A month ago, I started a big notebooks play-off. You can see that original post here. Last time, I pitted a Clairefontaine Deco notebook against a Poach My Lobster one. This time, it's the turn of the Midori A5 notebook against a Palomino Medium Luxury notebook.
Midori A5 notebook
I've had a number of these over the years and I really like them.
These Notebooks are created using traditional thread stitched book binding methods, which ensures the notebook opens evenly and is highly durable. MD Notebooks don’t have a cover. This is because Midori thinks this would impact on the comfort of writing, making them harder to open and make the pages looser. With only cheesecloth reinforcing the spine, these notebooks are supple and open easily.
While the description says that these notebooks don't have a cover, that's not strictly true. At the front and at the back are sturdy pieces of card, joined together and to the paper by glued cheesecloth, which also holds a ribbon marker in place. Wrapped around the whole book is waxed paper. The waxed paper is not terribly robust, but the notebooks themselves will withstand some rough handling in a bag, so don't let the 'no cover' claim put you off.
Inside, there are 176 pages and the book is a true A5 size. The pages have a more solid line halfway down (in the lined version). I'm not entirely sure why and I don't especially make any distinction between the top half of the page and the bottom when I write in them, but, there it is. Line spacing is a comfortable (for me) 7mm.
The paper! It's beautiful to write on and is very fountain pen friendly! No feathering, not much show-through and no bleed-through. It's equally good for those of you who prefer graphite. I don't really ever write in biro, but since the paper handles fountain pens and pencils superbly, I can't imagine why it wouldn't be happy with a ballpoint.
Flattability... the sewn nature means that the book will lie flat without needing any 'training' (i.e. brute force).
I'm struggling, really. The cover could be a bit more robust, I suppose, and there's no pen-loop or back pocket or page numbering etc., for those who worry about these things. They do come with a set of labels, though. But for me, it's a lovely notebook that performs well at what I need it for - making notes in!
Palomino Medium Luxury Notebook
I think this needs a name change. It's not the luxury that's medium, it's the size!
These were new to me. I'd not heard of them before.
The paper is fairly fountain pen friendly. There's no feathering or bleed-through and very limited show-through, even when I brought the big beasts out (Conklin Durograph and Rosetta Mosaic, both with 1.1mm stub nibs).
The cover is sturdy and there's a classy look to the book. You would be able to produce this at a high-powered meeting and not draw any looks (beyond those from plebs who still think typing notes in meetings is the right thing to do).
Flattability... the construction of the notebook means that flattability is poor. It would need 'training' to lie flat. The spine is tightly glued/bound and so writing in the centre pages will involve leaning quite hard on the book.
The paper... I'm sad to say that, although the paper copes admirably with fountain pens, I didn't actually enjoy writing on it hugely. It had a slight scratch to the paper and drying time was long enough to need to carry blotting paper with you if you use a wet nib/ink combo. I'm also not a fan of vinyl/synthetic covers. There's too much plastic in the world already and there are plenty of things to make covers from without needing to use plastic-based, non-biodegradable stuff.
You can probably tell who the winner is! For me, it's the Midori, for the feel of the paper and the flattability. If I was worried about the fragility of the cover, since it's a true A5, I have plenty of leather notebook covers I could slot it into for protection.
Next time, it's the Waverley v The Alwych