last few years, but their recent Writersblok notebooks are quite nice. The larger ones are the size of an iPad Mini. If you want something closer to the size of a regular iPad, the Extra Large size Moleskine Cahier might be a good fit. But neither of these options comes with dot grid paper. If you want dotted paper, Leuchtturm might have some options for you, particularly the medium or large softcovers.
From Dmitri:
I was planning to buy a Moleskine Hardcover, Plain, 5×8.25 notebook, but had heard the pages were very thin, which is something I am trying to avoid because I am planning to use pens, paints, glue, etc. in my journal. What I’m really looking for is a plain notebook around the size of 5×8.25 with pages thick enough for me to freely use whatever media I would like and sturdy enough so it can withstand thick pages and last a good amount of time.
You could try the Moleskine “Art Plus” Sketchbook in that size, as it has heavier pages than the regular “Classic” plain notebook, though they may still be not quite heavy enough for some kinds of pens and markers. HandBook Artist Journal would also be a good option, as they come in portrait and landscape versions in 5 x 8.25, as well as pocket and square formats. If you need something even sturdier, Stillman and Birn has lots of options for different papers and sizes and bindings. You can find a guide to their paper types here.

From Brent:

I have been looking for some notebooks I used to get at Target that I just loved.  They weer about 3×5 or maybe slightly larger and had a cardboard cover, were spiral bound (which was big enough to carry a pen in …. the main reason I liked them), and some had an elastic closure (the second reason I really liked them).  I used to get them all the time about 10 years ago, but have been unable to find them recently.  Are you familiar with these and if so, do you know where I might be able to purchase them?

I don’t have the opportunity to shop at Target very often so I’m not sure what these might have been. Hopefully one of our other readers might have an idea!

Thanks as always to our readers for sending in questions, and helping answer questions!

Review and Giveaway: New Kikkerland Writersblok Notebooks

I’m very excited to be posting one of the first reviews of a brand new notebook line from Kikkerland. I reviewed their first Writersblok notebooks several years ago. Since then, they have introduced additional notebook designs, but these latest ones are the best yet!

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These notebooks are quite a departure from previous Writersblok products. At first glance, they seem to fit the typical model of an all-black hardcover notebook with the usual ribbon marker and elastic closure, but there are some interesting differences here. First of all, compared to previous Writersblok notebooks, they have a totally new look to their packaging.

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The next major point of difference is the pocket notebook sizing– instead of the typical 3.5 x 5.5″ size, or even Leuchtturm’s 3.5 x 6″ size, they decided to emulate the sizing of Apple’s iPhone 6 for the pocket notebook, and the iPad Mini for the large size. writersblok 2015.21

The large notebook at approximately 5.3 x 7.8″ didn’t strike me as very noticeably different from the 5 x 8.25 large Moleskine format, but the pocket format of an iPhone 6 is 2.64 x 5.44″ so these notebooks seem very slim and sleek, very pocketable. The front of the notebooks call out the idea that the corresponding Apple device will “fit inside”– I couldn’t actually test this out, but I don’t quite believe it will really work without the covers being all bent and distorted. But I like the idea that you could tuck your iPhone or iPad under the notebook’s elastic and have them fit together as a tidy little package.

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When you first handle one of these notebooks, you’ll notice the leather smell– they’ve used bonded leather for the covers of both the hardcover and softcover versions. It is “real” leather, though it’s gone through some processing. The covers have a nice feel to them. I was very intrigued by the construction of the hardcover notebook– usually, the leather-like material is wrapped around a piece of cardboard and you can see on the corners how it’s been gathered and tucked in. The Writersblok notebook cover seems more like a single piece, with no evidence of wrapping, but near the spine, there is a cut that allows it to flex open and there you seem to see cardboard underneath. I think this cut is meant to prevent the corners by the spine from wearing out, as they so often do on other brands. It didn’t seem to me like it would weaken the cover but it will be interesting to see how it stands up to use. The notebook does open quite flat.

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Both hardcover and softcover versions have some cover overhang.

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It’s almost more noticeable on the softcover, perhaps because I’m so used to softcover notebooks not having that at all. It’s not as thin a soft cover as most– it has some substance to it, while still remaining flexible. It gets dented a bit by the elastic closure.

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Both versions have a somewhat rounded spine. The two photos below show the hardcover Writersblok and a Moleskine for comparison.

