Friday, 3 May 2019

B5 bonanza!

There aren't all that many places that sell B5 (at least, not in the UK) and those B5 notebooks that are reasonably easy to get (via eBay or Amazon) are often poor quality. These ones are okay, but just don't play nicely with fountain pen.

Well, despite the fact I'm deep into editing the fantasy trilogy I've been writing for a few years (hopefully published later this year... watch this space! Or watch my author website - I'm more likely to talk about it all there!), the next book is giving me the occasional poke. And so (naturally) I start thinking about new notebooks.

I've been through a variety of notebook sizes while writing (and even dabbled with a writing Filofax at one point, which didn't work out anything like as well as I hoped it would). But at the moment, I've settled on B5 as a good size for me. Partway between A5 and A4, it offers a decent amount of real-estate without taking up the entirety of my desk when lying open. I've also renovated an old Filofax Deskfax into a B5 traveller's notebook (to use as a writing TN).

This week was National Stationery Week and The Journal Shop did a site-wide 15% off. They sell quite a few B5 books, most of them Japanese and therefore amazing paper and so I treated myself to a small (ahem) selection.

The haul:
1x Life Kappan Note
2x Tsubame Notebooks
3x Penco Hightide Notebooks (purple, black, pink)

How do they compare and contrast?

Cost per page (I've listed the full price at The Journal Shop; other retailers may sell them for less - if so, let me know?):
Life Kappan: £8.99/80 pages (sides) = 11.23p/side
Penco Hightide: £3.99/60 pages (sides) = 6.65p/side
Tsubame Note Book £3.99/60 pages (sides) = 6.65p/side

You don't need to be hugely observant to spot that a) the Life Kappan is almost twice as much per page as the other two, and b) the other two are the same price.

So what are the other differences?

Line spacing; top and bottom margins:
Life Kappan: top margin = 25 mm, bottom margin = 23 mm, line spacing = 7 mm, lines/page = 30
Penco Hightide: top margin = 20 mm, bottom margin = 14 mm, line spacing = 7 mm, lines/page = 31
Tsubame Note Book: top margin = 23 mm, bottom margin = 18 mm, line spacing = 7.5 mm, lines/page = 28

Life Kappan page
Penco Hightide page
Life Tsubame page

Table of Contents?
Life Kappan: No
Penco Hightide: Yes
Tsubame Note Book: No

Table of Contents page in Penco Hightide

Marks on the margins:
Life Kappan: Yes - small triangles, 10 mm spacing
Penco Hightide: No
Tsubame Note Book: Yes - small dashes, distinct from the line, 10.35 mm spacing

Life Kappan marks
Tsubame marks
I'm not going to do pen-tests on these, as I've bought them in the past and they have great paper!

So, which is the 'best'? Well, for value for money, I would say that the Penco or the Tsubame are, as the price per page is about half that of the other (Life Kappan). Of the two, Penco has more lines per page and a table of contents page, so they probably win out, but only by a slim margin. There are no margin marks, but unless you do a lot of tables in your notebooks (or have other reasons you want to draw straight vertical lines) then it's probably not a deal-breaker.

What will I be using them for? Plotting and planning the next book, of course!

No comments:

Post a Comment