I'm looking for a very particular type of A5 notebook
November 21, 2014 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone make my ideal notebook? A5 in size, any colour you like, with covers that flex but aren't too flimsy (not stiff boards) and with a mix (alternating pages if possible) of both lined and plain pages? The mix is important - I like drawing and writing - but I'm not really sure what to search for to find what I want. I'd take a mix of squared and plain at a stretch. All suggestions and pointers welcome.
posted by jonathanbell to Shopping (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I am such a sucker for a good notebook. Leuchtturm notebooks are pretty nice A5 notebooks. Sort of pricey, but high-quality. I'm not 100% sure if the option "with lined and squared backing sheets" means that it's alternating with lined and plain pages as you prefer, though, but if it is, then I think this meets your criteria. And they come in a bunch of colors!
posted by gemutlichkeit at 6:58 AM on November 21, 2014

Would a notebook with a lined template page that you can put under the current page to provide lines when you're writing fit this requirement? I've often bought writing pads that have a cardboard template that folds up from the back to provide the lines when necessary and folds away when they aren't. They don't seem to be as common as they used to be, but I still sometimes see them. I've also been known to just make my own by drawing/printing lines on a piece of paper and cutting it to fit the notebook so I can tuck it in the back when I'm not using it. If that appeals, you might like this Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/timtwo/sketchynotebook
posted by jacquilynne at 7:01 AM on November 21, 2014

If you cannot find what you want commercially, it is not especially difficult to have a notebook made. Any place that does binding can do it—e.g. in the US, Staples or OfficeMax, for instance—since it's the same process that you'd do to bind a report or booklet. You just give them the looseleaf pages, pick the cover/back stock, and they'll punch them and thread in a coil binding, or whatever other type of binding you prefer (coil/spiral is nice because then they open flat though). Binding machines are normally not specific to paper size (they have a maximum but smaller is typically fine).

The tedious part would be sorting the grid and non-grid sheets into an alternating order. I don't know of a good way to automate that.

I've done a couple of DIY notebooks this way for the "Cornell Notes" method, which uses a printed template on each page (and the cost of pre-printed versions of which are offensively expensive). I used manila folder material for the front and back covers.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:31 AM on November 21, 2014

Here's one with both types, but not alternating.

You could get a refillable notebook and fill it with both lined and blank pages (I like the brand Kokuyo Campus).

Or maybe a dot grid would be a good compromise? I like Rhodia dot grid notebooks.

Here's a company in NYC that was making them; you can get on their mailing list for future releases.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

The tedious part would be sorting the grid and non-grid sheets into an alternating order. I don't know of a good way to automate that.

put them in a collating copier (ask your friends who work in an office) and copy a blank sheet of paper (set the contrast to lightest in case there are any specks.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:55 AM on November 21, 2014

Dot grids look interesting, thank you. And these aptly named notebooks might fit the bill. Thank you all.
posted by jonathanbell at 11:00 AM on November 21, 2014

Jetpens.com has a lot of interesting notebooks from Japan.
posted by tommasz at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2014

If you have the patience you can build your own notebook and then buy it at Blurb.com. They used to have it as a category.

I don't see it under their current book formats, but I remember comparing formats and finding it identical to trade books (with the trade books open to whatever options you want).
posted by mirileh at 5:14 AM on November 22, 2014

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