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The other nice touch is the addition of perforated sheets in the back– these add a horizontal perforation so you can easily tear out a half sheet.

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The paper itself is smooth-ish– not as super-smooth as some but it worked nicely with most of my usual pens, with nothing feeling scratchy. Show-through was about average, bleed-through was perhaps slightly worse than average, and there was some slight feathering with fountain pens.

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Bottom line: it’s a good notebook, and a welcome addition to the landscape even if the paper may not totally wow everyone. I am so picky about my preferred notebook sizing, I wasn’t expecting to like the pocket size. I’m even resisting upgrading my iPhone because I prefer the size of my 4S to the 6. Nevertheless, I was surprised at how natural the pocket Writersblok felt in the hand, and the slimness of it is rather elegant. I think a lot of people will enjoy having something a little narrower than slips into a pocket more easily.

These are available in the pocket and large sizes, hardcover and softcover, and with lined or plain paper. The large size is $13 and the small is $10, which is a good value vs. other brands, especially since part of the proceeds goes to literacy programs around the country, including 826NYC,  a nonprofit organization in NYC dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

You can buy them at the Kikkerland website now (with free shipping in the US for orders over $15!), and they should be in more stores soon, including these:

Lockwood Design Store in Astoria & Lockwood Jackson Heights, NY

Powell’s Books, Portland OR

And if you’re feeling lucky, enter my giveaway for extra samples!

Three winners will be chosen randomly from entries received in these ways, and each will receive one notebook:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Writersblok @kikkerland @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @kikkerland

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Kikkerland page and post something containing the words “Writersblok” on the Notebook Stories page.

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

The deadline for entry is Friday September 25, 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.

Softcover and Single-Signature Notebooks from My Collection

On my “to-do” list for this blog has been a comparison of various notebooks in similar styles. I thought I’d do a post about softcover notebooks, and one about single-signature notebooks, similar to Field Notes and Moleskine Cahiers. So I went rooting around in my collection to find various examples of these styles, but the results were a bit daunting:

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Not only did I find a rather large number of notebooks, I discovered that there’s kind of grey area between these two styles, so I ended up arranging them in a sort of continuum of variations, from thicker softcover notebooks, through thinner squared-spine ones, to the thinnest single-signature ones with stitched or stapled bindings.

From left, we have the “The II” notebook bought at Kinokuniya, red Piccadilly notebook, softcover Piccadilly notebook, white Conceptum notebook from Germany, Zequenz notebook, Leonardo pocket journal from Papyrus, Fabio Ricci notebook bought in Turkey, Soundless Soliloquy notebook from Etsy, a notebook bought in a museum shop in Portugal, Book Factory pocket notebook, Rendr sketchbook, Canson XL sketchbook, Daler Rowney Ivory sketchbook, Pocket Dept notebook, Rhodia Unlimited notebook, yellow graph paper notebook with green cloth spine from Turkey, Federal Supply Memorandum book, Moleskine Volant, Rite in the Rain waterproof notebook, Clairefontaine notebook from the early 1990s, slipcased German notebook and pencil from Carmen, another old Clairefontaine notebook, a more recent Clairefontaine notebook, Moleskine Cahier, Banditapple Carnet, Miro journals, fluorescent Field Notes given to me by a reader, white notebook from Deyrolle in Paris, Kikkerland Writersblok notebook, Moleskine Cahier decorated by me with stamps, Noted graph paper notebook from Target, Filou notebook bought in Turkey, Northern Central Co. Memorandum book from the late ’70s/early ’80s, Ink Journal, polkadot notebook from Portugal, black school quaderno from Vickerey, white promotional notebook from, (at this point the order gets scrambled in some of the later photos) black Doane Paper Utility Notebook, pale green Bound Custom Journal Memo, HitList notebook, OrangeArt Tattersall notebook, Artescrita 4-pack from Portugal, boxed Calepino notebooks, Word. notebook, Halaby Aero Flightbook, and Hahnemuhle Travel Booklets. Whew! I thought I had also included one other little graph paper stapled notebook that I bought in Portugal, but I can’t spot it in the photos– maybe it’s buried under there somewhere!

