Tag Archives: shopping

Worst Notebook Story Ever!

I love notebooks a lot, but there’s no notebook worth fighting over to the point of pulling out a gun! Some Walmart shoppers got a little too aggressive looking for back to school bargains in the notebook aisle!


Read more: Gun pulled in fight between back to school shoppers at Walmart in Michigan

London Notebooks

I was in London a few months ago, and while the trip wasn’t my best notebook-spotting adventure, I did see a few interesting items.

At Foyle’s, the huge bookstore on Charing Cross Road, there is a nice selection of stationery tucked in shelves by the registers on the 2nd floor. I thought the Puggy’s Best notebook was rather cute, and I was really tempted to buy the composition book tote bag!

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At an airport shop, I was somewhat tempted by this Ted Baker notebook, but I didn’t like the pen loop on the spine, or the included pen itself. The pages inside were a mix of lined and squared pages, but the squares were very small– I think I’d find them a little distracting. Note the notch in all the pages for where the elastic closure sits.

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london notebooks 2016 - 1

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So those were the things I did NOT buy… but I did purchase a couple other notebooks on my trip, which I’ll review soon!

Happy Thanksgiving… and Black Friday!

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! Hope it is full of family, friends, fun, and feasting before you start thinking about shopping… but once you do… here’s a few gift ideas for your favorite notebook addict–perhaps yourself!

Brice Marden Notebooks: I posted about these recently, but hadn’t yet received my own copies of the facsimile notebooks. They arrived yesterday so now I can tell you firsthand that they are fabulous! A really cool glimpse at an artist’s jottings and other ephemera pasted into his sketchbooks from the 1960s.

Jean-Michel Basquait: The Notebooks: another interesting facsimile artist’s notebook.

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor, by Lynda Barry. Another facsimile composition book that I’ve posted about before. You can get lost in these pages for hours, and there are practical lessons for creativity too.

uni-ball Signo 207 Retractable Gel Pens, Ultra-Micro Point, Black Ink, 4-Pack

Cheap pens are always a great stocking stuffer– these have the .38mm fine tip that I love, and they’re cheaper than the version sold at JetPens. As far as I can tell, the pen body is different but the refills inside are the same. I also love Pigma Micron pens for drawing. They come in lots of different sizes and colors:

Poetry Is Useless, by Anders Nilsen: Yet another piece of eye-candy with imaginative cartoons and doodles drawn in the pages of pocket notebooks.

For those who aren’t intimidated by a lot of empty pages to fill, how about the Art Alternatives Sketches in the Making Giant Hardcover Sketch Book. It’s 600 pages of 12.5 x 10.75″ paper! Make your own coffee table book!

Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers
Still one of my favorite books about sketchbooks. Always fun to flip through.

Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
Another fun and inspirational book, with different tips and techniques cross-referenced to the work of different artists.

There are lots of other great books, notebooks, and pens listed in the Notebook Stories Store on Amazon. Happy shopping!

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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In Search of Notebooks: Paris and Amsterdam

I recently took a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Searching for notebooks wasn’t the sole purpose of the trip, of course, but I did a better job than usual of preparing for the journey with some research on places to buy notebooks.

In Amsterdam, I had less time to devote to stationery shopping, as I’d never been there before and wanted to see all the sights. But I did make a point of visiting P. K. Akkerman, a stationery and pen shop I first heard of via this blog post. The shop has since moved from the location described in that post, and I didn’t get to see the ladies with the precise manicures and hairdos, but there was quite a nice selection of notebooks, and an even better display of amazing high-end pens.


One of the other stationery shops I’d hoped to see in Amsterdam had also either moved or closed, so my other notebook spottings were all in newsstands or museum shops. At the Stedelijk museum, I saw a wonderful exhibition of the artist Marlene Dumas, and bought a lovely item that is part art book, part notebook, I guess– some of Dumas’ paintings are interspersed with blank pages in a small softcover booklet.

In Paris, I had more leads to follow and spent a good part of a day wandering around tracking them down. My favorite shop was Marie Tournelle, a small store that is just crammed with cute stationery and school supplies.


The museum shop at the Centre Pompidou also has an amazing papeterie section. I loved visiting the Sennelier store– the selection of sketchbooks wasn’t all that dazzling, but the rest of the art supplies will blow your mind, and it’s wonderfully old-fashioned. I loved the color charts along the stairs.


Papier + had some beautifully bound journals with rainbow pages– expensive, though.


A store called Merci had a small stationery section with a few cool things– along with some great (expensive) clothes and shoes and selected home and garden items. And to top it all off, there was even an interesting notebook sitting right on the desk in the AirBnB apartment I stayed in in Paris. It looked like it was quite old, with numbered graph paper pages separated with thin sheets of tissue, as if it was meant to be a lab notebook where you’d make copies of each page.


Here’s the stack of notebooks I brought home from my trip. Not a bad haul! I’ll do a more detailed review on the notebooks themselves soon.

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See my Flickr album for even more photos.

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?

Obligatory Black Friday Post

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and are stuffed with good food. If you’re starting your holiday shopping now, don’t forget to consider the Notebook Stories Store on Amazon for a selection of notebooks, sketchbooks, journals, pens, and books about sketchbooks and journaling.  Blick Art Materials is also a great source for sketchbooks, pens and other art-related gifts:  BLICK Holiday Gift Shop: One-stop shopping for everyone on your list!

And your purchases made through these links will help support this site! Thank you!

Unexpected Sources of Cute Notebooks

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!

EBay Find: Rice-Stix

Every once in a while, I have a little burst of temporary insanity, and I decide to go browsing on EBay. Fortunately, some of these bursts lead to interesting and inexpensive notebook finds! Here’s a real gem:
This notebook must have been given out as a promotional item by a company called Rice-Stix, based in St. Louis. It was apparently some kind of big wholesale distributor, representing a wide variety of products. ricestix2

The notebook has a picture of the company headquarters, as well as information about the products they carried, and even an index as to where you’d find them in their showroom. And the best part: a floor-by-floor thumb index, so you could keep your shopping list organized!


No one ever seems to have written in it. I’m not planning to write in it either– I’ll probably just put it on a shelf and admire it once in a while!

Weekend Shopping

I stopped by a Borders store in Southbury, Connecticut this weekend, and look what I saw:

Barnes & Noble isn’t the only chain bookstore offering some exclusive Moleskine items– Borders offers this “brick,” a lined notebook bundled with 2 cahiers:

This display of journals was quite attractive. I tend to use mainly plain black journals, but these colorful designs are a bit funkier than others I’ve seen. I might have been tempted to buy some, but they tended to be a bit larger than my preferred size:

There were a number of notebooks and journals on the markdown shelf– pictured here are some Ciak notebooks, and there were also a few Moleskine watercolor notebooks.

The main reason I stopped at Borders was to see if they were carrying the Picadilly notebooks reviewed at Black Cover. Black Cover had suggested that Barnes & Noble was the big Moleskine supporter and that was why Borders was going with Picadilly, but I think both big chains are equally in bed with Moleskine. Borders had a large Moleskine shelf presence, including all the regular notebook styles, a number of planner styles and the custom package above, and this store, as well as another Borders I visited recently, had no Picadilly notebooks in the stationery section. But on my way out, I did spot a few large format Picadilly notebooks right by the front door, displayed with all the bargain-priced books. I’m not surprised they ended up there, given the very low prices: I didn’t get a photo but the large Picadilly notebook was priced at only $5.99!