I wanted to do a review of a couple of notebooks I’ve received (as gifts, not for reviews), but as one is a Paperblanks notebook it seemed a bit daft to do a full review – we all know that their paper is wonderful! So, I thought that I would do a side by side comparison instead, between two very similar notebooks – a Paperblanks notebook and a TeNeues notebook. The question we’re really asking is, which is better as a luxury hardback notebook?
Both designs have a “historical” feel to them – TeNeues do a range with old books on the front and Paperblanks do their range of old binding covers. The first major point of difference here is that Paperblank notebooks carry their design all the way around the cover (front, back and spine), where as the TeNeues design is only on the front of the notebook. The back is plain and the spine – *shock horror* – has writing on it. This really annoys me, does it annoy you too?! Why would I want a notebook which says “Antique books” on the side (the name of the design)? I don’t get it! Paperblanks get double points for not only not ruining their cover, but also because they don’t put any branding on the outside of the notebook. There is nothing to ruin the aesthetics.
Both brands do notebooks with magnetic flap closures, which I quite like for notebooks I’m not intending to add things to. They tend not to work if you stuff your notebooks full of ephemera. The Paperblank magnetic flaps are wider, but the magnets in the TeNeues notebook are stronger, so there’s not much between them here.
Inside, both notebooks have a ribbon and an envelope at the back. The inside cover paper is quite waxy in the TeNeues notebook, whereas the Paperblanks inside covers have a more porous feel to them. If you write on the inside covers of your notebook this is something to bear in mind, as water-based inks will bead in the TeNeues.
With regards to paper performance, there are some key differences between the notebooks. Paperblanks, as previously mentioned, use excellent paper in their notebooks. There’s very little show-through with most inks (except of course the Sharpie), no bleeding and no feathering. It’s a paper that is perfect for fountain pens. If you were judging on sight and touch alone, you would think TeNeues would be similar, but it’s a poorer performer when handling fountain pens. There is show-through, and some feathering – even with an extra fine nib. There are also tiny spots of bleeding.
Personally, I don’t really feel there’s any competition between the two – Paperblanks are the much better option. Really, I can only see myself buying TeNeues if I fell in love with a cover design. But then I might be annoyed with myself afterwards for compromising on quality!