(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!)
Kokuyo has earned a reputation for providing top quality paper for very reasonable prices, and the Campus High Grade MIO paper notebooks promise to be their best paper yet. I'm not entirely sure it keeps that promise. I think I personally prefer the thicker paper they offer. However, this is still excellent paper for the value and very good paper overall.
The MIO paper is a premium paper that Kokuyo has bound into A5 and A4 notebooks. There are 6 and 7 mm rule lines available so far, though hopefully they'll add a grid option at some point. The paper is ivory colored and the lines are faint, so they don't interfere if you need to disregard them for creative purposes. There are 28 lines per page. The top of each page also has a place for the page number and date, as well as dots to mark vertical alignment.
The notebook is glue-bound with a soft, very flexible cardstock cover. It's coated in a way that makes it feel like plastic, and will hopefully hold up well to wear over time. The spine is reinforced with a silvery tape that allows enough flex for the notebook to lie flat.
The paper is 60 gsm and the notebook contains 80 sheets, or 160 pages if you write on both sides. And you can indeed write on both sides, at least with most pens, so long as you don't mind a little show-through.
The lightweight smoothness of the paper reminds me a lot of Tomoe River paper, but it doesn't have the same level of impervious coating. It held up well for almost everything. Sharpie, of course, bled through. I tested an ink spill on it. The ink bled and spread across the page, and bled though the next page behind as well. That's the first time I've had a multi-page casualty from two drops of ink on fountain pen friendly paper, so I suspect this paper is not treated with whatever sorcery it is that keeps liquid inks on a paper's surface. True to this theory, my broad Pilot nib caused quite a bit of feathering when I wrote with it. It is a very juicy nib, though. With all of my other currently-inked pens, I had a pleasant writing experience and little show-through. Certainly not enough to bother me, though others may feel differently.
I don't think this paper will be the one pen addicts reach for when they want to show off sheens and shimmers or interesting shading--it's a bit too absorbent for that. But if you have a medium or fine point pen and a good number of pages to write, you can do that with one of these for only six bucks. That is, as I often find myself saying about Kokyo notebooks, completely bananas. When compared to many bound books of comparable paper, that's about half the cost. It's a good balance between luxury and practicality.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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