Spawned from a Kickstarter campaign in 2015, Bookblock Notebooks allow you to build a notebook just for you. Their covers are customizable with your own artwork, and their are several different options for notebook layouts and paper options. Bookblock offered to make a Pen Addict logo notebook for me earlier this year and I gladly took them up on the offer.
Working with Bookblock to get the notebook made was as simple as providing them a high resolution file of my logo. The cover art doesn’t have to be a simple logo or brand either. You can upload you hand-drawn artwork, digital designs, or anything else you want to show off on the front cover of your notebook. They even snuck in The Pen Addict tagline on the back cover of mine, which was a nice touch. The quality of the logo printing is excellent, and the colors were spot on. The other examples I have seen from Bookblock look equally as nice.
Before getting to the paper choices, there were two issues with my notebook I brought up to the Bookblock team. One, their choice of packaging negatively affected the logo design during shipping. The notebook wasn’t wrapped inside the cardboard envelope that it shipped in, causing it to rub the cover all the way across the Atlantic. You can see in the picture how the dark grey ink smeared across the white. It’s going to get dinged up anyway with regular use, but I want to be the one to do it. This is an easy fix though, as one layer of bubble wrap should do the trick.
Secondly, there are no grommets or other protection where the elastic band connects to the back of the notebook. When you are printing the covers of the notebooks in color you are going to see chipping and wear around those holes if they aren’t protected, and it will likely get worse over time.
The grommet issue is directly related to the choice of notebook, in this case Monsieur. There are a few other choices, such as Moleskine, Castelli, G.F. Smith, and Bookblocks own brand name. And honestly, I would choose all of them over Monsieur due to the poor paper they use.
When using any type of wet ink, from fountain to rollerball, you can feel it seeping into the page as you write. With the metal nibs of fountain pens, especially the finer ones, you can feel the paper loosening and even getting caught in the nibs of finer pens. Ballpoints and gel inks are generally ok and pencils are great. Markers obviously need not apply, although that can be said about almost any standard notebook.
As an idea and product, Bookblocks has what it takes to provide quality to the end user, but they could use better paper choices. I would choose Moleskine over the Monsieur every time, and word from friends is that the Castelli Notebook they offer handles most inks very well. Hopefully we will see other options in the future.
My thanks to Bookblock for sending this notebook to me at no charge for review purposes.