Monday, September 28th, 2009

User Review: Bill from the FPN compares the Webbie to several similar journals

Stephanie

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Gratuitous photo of packaging, pages, and Visconti Van Gogh Cappuccino.

Bill was gracious in allowing us to use his review of the small Webnotebook and images he had posted to the Fountain Pen Network. Thank you Bill for your detailed review and most excellent photos of the Webnotebook and its peers.  We always appreciate honest reviews of our products and we want you to know that they are reviewed by the powers that be.

1. The paper is not a disappointment. A light ivory color, it is smooth and resistant to bleed-through, certainly better than all the notebooks shown here. No surprise if you have used Clairefontaine and Rhodia papers before. Black ‘n Red will give it a run, but I’m not aware of a hard-cover in this form factor in the A6 size.

2. Because the paper is not as absorbent as that in Moleskines, the drying time is much longer. No big deal except for point #3.

3. The darned thing wouldn’t lay flat and actually would close it on it’s own. That resulted in undried ink getting blottered on the opposing page. I wrestled it a bit, even bending the covers back toward themselves to minimize the effect.

4. The height and width dimensions are the same as the Moleskine and Markings, however the notebook is thicker. A rough check with calipers showed that it is about 3-4mm thicker than a standard Moleskine overall and more than 2mm thicker without the covers. It is actually about 2m thicker than a Moleskine City Book. See comparison photo.

5. Color: Yep, orangy orange. They do make it in black, too.  While I do use black notebooks, particularly for travel and work application, I sometimes like colors for specific purposes, such as car gas/maintenance logs to match the car, a different bright color cycling log for each year, gray for the camera bag notebook (photographers would understand), and so forth.

6. Availability: I checked the area Rhodia dealers without luck, then checked online. The best deal for me was at JetPens; pack of two with free shipping, USPS Priority, no less. The box was at my door less than 72 hours after hitting the pay button.

I am curious about the A5 size, which I use nearly as much as the A6 versions shown here.

All notebooks selected for the photos have been well used except for the Rhodia and the Markings (terrible paper). The clipped corners on the Moleskine City Book is not a defect. I do it often for notebooks where I have to refer back to certain sections. Also, I believe the Barnes & Noble clones are no longer available. They had nice white paper, came in a variety of colors, were cheap, and caused me to stockpile them for a while.  *Note: Barnes & Noble no longer offers the clone in the photos and now is marketing a wider line called Ecosystem

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Left to right: Rhodia Webnotebook (orange); Moleskine (red); Barnes & Noble clone (yellow); Markings (faux leather); Readables Naturals (green).

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Top to bottom: Rhodia Webnotebook (orange), Moleskine City Book (black); regular Moleskine (red); Markings (faux leather); Barnes & Noble clone (yellow); Readables Naturals (green).

12 thoughts on “User Review: Bill from the FPN compares the Webbie to several similar journals

  1. As a bookbinder, although I love the Rhodia Webnotebook, I have to admit I like the way the Moleskine lays open better. That is the ONLY way it is better. The problem is that the signatures of the Webbie are too thick. I know it’s more expensive to use fewer sheets per signature (because it requires more sewing) but its worth the effort. Secondly, the glue used on the spine is terrible! It is basically hot-melt glue like they use in those hot glue-guns for crafts. When it cools it’s thick, hard plastic. That’s why, in Bill’s words, “the darn thing wouldn’t lay flat” Instead, use a thin layer of flexible polyvinyl white glue. Take care of those two minor adjustments and you’ll have a nicely opening book. And you will have, far and away, the best of the best!

  2. As a bookbinder, although I love the Rhodia Webnotebook, I have to admit I like the way the Moleskine lays open better. That is the ONLY way it is better. The problem is that the signatures of the Webbie are too thick. I know it’s more expensive to use fewer sheets per signature (because it requires more sewing) but its worth the effort. Secondly, the glue used on the spine is terrible! It is basically hot-melt glue like they use in those hot glue-guns for crafts. When it cools it’s thick, hard plastic. That’s why, in Bill’s words, “the darn thing wouldn’t lay flat” Instead, use a thin layer of flexible polyvinyl white glue. Take care of those two minor adjustments and you’ll have a nicely opening book. And you will have, far and away, the best of the best!

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