8 of the best notebooks for fountain pen users

by Stuart Lennon

Life is one of the best notebooks for fountain pens

Every day, people are discovering, or rediscovering, the joy of writing something down with a real pen on real paper. But what are the best notebooks for fountain pen users?

Fountain Pen users are a pernickety lot (I certainly am). Ask ten fountain pen users to rank five inks in order of preference, and you’ll get ten different answers.

What should you look for when choosing a notebook for fountain pens?

In notebooks, some love toothy paper, some love smooth paper. Some want light, some want heavy.

That said, there are some notebooks that really don’t cope with fountain pens very well. Certain papers absorb the ink, making the writing difficult to read and the reverse of the page unusable.

From time to time I get enquiries through the site: 

“What is the best notebook for fountain pen users?” 

The only true answer is 

“Whichever one you enjoy the most.” 

Trial and error may not be the quickest way to find YOUR best notebook for fountain pens, but it is a lot of fun. Much will depend upon your personal preferences, the nib you use, the inks you use and your own writing style – but read on for a few, in no particular order, that you might want to try first. 

The best notebooks for fountain pens

1. Public Supply, New York

I had to start with an American book. There is a myth that American books can’t be used with fountain pens. The myth is a myth. These excellent notebooks come in several rulings and several colours. Stitched binding, FSC certified paper. 

yellow public supply notebooks for fountain pens

2. Calepino

If one is seeking good paper, France is a good place to start. Calepino produce an excellent range of notebooks. They are staple-bound, hardy notebooks from Rennes that will handle most of what a fountain pen user might throw at it.

calepino notebooks for fountain pen users

3. Life

Continuing our world tour, we now arrive in Japan. Japanese paper is special. It just is. Often quite lightweight, it nevertheless holds ink well and is nearly always very smooth. A delicate, neat notebook.

pistachio life notebook for fountain pen

4. Story Supply. Pennsylvania

Yep. Another book from the USA. Cracking paper, staple bound in an elegant blue cover. Effortlessly good with fountain pens. 

story supply notebooks for fountain pens

5. Clairefontaine

Back to France. Beautiful paper, in a variety of bindings and covers. Clairefontaine have been making fountain pen friendly notebooks long before anybody thought of looking for them.

clairefontaine notebooks for ink

6. Curnow

Seriously. A third brand from the States. The Backpocket Journal is produced in California by Steve of Curnow Bookbinding and Leatherwork. Hand stitched HP paper. An extension of the line is the Tomoe River version. Tomoe River is very lightweight Japanese paper, thought by many to be the ultimate paper for fountain pens.

curnow notebooks best for fountain pens

7. Backpocket SpaceX

Made in England. 120 gsm cross grid paper. Proper. Incredibly distinctive, well-made, staple-bound pocket notebooks. 

spacex notebooks for fountain pen ink

8. Black Space and Nomad by Darkstar Collection

Another British offering. Hand-finished in Wales. Cross grid. Books that were a long time in the making and perform beautifully with any pen and any ink. 

dark star notebook for fountain pens

These eight are some of my favourites – what are your best notebooks for fountain pens?