I’ve never been a big fan of soft covered notebooks. They’re just a little too flimsy for me, and I like to use my books and/or notebooks as a supportive “wall” in my bags so they have some kind of structure (yeah, I know, shush). I wouldn’t go out and buy one of them myself, but thanks to the good folks at Notemaker, I’ve been able to get my hands on a soft covered Moleskine, and an A4, ruled, Clairefontaine notebook.
I’ve always been a big fan of Moleskines, so I was used to the paper and its absorbency (especially for fountain pens, which is what I’m using primarily for hand writing). I also didn’t realise how much I’ve relied on the elastic strap and the ribbon to keep all my affairs in order. They seem like little, nitpicky things, but you do miss them when you have used them for so long.
That being said, I do like the Clairefontaine. The paper is easy to write on, and it doesn’t bleed ink – which is an automatic plus. In addition to not buying soft covered notebooks, I don’t really buy A4 notebooks either. I like the compact nature of A5-ish notebooks, and they seem to have served me well for the time being. But after using this for a couple of days, I think I could easily make the switch to A4. It fit nicely into most of my bags – I just had to be careful of it sticking out of some of my smaller bags, especially when it was raining.
Both these notebooks are ruled, too – again, not a choice I would personally make. My writing is quite small, so I like the gridded/dotted or blank notebooks. It means I don’t have to stick to a mandated set of lines for a page, but I know that people don’t have teeny tiny writing like mine! It is probably also helpful for people who are bad at writing straight on blank pages (which I used to be when I was younger, but that seems to have changed now!?)
In conclusion, I don’t mind the soft covers or the ruled lines. Softer covered notebooks are probably lighter, so they’re good for people who have a lot to carry, or people who need more space in their bags for other things. I’m sticking to my hard covered notebooks for now, but I might start seeing if A4 notebooks are something I’d be interested in carting around on a regular basis.