I love good notebooks, and I’m very picky about them. They need high-quality paper that even liquid ink won’t show through and hard covers that can survive being packed about. They need to lie completely flat when open, and they need to be beautiful. For thermal bound, they need to have something to hold them closed. At the moment, I have:
33 completely filled
27 not filled (but about half of them have some writing in them)
1 in progress (about 80% full)
So here are my recommendations, at a variety of price points! I’ve listed them from cheapest to most expensive . . . but please note that that doesn’t reflect price efficiency.
Picadilly. I’ve traditionally bought these from Barnes & Noble for around $7. There are many available at places like thriftbooks.com and eBay. Decent quality for a low price point!
Peter Pauper Press. If you prefer thermal binding to spiral or wire-o but want to keep your price point low, this is a wonderful option. They have many excellent artists on their team, including some of my favorites. Peter Pauper competes with much higher-end notebooks despite their price point being only about $8 to $12. I wrote The Land of the Purple Ring in Peter Pauper notebooks.
My favorite, the Timeless Tree Journal:
C.R. Gibson. I’ve only gotten their spiral-bound notebooks, but they have a huge variety of stationery. I like the fact that many of their notebooks have designs on the pages themselves. And often a tint (rather than plain white). They’re priced at about $7 to $15, which is pretty cheap for a high-quality notebook.
Paperblanks. Here our price point jumps dramatically—for Paperblanks, you’re looking at $22 to $35 per notebook. However, the quality is also markedly higher. For many years, Paperblanks was the standard against which I held other notebooks. They have designs on the edges, superb paper, and sturdy covers. I own more Paperblanks notebooks than any other brand.
Official photo, so you can see a notebook similar to one I have with professional lighting:
Notebook Therapy. For smaller handwriting only! Although these are the most expensive per notebook ($30 to $40), they’re actually a better deal than most, because there are so many lines on each page and so many pages! For example, you can see the one I’m currently writing in. I get about 400 words per page, double what I get in most other notebooks. By the time I’ve finished this one, I’ll have written almost 70,000 words in it over the course of more than half a year. The paper is white with bullet dots, which took some adjusting to, but the quality is fabulous and the edges colored. Each notebook also comes in a beautiful box (I display them) with a matching paperclip. Every notebook is limited-time only. Really, the only possible downside to these is that dog hair sticks to the linen ones.
My photo doesn’t do justice to their beauty, so I’m also including this stock picture of the notebook I’m currently writing in (the one that’s open):
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