Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Bags of Love A5 Custom Notebook - Blank

You may have seen reviews at From The Pen Cup and No Pen Intended of custom notebooks from Bags of Love. Here I am with a review of this nifty notebook - with the same insides but totally different covers. Thank you to Claire at Bags of Love for making this review possible!
 Bags of Love A5 Notebook
ABOUT

Size: A5
Color: Ivory-Cream
Ruling: Blank
Sheet Count: 75
Price: $22.95 (current promo: buy 2, get 1 free)
Where to buy: Bags of Love

APPEARANCE

The Bags of Love notebook I selected was the A5 size. The process to select and place your pictures is very easy and everything is done through the Bags of Love website. The notebook has softback covers that feature glossy images of your choice. The notebook is bound like a paperback. Inside, the pages are surprisingly thick and heavy. They're ivory-cream in color - not very cream but not more ivory than just off-white.

On the front, I placed a picture of a TWSBI Diamond 580 fountain pen (inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku, if you must know!), on a white background. I selected this because I wanted to see what kind of contrast could be printed. It's quite decent - lines are distinct and there is a good gradient of color.
Bags of Love A5 Notebook
On the back, I placed a picture of a Midori Traveler's Notebook STAR edition close up, sitting on top a Midori Traveler's Notebook in brown. I selected this picture to see what kind of detail could be printed close up and I am happy to see it printed well.
Bags of Love A5 Notebook
PERFORMANCE & FEEL

The notebook feels nice in hand - I LOVE the feeling of paperbacks in hand and this notebook looks and feels like a paperback book. The concern with this is the spine breaks pretty easily, especially when you're writing in it and getting into the middle of the book and have to break the spine to get to the inside of the pages. The second page of the notebook has split from the binding ever so slightly. It's still held in place by the other pages. That being said, I have been quite rough with the notebook in an attempt to push it to its limit. I think with typical/normal use, most users would be fine. 

Let's get to this great paper! I am thrilled to report to you that this paper is pretty fantastic. It handles pencils, ballpoints, and gel pens like a pro.
Bags of Love A5 Notebook Writing Sample
Even better? It takes fountain pen ink like a pro as well. Writing on this paper with fountain pens is a nice experience - it offers a little bit of feedback which I like with certain pens. There is minimal show through, no bleed through, and no feathering, even with wet pens. Drying time is fast because there is no coating on the paper.
Bags of Love A5 Notebook Writing Sample
Bags of Love A5 Notebook Writing Sample Back of Page
That blob of pink up top there is smearing from another page.
PROS
  • Customizable with your own pictures!
  • Available in A5 and A6 sizes.
  • Good quality printing of photos on covers. 
  • Thick, glossy covers.
  • Fountain pen friendly paper.
Bags of Love A5 Notebook Writing Sample
CONS  
  • Only available in blank. 
  • Only available with ivory-cream colored paper.
  • Spine will break and wear like a paperback book does.
  • Once you bend the cover back, it doesn't want to stay flat ever again. (Just like a paperback.)
OVERALL 

Often, novelty-type notebooks are so-so quality with sub par paper in them. This is not the case with the Bags of Love customizable notebook! They are pretty awesome notebooks with good quality paper that would make pretty awesome gifts for folks in your life since you can make them very personal!

Bags of Love provided this notebook to me free of charge to review. I was not compensated monetarily for this review. All opinions here are my own. 

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