Saturday, September 5, 2015

Notebook Review: Papernotes Classic Notebooks

Imagine stumbling upon an Inbox that has not been opened or checked in the last three years. Imagine a thousand of unread email messages. Imagine rushing to reply to each of those thousand email messages. That happened to me when I mistakenly and unknowingly cancelled the forwarding feature for my blog's email address three years ago. I completely forgot about it for a long time, and when I remembered to check the email account, I had more than a thousand email messages!

I was unaware that people were sending me comments and questions, and also offering to send new products to review here. One of those who offered to send products for review is Papernotes, a startup company in Manila, Philippines that makes quality notebooks at affordable prices. 

When I learned that I could get two incredible notebooks, I chose orange and blue.

Papernotes makes the Classic Notebook Series, available in six different colors of black, white, grey, red, blue, and orange. A Classic notebook has 160 lined pages, and measures ~5.25 in × 8.25 in, shorter than a large Moleskine, but just as wide.

Papernotes uses soft, textured polyurethane (PU) as cover for their Classic notebooks. PU is described as 'synthetic leather,' and while it is soft and can be folded, it is sturdy enough like real leather.

The Classic notebook has a pen loop attached to the back cover. A nice feature, the loop can hold a slim to medium sized pen. People who tuck their pens in their notebooks can now easily slide them into their notebooks' loops. I tried putting a Lamy Al Star in the pen loop, but stopped because the elastic is a little tight and I thought it might scratch my pen.

The notebook's elastic closure is firm, but not too tight that it will cramp the soft cover. It's just right to hold the pages together, and notches on the covers keep the elastic closure in place.

The Papernotes team's thoughtful touch: notches to keep the elastic closure in place.
The Classic notebook's elastic closure is just as wide and thick as that of a Rhodia Webbie (orange notebook at the bottom) or a Moleskine (top of the Webbie). The other notebook in this pile is a TWSBI.

Each Classic notebook has a single color theme for its cover, pen loop, elastic band, and page marker. The long page marker is silk ribbon and has a width of 0.25 in.

I'm happy that these notebooks have round page corners. Notebooks with pointed corners are sharp and fray easily.

The pages of the Classic notebooks are smyth sewn, to ensure page security and flexibility. Sewn pages open completely flat, and they also look tidier. 

The inside cover page of the Classic notebook.

Papernotes also included a back pocket to their notebooks. Back pockets are useful to some, but I rarely use them because their contents create bulges and make it uncomfortable to write on the notebook's pages.

The Classic notebooks have 100gsm wood-free paper. Wood-free paper went through a chemical process where most of the wood pulp is removed. It is not an environmentally sound process, but wood-free paper lasts longer and is not susceptible to yellowing and discoloration.

Classic notebooks are all ruled, and use the college (medium) ruling of 0.7mm. 

I was really excited to try this notebook's 100gsm paper and filled a page with different fountain pen and ink combinations. I also included some of my gel pens. After the inks have dried, I was surprised to see that ink from most of my broad-nibbed pens did not bleed on the Papernotes Classic notebook. Some pens and ink bled, though, but they are only minimal. I am happy to see that most of my daily carry pens are drying well in this notebook.

I was not able to do a proper test for inks' drying times, but I did not have any problems with drying when I did the pen and ink tests.

I tested 11 fountain pens + inks combinations in this 100gsm paper.
Three out of the 11 combinations showed minimal bleed, but that's alright. 
The Classic notebook is a beautiful notebook. Thank you, Papernotes!

Overall, the Classic Notebooks by Papernotes are of good quality and suitable for fountain pen use. They are simple, attractive, and elegant. They have soft flexible covers, an elastic closure to keep the pages together, the pages have round corners, and the paper is suitable for many pen types. These notebooks are perfect for note taking and journaling, and they are very affordable at only PhP225 each! (That's roughly US$4.80.)

To get these notebooks you place your orders through the Papernotes Facebook page at They ship to anywhere in the Philippines and outside the country.


  1. Anonymous11:06 PM

    How smooth is the paper and how does it compare to Rhodia or Maruman?

  2. The paper is not very smooth, comparing to Rhodia.

  3. This looks great, the perfect size, and FP-friendly too! I shall have to get my hands on one, or a few! :)