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And of course this isn’t even all the softcover notebooks in my collection. It’s also worth noting that of all these notebooks, the only ones that have actually been used even partially (other than pen tests for reviews) are the two old black/grey Clairefontaine notebooks and the Northern Central Memorandum book. I have other Moleskine Volant and Kikkerland Writersblok notebooks that I have used, but they weren’t the ones in these photos. I will probably use some of the graph paper and plain paper notebooks in the future. I ended up feeling like it was impossible to compare and contrast the features of so many different notebooks, but almost all of them have been photographed and described in more detail in other posts on this site already.

What’s your favorite softcover notebook?

Questions From Readers

Our extended family of notebook fans are always passionately searching for the perfect notebook. I’m often stumped by the questions I receive, so once again, I’m crowd-sourcing the research!

From Q:

Hi, I was wondering if you know of any places selling clear plastic covers for Moleskine Cahier or Volant pocket-sized notebooks? I have a passport cover that will just fit the width, but the height is about 10mm taller than a passport, so the ends stick out.

I have seen places selling artsy covers for Cahiers, but I am looking for a clear one.


Tom asks:

Forty or fifty years ago, whenever I went into a five-and-dime or drugstore, there was a stationery department. In this department there were always the little 6-ring pocket size notebooks. Actually, they usually were in two sizes: those that took 3”x5” pages, and those that took 4”x6”. But there was another variation. Some had the rings on the long side of the notebook, and some had the rings on the short side (the top). Now I am lefthanded, so writing in a small notebook with rings on the left is very difficult, so I always preferred the top-bound small notebook. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the top-bound 6-ring 3”x5” notebooks for at least thirty years, although the side-bound variety is still common. Nowadays, I am forced to use a spiral-bound (top-bound) pocket notebook, which is only marginally satisfactory for my purposes. My question is, do you know of any vendor anywhere in the world that still sells a notebook of the type I desire?


From James:

I’ve been reading Philip Hensher’s book The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting. In the last chapter he alludes to a shop in Geneva that stocks his favourite notebooks but – provocatively – declines to mention the name because he claims the staff are so “up-themselves”. Here’s the footnote quote in full:

I have a succession of notebooks, each about the size of my palm, bound in bright leather so you can’t mislay them about the house, with the perfect addition of an elastic cloth strap to stop the pages from flapping open and, more usefully, allowing you to keep your pen and notebook together and not to have to go delving into your man-bag saying that you could have sworn you had a pen with you. The notebooks are Swedish in manufacturer, and I would tell you where I get them, but the shop in Geneva is staffed by such up-themselves shop assistants that I really don’t think I want to put any more custom their way. Still, their notebooks are gorgeous, well worth it if you find the shop through your own initiative” (page 255)

Well, my initiative is to contact you! Might make an interesting blog post. If you know the answers (shop & notebook) please let me know!

The store could be Brachard, which I only know of via this post at Palimpsest, but no Swedish brands are mentioned.  Rationella and Ordning and Reda are two Swedish brands I’ve heard of. A Rationella notebook is featured in this post.


Pauline is looking to purchase or trade for some limited-edition Field Notes. If you have them, email me and I’ll put you in touch with her:

I am desperately seeking the following and have had no luck whatsoever. I seek a set, a Tattly Hustle set and one sketchXchange notebook.


From Thomas:

I am looking for a sketchbook (no lines, dots, or grids) with the pages made from vellum.

From Jane:

Do you know of another notebook that is the same size and thickness of a Moleskine Volant Extra Small, but that doesn’t have perforated pages? I don’t mind if it’s a little thicker, but I know the Moleskine Volant Extra Small is hardback and too thick/clunky in my pocket.

The Moleskine Volant isn’t actually hardback, so I think she means the extra-small hardcover Moleskine notebooks, which do not have perforated pages. I believe Writersblok had some small notebooks similar to the softcover Volants, but they might have had perforations too. Clairefontaine has some smaller sized staple-bound notebooks that I don’t think have perforations.

From Levi:

I’m working doing some research for a feature film that takes place San Francisco in the starting in 1958 and spans 10 years. One of our characters is a reporter and we would like to have the perfect looking notebooks for him. we should be able to source or replicate the books but I am wondering if you could give us a suggestion as to what the perfect notebooks (he might have different ones throughout the film) would look like. (a photo would be amazing, a brand would also be a great help.)

