Monday, October 8, 2018

The Author Tomoe River Notebook Review by GLP Creations

Thank you to Gavin and GLP Creations for sending this notebook for a review! GLP Creations is a company based in the UK and The Author notebook was created when Gavin couldn't find just the right Tomoe River notebook. We hear ya, Gavin. 
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ABOUT

Size: ~ A5 (Slim)
Page Count: 192
Paper Weight: 68 gsm
Paper Type: Tomoe River
Ruling: Dot Grid & Lined
Price: $27.99 USD

PACKAGING & PRESENTATION

The Author notebook is presented in a plastic sleeve and a paper belly band that provides some information about the notebook itself. It's very simple, which I like, and less packaging helps keep the price down. I would prefer to see the plastic sleeve replaced by paper or something compostable. 
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APPEARANCE

The notebook is simple but I like that design. The cover is black with a slightly pebbled texture to it, rounded edges, orange highlights, a grey satin bookmark, a black elastic closure on the back cover, a black pocket on the inside back cover, the GLP Creations logo on the back, and paper that is slightly smaller than the covers. I like the rounded spine and rounded corners a lot. It looks classy and can easily pass for a business/work notebook, as well as an at-home and ink play notebook.
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The end pages are not Tomoe River and they are glued to the cover very securely. It is clean and there are no lumps or bubbles to make it look poorly assembled.
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The paper inside is not bright white, but it is not cream. It's just an off-white that is easy on the eyes. The lines are dotted but quite thick and grey, and the dots are also quite thick. To my eyes, it's a little visually disturbing, especially when writing. I like the dot grid notebook the most. The numbers are on the bottom corners of each page - out of the way and quick to see when you're flipping.
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PERFORMANCE & FEEL

The faux leather cover is light and flexible. It extends past the pages inside just a little so it offers protection under average circumstances (like being put in a bag but perhaps not being thrown around like a football), and it helps keep it light overall. The cover material is of a higher quality than just cardstock and it provides more protection. I have carried it intensely and it does hold up really well to wear and tear. I have actually scratched it to see if it would get damaged and it doesn't change so it'll look good even if it jams up against your keys or keychains.
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It's a portable, convenient size. I love A5 and I also really like the "Slim" concept to notebooks so it's a nice combination. More size options would be ideal because A5 Slim doesn't work for everyone.
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The notebook opens easily and lies flat, which makes it easy to write on all parts of the page. End to end! It is comfortable to write in because my hand does not hang over the edges. As such, in actual use, the notebook is great.
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The satin bookmark started fraying very quickly, within the first week of use. I expect it'll continue to fray so I'll keep it trimmed or cut it off entirely because I don't care for bookmarks much. The back pocket on the back cover is nice and flat so it does not feel lumpy to write on, but I don't use it either.
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Tomoe River really stands out when you use fountain pens but markers, pencils, gel pens, roller balls, and ballpoints can be used as well. You're not going to experience a writing experience that will have you coming back for more unless you love the feeling of pressed-on-from-ballpoint-pen-tips Tomoe River. To be honest, this is something I enjoy quite a bit, but if you really want to enjoy and experience the paper in all its glory, use fountain pens.
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Tomoe River paper is no joke. It's delicious. The writing experience you get with fountain pens - especially wet, broad writers - is divine and once you get used to the pleasant experience, it'll be hard to go back to regular paper. The 68 gsm paper is not as thin as the 52 gsm Tomoe River, so it offers more resistance to ghosting, show through, and bleed through. It also feels and sounds less crinkly, even when written on. Drying times are on the longer side because the ink sits on the page's coating longer. It's totally worth it because inks will show off more shading and sheen (if available), and colors tend to stand out more. It's eye candy and hand candy. 
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PROS
  • Definitely fountain pen friendly! Tomoe River is one of my favourite papers for fountain pens (and in general, in fact). Lots of shading, sheen, smooth writing, and an overall pleasant look and feel.
  • The notebook is not too thick, which makes it easy to write from end to end and all the way to the bottom of the page without your hand hanging off a cliff. 
  • Available in dot-grid, which I love.
  • Portable size. Convenient and robust enough to handle being shoved in a bag. 
  • Elastic closure. 
  • The faux leather cover looks and feels good, and keeps the notebook more affordable. This is especially great if you go through a lot of notebooks!
  • Rear pocket and bookmark, if that's your thing.
  • Comes with a blotting sheet. Tomoe River comes with longer drying times but if you're on the go and need to close your notebook quickly, you can pop your blotting sheet on there. 
  • Paper has slightly rounded corners, which I like more than sharp edges. 
  • The notebook is well-made - attention to detail is clear with the tight binding and endpapers glued properly to the covers. 
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CONS
  • Tomoe River paper has longer drying times than the average paper.
  • Bookmark frayed quickly so it was rather useless from the start.
  • The main issue for me is that it is relatively expensive. 192 pages is a lot and Tomoe River is delicious, but for comparison:
    • The Author - 192 pages - A5 Slim - 68 gsm - $27.99 - $0.14/page
    • Nanami Paper Seven Seas - 480 pages - A5 - 52 gsm - $26.00 - $0.05/page
    • Kokuyo Idea - 2 x 80 pages - A5 Slim - 52 gsm - $11.30 - $0.07/page
    • Hippo Noto - 500 pages - A5 - 68 gsm - $40.00 - $0.08/page
    • Goulet Notebook - 64 pages - A5 - 68 gsm - $8.00 - $0.125/page
    • Goulet Notebook - 96 pages - A5 - 52 gsm - $9.00 - $0.09/page
    • More on this in the next section.
OVERALL

First things first: the notebook is well-made and put together nicely. The bookmark is the only thing that is falling apart. I love the size - A5 Slim is actually really convenient and portable, the flexible cover is great and does not feel bulky, and obviously Tomoe River paper is super fountain pen friendly.

I talked to Gavin about the price and why it's relatively high. Here are a few features that add to the cost: table of contents, numbered pages, cover material, bookmark, elastic closure, pocket on the back. It's not just a paper cover with plain Tomoe River inside and no other features. Some of the notebooks I compared to have some of these features, but not all do, and not all have all these features. If you need features like a table of contents and a thinner, lighter notebook (but not too thin), it is easily an option. If you want something super simple, then $27.99 for a notebook might not make sense for you. If you are looking for Tomoe River paper but in a notebook that will hold up well to use and not feel bulky in your bag, The Author is pretty solid. Given how fast I go through paper, I'm not sure this would be a sustainable option for myself but it would be nice as a notebook for special occasions. I think it would make a great gift or a treat for oneself.

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This notebook was sent to me at no charge for the purposes of this review. This is a sponsored post. I was compensated for my time and effort in conducting this review. I have done my absolute best to remain as unbiased as possible and present you with a fair and honest review. There are no affiliate links in this post.

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