Tag Archives: mead

In Praise of the Basic Composition Book

A nice look at the history of the ubiquitous marbled composition book. I haven’t actually used one in years, but I love them nonetheless! Reading this made me want to buy one!

“Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat sketched in marble composition books, and Italian architect Ettore Sottsass used the covers to make furniture. Marble notebooks also furnish Eddie Vedder with working space for Pearl Jam lyrics.

Since no copyright applies to these books, a slew of brands make them: Roaring Spring, Top Flight, Swinton, Norcom, iScholar—the list goes on. And what differentiates these brands? Nothing, and that’s the beauty of it: the marble composition book, a simple, understandable product that costs a few bucks and delivers what it promises. “Teachers, students and parents alike love the product for its slim profile and stitched binding that prevents paper from tearing out,” said Amy Botkin, brand manager for ACCO Brands, owner of Mead, which has made marble notebooks for 42 years now. “It remains one of our top sellers.” “

Read more at  Why Is the Basic Marble Notebook Made by So Many Brands Still So Popular? | Adweek




Notebook Addict of the Week: Mary

This week’s addict emailed me photos of her notebook collection:

Hi, my name is Mary and these are my notebooks:


I guess you could say I’m addicted to them. I mean, everybody needs a notebook sometimes, right? If I didn’t have these, I wouldn’t have anyplace to write stuff down.

I wrote something in this one a while back, I think it was something about a septic tank so I tore out that page and threw it away when I didn’t need it any more.


There’s nothing written in this one right now. There probably used to be, but I must have torn out those pages too. Or maybe I just bought it for my nephew to doodle in, I can’t remember.


I keep my notebook collection in a special spot, nice and handy:


I don’t remember where I bought them… or when… or why I picked these particular ones. I mean, they’re just notebooks… whatever!

Many thanks to Mary for sharing her addiction! So glad I could feature it on this special day… 🙂

Notebook Addict of the Week: Kim

This week’s addict sent me an email about her notebook addiction:

“The name is Kim and I have been an notebook addict unofficially since 1996 but officially since 2001. When I discovered this website it made me realize I am not alone out there and people understand the obsession these magical books posses! One of the Journals within my collection is actually one I won in a giveaway from you! The Yellow VS. Journal by Knock Knock. I have written a post on my blog about this obsession and I hope you enjoy some of the pictures.  The rest can be viewed on my blog http://inksoakedpage.blogspot.com/2014/10/notebook-addiction.html

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A very colorful collection! Make sure to click through to her blog to see the rest– lots of composition books and spiral notebooks. Thanks for sharing your addiction, Kim!

From Our Readers

Mike Sheehan shares his excellent sketches documenting the Murrieta immigration protests:
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David is excited that the “Trapper Keeper lives!”.

Renee shares the story of a teacher who is looking for donations of journals for her students. She successfully collected 100 journals for the 2013-2014 school year, and now she needs to do it again! Please help her collect 100 journals by August 18, 2014 by sending a hardcover, lined journal of approximately 150-200 pages (with no references to drugs, sex, religion, etc, so it’s school-appropriate, though you are welcome to write an encouraging message to the student on the first page) to this address:

Alston Middle School
Attn: Ms. Krauklis
500 Bryan Street
Summerville, SC 29483

You can also make a contribution to her page at DonorsChoose.


And Alicia shares her own notebook story, about writing in notebooks in unusual places:

“I’m someone that only writes my novels in notebooks. I’ve tried typing them directly into my computer…it doesn’t work for me. My characters’ voices lose all enthusiasm and emotion…some of them even refuse to speak to me at all. There’s just something about a notebook and a pen. 

I have taken notebooks many places. I have written next to rivers, on the beach, on airplanes…but one of my favorites has been when I had a gay bar that I went to regularly with a friend and wrote there pretty regularly too. The first time I took my notebook to the bar with me was on Drag Bingo night. And yes, I went back and forth between my notebook and my bingo cards. I had several people come up to me and ask me if I was working on homework in the bar and I would respond “nope, I’m writing a novel” usually without even looking up. My friend Steven was fascinated by how much attention I got by not paying attention to anything going on around me. He insisted after that first night that I needed to bring my novel notebook with me from then on. I had lots of people ask me how I could write in that environment, but it was actually not hard at all. It’s all the same kind of music and all the same level of loud so it’s quite easy to make into background noise. I often had people ask me if they could read what I was writing. I would look at them with horror on my face and respond “no. No one reads the notebook…no one touches the notebook.” I wouldn’t even leave my notebook unattended on the table to get a drink or use the restroom. I had to know that someone from my party was going to be at the table while I was gone. 
Some of my friends recently made me set aside one of my beloved notebooks because it was falling apart. It made me sad because that notebook was the one that I took to that bar…it put up with many spilled drinks and long nights…as well as notes from classes, drawings from friends and even a few phone numbers. But it hasn’t completely gone away…I still have it in a safe place, mostly because it has a large chunk of my third book in my trilogy written in it that I haven’t managed to get typed up yet…it’s just not allowed to go out in public anymore. 
I love my notebooks. They are some of my most precious possessions.”

As always, thank you to everyone who sends in so many wonderful tips, photos and stories!

