Keep A Notebook is one of the more interesting notebook systems I have come across. The first thought that comes to mind is it’s another Traveler’s Notebook clone - which is a good thing in my mind - but it does a few things differently.
Upon opening the package, the biggest difference Keep A Notebook offers smacks you right in the face. There is no traditional flat leather cover with rubber bands to hold your inserts. Rather, it uses a heavy card stock notebook jacket. And the fun part? You get to build it yourself!
Once I realized that this large, scored, taped, paper airplane/origami mashup was the actual holder for the notebooks I was a bit intimidated. The instructions are in Taiwanese, and it seemed like there were a million steps. Certainly I’m going to screw this up!
I had so much fun putting the notebook jacket together.
The pictures in the instructions were right on the money, with all of the double-sided tape and tags marked with numbers to keep you on the right path. It took some time to complete - 20 minutes at least - and I totally felt like the Success Kid when I was done.
This jacket has a few built in advantages where in the TN system these things would require add-ons. It has inside front and inside back pocket slots, plus a full-sized button and string envelope, which is a great touch.
Additionally, the Keep A Notebook notebooks don’t use bands to keep them in place. The front and back covers slide into each side of the jacket, making it easy to get three notebooks inserted without issue.
The notebooks themselves are high quality and handled wet fountain pens with only a few dots of bleed through in the heaviest inked areas. Ghosting wasn’t bad either.
I like the notebook style variance and page layouts better than anything TN offers. The 01 Weekly/Diary model is a perfect layout for how I plan. There are seven day blocks plus header on the left side with matching grid note sections on the right. The blue grids and brown lines on cream paper are wonderful too, which is the color scheme that runs throughout the books.
There are over a dozen different inserts you can choose from, including Travel Journal, Monthly Planner, Scrapbook, and basic Ruled, Blank, or Grid. They have even launched a couple of new inserts since the pack I received in the spring.
On the down side, I have to wonder how well the notebook jacket will hold up. It’s fun and awesome, but it is fiber, not leather. It will be prone to the elements more, and likely wear quicker. I also wonder how the tape will hold up in extreme heat and cold.
Also, they are not easy to purchase for most of the world. The majority of their retailers are in Asia, with L’amour HK carrying the deepest the product line. Other retailers lineup seems hit or miss.
Keep A Notebook is a wonderful notebook system that looks and works great. Does it fit your needs? Can you jump through the ordering hoops? Those are the questions you need to ask yourself. If nothing else, I think you will have fun with it.
My thanks to Ching Ching Stationery, makers of Keep A Notebook, for sending me this product at no charge for purposes of this review.
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