I was born in 1968, so I only know what I’ve seen in movies and photos, and I think reporters seemed to have pads that were spiral-bound at the top. But I’ll bet some other readers might have more suggestions.

If you can help with any of these questions, please comment! Thanks as always.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Luis

Luis emailed me from Brazil. He’s a fan of Zequenz and Moleskine notebooks, as well as Leuchtturm and some other brands I can’t quite identify from this photo of his nicely organized collection. I think I spy some Writersblok notebooks towards the left:

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Thanks for sharing your addiction, Luis! Obrigada!

Review: Pelle Journal

I was contacted by the maker of the Pelle Journal a few months back and was very excited to have the opportunity to review one. It was compared to the Midori Passport Size Travelers Journal, but it’s handmade in California. Let’s take a look at what this journal has to offer.


First of all, you’ll notice the packaging. The journal arrived in a plastic wrapper, with a label noting the size and the type of paper contained within. After removing the plastic, there’s a nice paper envelope with a contrasting elastic tie. Inside that, there’s a cloth bag. This is a very well-protected notebook, and if you give one as a gift, you almost don’t need to wrap it!


Also inside the paper envelope is a note from the manufacturer with some info about the product, and a spare elastic.

Finally, the journal itself! It’s a lovely small size– described as 3×5, but actually the cover measures 5 1/4″ high by about 3 7/8″ wide and the inner notebooks are 3 7/16 x 4 15/16″.



I love the look of the red elastic against the black, but it’s nice that the spare black elastic is included as an option. The leather is really nice– very soft and supple and thick. It’s just a single layer of leather, cut precisely to size. There is no stitching on the edges. On the inside it has a suede-y feel but seems almost like cloth. If you look closely you can see there are layers in the leather so I assume this is “bonded leather” which can have varying degrees of real leather content. Whatever it is, it smells and feels quite nice, though the little fibers from the sueded inside might start to look a little ragged after a lot of use.


The cover has a very subtle Pelle logo on the front lower right corner, and the company web address and “Made in the USA” on the back lower left corner.

Inside the cover, you have 3 elastic bands to hold interchangeable journals, similar to the Midori notebooks and the Kolo Essex Travel Book I reviewed. The two outer elastics are actually one that loops around, thereby securing the inner elastic, which slots into a notch at the top and bottom of the spine. There is a little bead that attaches it to a thin bookmark– I’d rather the bead wasn’t there but it is at least pretty small and not too disruptive. One thing I really like is that the elastics are mostly kept inside the notebook, rather than looping all the way around the outside of the spine as on the Kolo Essex book.PelleJournal9PelleJournal12


The journal I was sent has one notebook inside, though it is designed to hold 3. I didn’t have a chance to test how it would bulk up with 3 inside– one disadvantage of the Pelle Journal is that the inner notebooks aren’t a standard size. There are other notebook holders out there that are designed to hold Moleskine Cahiers but also accommodate the identically sized Field Notes, Doane Paper, Writer’s Blok and other similar brands (which are all 3 1/2 x 5 1/2″). I’m sure there are other brands out there that come in a small enough size to fit in the Pelle cover, but I can’t think of any offhand. (Please comment if you know of any!)


The inner notebook itself is very nice. It’s a simple staple-bound notebook with a brown cover and plain paper. The first and last page inside are like endpapers, with a red box and the Pelle logo on the front page. The paper within is smooth and creamy and a pleasure to write on. All my pens performed well, with only very slight feathering with the Pilot Varsity fountain pen. My Lamy Safari fountain pen went on just fine, though, which is good, as one of Pelle’s selling points is that the notebooks are fountain pen friendly. The paper had about average show-through, but performed better than average in terms of bleed-through.


Pelle Journals are available at a limited number of retailers, listed here. Among them is, where the small journal I received retails for $29.99. Replacement notebooks are $6.99-8.00 for this size, depending on the type of paper. This seems like a fair price for a product handmade in the US, and is much cheaper than the comparable Midori notebook. If you want a good quality, pocketable notebook that you can refill, the Pelle Journal is well worth a try.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Alex

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.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Millie

Millie sent me a link to this photo of her stash of unused notebooks. She points out that 2 didn’t make it into the photo… and I bet her collection of used notebooks would be pretty impressive too!


Full details on what all these notebooks are at Unused notebook collection.

Thanks for sharing, Millie!