The A. G. Spalding & Bros notebook and Notebook Colder are a new entry into the pocket notebook space that offers some good paper and a unique paper case compared to other similar products. The 3.5" x 5" format is a compact, easy-to-carry, and fun to use. It's a great product, but it could also be better.
Since we are talking about two separate products, let's start with the notebook cover. The cover comes in a dark brown that looks great. The elastic band that holds the cover shut is a bit loose if you're carrying only one notebook, but the cover was designed to hold two notebooks. I'd like the elastic to be tighter, but it's not that big of an issue.
The cover has one piece of branding on the front, which is a small A.G. Spalding & Bros embossed logo. It's small and tasteful. The inside of the cover has two flaps that hold the notebooks, and the covers are stitched around the edge of the cover to create pockets.
The elastic closure is attached in the middle of the back cover using a knot on the inside of the cover. In practice, this knot introduces two problems. One, it makes it difficult to slide a notebook into the right side pocket because the knot is obstructing most of the opening. It takes some effort to make it slide in properly, and you might end up bending the notebook in the process. The other major problem with this knot is that it creates a lump in the middle of the page when writing on the right side of the page. I found it pretty uncomfortable to use when on a flat surface.
Overall, the cover looks nice and is an affordable non-leather option for holding your notebooks. At just under twenty bucks, I can't say it's a good deal, however. It offers protection and a convenient way to carry two notebooks, but the knot in the back got in the way too often. Ultimately, I enjoyed the notebook more when the cover was removed.
Now, on to the notebook. The one I have is the graph variety, but you can also find them in lined and blank versions. The front outside cover contains some really nice branding along with an obvious "G, P, or R" to indicate the ruling type on the inside. It's a beautiful notebook on the inside and out. Apart from the front cover, there is no other branding on these books.
The paper is good quality, but not the best. It handles fountain pen and wet inks like a champ, but exhibits quite a bit of show-through on the reverse page. If you're using fountain pens, the back page might be unusable. Aside from that, the paper is really nice and is fun to write on. It's smooth, the ruling is light enough to stay out of your way, and it's thick enough to be durable against accidental rips and bends.
One minor gripe with the build quality of the notebook is that the binding stitching on my notebook has some loose threads. This makes me worry that it may begin to unravel at some point, but it's been stable so far.
Overall, it's a great notebook that works well with fountain pens as long as you don't mind the show-through. The pocket notebook market is vast, and you can probably find notebooks that are either more affordable, more durable, or more fountain-pen-friendly, so the major draw of this notebook for me is the design of the front cover. For me, I like using the notebook, but don't often use the cover. The cover looks nice, but detracts from the writing experience.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.
Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!