So a long while back I used to journal in the pocket size Moleskine notebooks – the ubiquitous black hardcover ones. They worked pretty well but I slowly moved up the sizes until I was using the Leuchtturm1917 master dots size. A great size with lots of space, but hard to carry anywhere, so I slid back down to the BookFactory blank books in the 8×10 size. Also a nice size, but not so good for travel.
After eventually going all the way back down to Fieldnotes notebooks in a leather cover I’d made, I realized that’s too small. But I like the cover and I liked the slim volumes. Just needed the next size up.
I went looking for refills that were the 5×8 size, dot grid, and not too expensive. Moleskine ruined their Cahier notebooks by making 25% of the pages perforated. Leuchtturm1917 did even worse my ruining the entire book – the whole thing is perforated. I know a lot of folks want pages perforated so they can tear them out, but I’m not one of those people.
Looking on Amazon I found these: XYark 12 Pack Dot Grid Notebook Journals
The arrived in a nice stack in a plastic bag, are just what I expected. Stitch bound, not perforated, dot grid. The paper is thin and the cover is just a bit thicker. I didn’t buy them to survive on their own – they’ll be in a leather cover – so these seem about perfect.
60 pages is about 1/4 of what is in a Leuchtturm1917 notebook of the same size, so I figure I’ll go through about three or four of these in a year. I used to want notebooks to last for as many months of journaling as possible, but I’ve found I really don’t look back that often away from home.
The paper is not fantastic, but it’s easily as good as Moleskine, about the same as Leuchtturm’s. A cursory test with fountain pen ink showed no bleed using Noodler’s black that had been in a pen for quite a while, in a TWSBI pen that leaves a wet line. Parker roller ball was the same. Writing very slowly it was a little more apparent from the other side, but not what I would call bleed through. The dot grid is a bit darker than Leuchtturm1917, which was off putting at first but now I’m over it.
$20 for 12 books, 720 pages, or about 1/3 the price of Leuchtturm1917 large notebooks. No pocket, no page numbers, no index, no perforations, no silly promise about rewards.