(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)
These sweet little Kokuyo Buncobon Dot Cover Notebook is designed to resemble Japanese paperback novels--a charming paper cover, the perfect A6 palm-of-your-hand size--with an additional eye for usability.
The notebook measures 4.1" by 5.8" and will fit in your favorite A6 notebook case or cover. It does come with a paper cover over the plain cream cardstock, and then another plastic cover over that. I found the plastic cover to be crinkly and irritating, so I set it aside fairly quickly. The paper cover has a pretty dot pattern, and it stays on with a folding flap that also serves as the notebook's index. The paper cover isn't terribly durable, though. And considering the generous page count and the fact that the book will probably be in use a while, an additional cover might not be a bad idea.
The cover itself is softcover cardstock with blue tape binding. The binding is glue, and it claims to lie flat, but I found mine needed a lot of training to even come close, and then I worried about whether the binding would hold together after such abuse. I prefer sewn bindings, but this one is working well so far.
Inside the notebook you'll find 70 sheets of 5mm grid 70gsm ivory paper. The paper has a bit of texture and tooth to it, but in a crisp, pleasant way. It's surprisingly good paper for a notebook with a large number of sheets and a price tag under $5. It held up well with most pens. Not Sharpie, of course, but everything else did very well. There's a touch of show-through with a very wet, dark rollerball, but the fountain pen did great.
A nice feature of this book is its searchable function--there are spaces along the side edge that are designed for color coding that will be visible from the fore-edge, so you can flip to the section you need with ease. Combined with the index, it's a powerful little organizational tool. And it's got a sweet wee ribbon bookmark, too.
These are fantastic little notebooks. Not perfect, no, but the compromises are fair and worth it for what you do get. I love that there are enough pages to see me through a larger project, and that I can use my fountain pens, all without making my wallet weep. I think these would make great bullet journals or planners. They'd be wonderful for class notes. Perfect for novel research! I may use mine as a travel journal for an upcoming trip. Needless to say, it's a versatile book and very impressive for the price. Kokuyo knocks it out of the park again.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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