Notebook Sightings

Some of the notebooks I’ve spotted on recent shopping trips, first these “Carnets de Poche” at a gift shop in Bethesda, MD. They’re a bit large to really fit in your poche, perhaps, but rather cute nonetheless, with a nice mix of papers inside:

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I was quite intrigued by these Mead planners I saw at Staples. They have an attractive Moleskine-ish look to them on the outside, but with a bit more design and branding to it. Inside, the pages offer a couple different planner layouts, either a notebook with some monthly calendar pages, or a 2 day per page planner. I love that they’ve used the Moleskine format and styling, though I find the inner pages to be a bit much with all that orange and grey. And I think these pocket-size planners were $15.95 each, which seemed a bit pricy, though not any worse than Moleskine. (The price is lower on their website, so perhaps what I saw was a mistake. $12.99-13.99 seems more in line.) These “At a Glance” planners have been around forever, or at least it seems that way, but they always used to look kind of cheesy and downmarket, so I guess someone at Mead decided to redesign them in line with current notebook trends. (The old-style flimsy-covered ones with a wire-o binding are still around too. Perhaps someone will re-introduce them as a retro-hip notebook style one of these days!)

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At Lee’s Art Supply in Manhattan, I spotted these nice cahier-style Fabriano EcoQua notebooks, in a colorful 4-pack:

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Lee’s also had a range of notebooks made with translucent vellum paper, including this pocket sized one:

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How about you? Have you spotted any new, unique or unusual notebooks lately?

More Good Stuff from Our Readers

From Jennie, a link to an article with some more great reasons to favor paper over digital note-taking:

“The notebook has an immediate tactile advantage over phones: they aren’t connected to the Internet. It’s intimate in a way computers aren’t. A notebook has never interrupted me with a screen that says, “Wuz up?” Notebooks are easy to use without thinking. I know where I have everything I’ve written on-the-go over the last eight years: in the same stack. It’s easy to draw on paper. I don’t have to manage files and have yet to delete something important. The only way to “accidentally delete” something is to leave the notebook submerged in water.”

Read more at  Why little black books instead of phones and computers | The Story’s Story.


Matt Jackson invites you to take a look at his Etsy shop featuring handmade leather journals:

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Paul sends this photo of the best vending machine concept I’ve ever seen. I love the idea of being able to pump in some coins and grab an emergency notebook:


David sends a link to some funky looking notebooks at Animi Causa, including this one, which comes with a LED pen so you can write in the dark:\
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Anke tips us off to the Envelope Book notebook, whose pages are made of recycled envelopes:
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Thanks for the info, everyone! Keep the tips coming!

Notebook Addict of the Week: DreamerO

This week’s addict also emailed me photos of her excellent notebook collection, with some commentary:

I enjoy pocket journals, the saddest part is that they run out of pages so soon and I always feel like I’m abandoning a best friend when I have to start a new one. My pet peeve is that I don’t like Moleskine notebooks because I hate the way regular ink smudges on smoother higher quality paper, and the edges have to rounded otherwise the notebooks feels unfriendly.

I’d love to know if there are others who love pocket notebooks, and if they use them as journals or only for short note taking.

Here you can find more pictures of my lovely little collection: http://livinginthewaves.blogspot.com/2012/12/pocket-notebooks_22.html



my pocket notebook collection pocket notebook s- DreamerO

I love seeing them all piled up. I’m also intrigued by the contrast in this collection– a lot of addicts either have wild variety, with no two alike and lots of colors and patterns, and others use the same notebook type over and over, often plain covered ones. This collection is sort of half and half! Thanks for sharing your addiction, DreamerO!

Notebook Addict of the Week: nenonafirestardragonstrgteg1

I can’t pronounce this addict’s name, but I like the collection, which appears here on Flickr with annotations.

Notebook Addict of the Year: Anene

Here we have another super-addict whose love for notebooks extends to loving to shower them upon others! Anene is the author of a novel, Dancing with Gravity, and the blog Anene Writes. She offered to send me “a couple” of notebooks and look what showed up!



 It’s an amazing variety, from a simple Mead composition book to some tiny handmade notebooks bound in Guatemalan(?) textiles. There’s a small notebook that comes with a mirror inside and a chain so you can wear it around your neck. There are Levenger Circa system disks and refills. There is an elephant dung paper journal. Some of my favorites were the journal with multi-colored leaf pages, and the Barnes & Noble/Miquelrius co-branded notebook. They’re every size and shape and color and texture! Obviously Anene is a devoted collector. She says “I share your addiction. And if I send you my duplicates…I’ll be able to go out, guilt-free and buy more!”










I’ll be sharing some of Anene’s generosity with some lucky readers: since I’m starting to run out of room for all the wonderful gifts and samples people send me, I’m going to start doing more random giveaways, and the first one is today! The randomly selected winner will receive an assortment of up to 5 randomly selected notebooks, including some of these. If you like surprises, enter in any of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing the words “random notebooks” and “@NotebookStories.

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

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

And for those who don’t use the above options, you can also enter by leaving a comment on this post about why you need more notebooks!

The deadline for entry is Friday August 12 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone! And thank you again to Anene for sharing her addiction and her notebooks with all of us!


Notebook Addict of the Week: Ina

This week’s addict says “I’m Ina, I’m twenty, I live in Manila, Philippines. If I wasn’t broke right now, I would run to a bookstore and buy as much notebooks as I like. Sigh.”

Love these photos, which include a friend standing in as a measuring tool! This was her collection as of March 31, 2011– I’m sure it’s grown since then!

You can see LOTS more pictures and read about all these luscious notebooks at Ina’s blog, 365inasnap.