Quality, durable, leather journal?
July 24, 2008 9:23 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a blank journal, preferably leather-bound, which will survive for many years and many adventures. Suggestions?

Two weeks from right now, I'll be in the air on my first real trip, which is also my honeymoon, and I need to get a journal. I want to devote it solely to travelling, and I'd like it to last long enough to refresh my memories when I'm old and gray. I'd like it to be:

  • leather-bound, or something else classic,
  • durable,
  • small enough for travel,
  • not a Moleskine (I have enough already),
  • affordable.

    I saw these two threads, but all the answers point at really high-end leather goods. I just want a quality journal. Can I find something like this at a Borders or Barnes and Noble? Other than brands, what characteristics should I look for (i.e. sewn binding, acid-free, "archival," etc.)?

    Bonus question, what should I use to write in it?
  • posted by MrZero to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
    I've been considering getting the Ciak notebook discussed here. It seems very high quality and will run you around 15-20 dollars.
    posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:35 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

    I have heard good things about the Everyman's Journal, but I've never tried it.
    posted by nasreddin at 10:54 PM on July 24, 2008

    What exactly with the problem with Moleskin, other than you have "enough" ahnd they're super hip/trendy?
    posted by Ookseer at 11:37 PM on July 24, 2008

    Roma Lussa 5x7. Unless your honeymoon is in Florence, in which case, go to Giulio Giannini & Figlio. Or, alternatively, the Exacompta St Germain, or the Nostalgie line which wrap very lovely Clairefontaine softbound journals in removable leather or leatherette bindings.
    posted by holgate at 1:10 AM on July 25, 2008

    Here's a nice selection from an importer I have enjoyed doing business with. To write with, a fountain pen would be the classic choice.
    posted by longsleeves at 2:22 AM on July 25, 2008

    Go look in the book section at TJ Max. Locally, GA, they have a selection of Italian leather, bound , blank journals such as those described in the post above. Tucked in between the cook books and coffee table tomes, and at prices that will allow you to grab several.
    posted by Agamenticus at 6:12 AM on July 25, 2008

    I'm with Ookseer, why not moleskine? The problem I've had with a lot of leather-bound journals is that they look pretty but the binding is crap. I've never had issues with moleskines.
    posted by craven_morhead at 8:14 AM on July 25, 2008

    Response by poster: Well, there's nothing wrong with Moleskines, but I already have four of them going at once for different purposes, and I thought I'd get something different, more classic and less trendy.

    My problem with finding it has been that everything falls into two groups: $80+ with the emphasis on the quality of the leather, or $10-$25 with the emphasis on what it looks like on the outside (flowers, designs, cute sayings, etc).

    I just want to find a quality journal, a balance of good paper, good binding, and good looks. The Everyman's Journal sounds about right, I'm just afraid it's a bit too big for travel purposes.
    posted by MrZero at 9:14 AM on July 25, 2008

    Best answer: Try Fiorentina journals. In the $30 range, usually leather, generally decent quality. They come in different sizes. Only problem is, they're hard to find. I've seen them at Barnes & Noble, also my local used bookstore carries them. Best bet might be ebay - search for "Fiorentina Journal."
    posted by rjacobs at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2008

    Oh, and for the bonus question, try the Cross Ion pen. Snaps onto your keychain for easy travelling, but still comfortable in your hand.
    posted by rjacobs at 9:53 AM on July 25, 2008

    Don't know how much effort you want to put into looking...but I've found some pretty sweet journals at thrift stores/used bookstores. Definitely takes a little bit of time, but the journals I have found have been well worth it- completely unique and a little bit vintage!
    posted by gracious floor at 1:27 PM on July 25, 2008

    Response by poster: I grabbed a Fiorentina for $40 at Barnes & Noble, and they had quite a few different styles. There was one at Borders for $50 which was beautiful, but that was the only one I saw at my local store and just a bit too pricey for me.

    One strange thing I noticed is that they don't really have much for branding on them, so it could be hard to know you've got one. Their old logo was a fleur-de-lis, but they have now created a stylized flower logo to use instead.

    Also, because I'm a nut, I emailed their NY office to ask if their paper (touted as "handmade Amalfi paper") is acid-free archival quality. Their response assured me it is.

    I still haven't written in it yet...
    posted by MrZero at 9:41 AM on July 31, 2008

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