fountain pen friendly notebooks in a pile

Fountain Pen Friendly Notebooks – A Big Roundup

John Bosley Paper 15 Comments

If you’re looking for fountain pen friendly notebooks, the choices can be pretty overwhelming. I’m not just talking about options like lined versus grid paper. I’m talking about the sheer number of manufacturers who are making amazing notebooks these days. And it’s not just one per manufacturer! Some companies like Life have many different options available. How are you supposed to choose which one will work best for your needs?

I am a bit of a paper junkie, so I’ve accumulated quite a few notebooks in my time. I’ll be trying each one out and letting you know what I think about it. There will be some widely available notebooks in this list, but there will be a few others that might be a little more obscure or harder to find as well.

On this site you’ll find reviews for each notebook I’ve been able to get my hands on. This post will have a bit of general info about each notebook with a link to the full review. I’ll also share some thoughts on notebooks I haven’t posted a full review for yet. At the end of the article you can find a list of all of the notebooks I’ve reviewed so far, along with a link for where you can purchase it. Notebooks will be listed alphabetically. I hope you find this helpful in choosing your next fountain pen friendly notebook!

If you’re more interested in paper than the actual notebook details, you might want to check out my paper rating table that has specific information about each different paper I’ve tested.

Updated 10/12/2020: When I originally wrote this post I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write a blog post for every notebook I tested. It turns out that for the most part I was able to, so I’ve updated this to be a bigger roundup that points to the full review and fewer mini-reviews.

Note: For the purposes of this article, a notebook is either regular or spiral bound book of blank, lined or grid paper. This means no notepads with perforated sheets of paper or journals or planners with printed dates on each page.

To jump directly to a specific notebook, please click on any link below:
Apica CD15
Apica Premium C.D.
Baron Fig Vanguard
Berlin Notebook
Black n’ Red
Clairefontaine Basic
CVS Caliber
Fabriano EcoQua
Elia Note
Exceed Bullet Journal
Graphilo
Itoya Romeo
Kokuyo Campus
Kokuyo Century Edition
Kyokuto Expedient
Leuchtturm 1917
Life Noble Note
Life Schöpfer
Life Pistachio/Vermilion
Logical Prime
Maruman Cover Note
Maruman Mnemosyne
Midori MD Cotton
Midori MD
Minimalism Art
North of Rosemont
Pebble Stationery
Pen Chalet Endless Recorder
Profolio Oasis
SohoSpark Journal
Stálogy Notebook
Taroko Enigma
Tsubame Note
Wild Pages
Yoseka Notebook

Apica CD11/CD15

Pages: 68 (34 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 81.4gsm
Page Style: Lined
Size: A5, B5, A7, B7
Apica CD15 Notebook Review

Apica CD15 fountain pen friendly notebook

Apica Premium C.D.

Pages: 192 (96 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 86.5gsm
Page Style: Lined, Blank, Grid
Size: A4, A5, B5
Apica Premium C.D. Notebook Review

apica premium cd fountain pen notebook

Baron Fig Vanguard

Pages: 72 (36 sheets)
Paper Weight: 90gsm
Binding: Stitch
Page Style: Lined (7mm), Dot (5mm), Blank
Size: 3 sizes – Pocket, Vanguard (slightly smaller than A5) and Plus
Baron Fig Vanguard Notebook Review

Baron Fig Vanguard Notebook Review 3 pack

Berlin Notebook

Pages: 48 (24 sheets)
Binding: Staple
Paper Weight: 100gsm
Page Style: Blank
Size: A6
Berlin Notebook Review

berlin notebook fountain pen friendly paper with pelikan pen

Black n’ Red

Pages: 140 (70 sheets)
Binding: Spiral
Paper Weight: 90gsm (24lb)
Page Style: Lined
Size: 8.25″x5.88″ (A5)
Black n’ Red Notebook Review

black n red spiral notebook review fountain pen friendly paper

Clairefontaine Basic Notebook

Pages: 192 (96 sheets)
Binding: Glue
Paper Weight: 90gsm
Page Style: Lined – 8mm, Dot – 5mm
Size: A5, A4
Clairefontaine Basic Notebook Review

Clairefontaine basics clothbound notebook review cover

CVS Caliber Notebook

Pages: 200 (100 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: I don’t know, but if I had to guess I’d say around 70gsm
Page Style: Lined
Size: Approximately B5
CVS Caliber Composition Book Review

CVS Caliber Notebook Review cover

Fabriano EcoQua

Sheets: 38-80
Binding: Glue, Coil, Staple
Paper Weight: 85gsm
Page Style: Blank, Grid, Lined, Dot
Size: Many
Fabriano EcoQua Notebook Review

fountain pen friendly notebooks fabriano eco qua

Elia Note Notebook

Pages: 496 (248 sheets)
Binding: Stitched (smyth-sewn)
Paper Weight: 52gsm
Page Style: Lined, Dot, Blank
Size: A5
Elia Note Notebook Review

Elia Note notebook review tomoe river paper storage case

Exceed Bullet Journal

Pages: 240 (120 sheets), not counting index pages
Binding: Stitched
Paper Weight: 100gsm
Page Style: Lined, Dot
Size: A5
Exceed Bullet Journal

Figurare

Pages: 160 (80 sheets)
Binding: Spiral
Paper Weight: Unknown, but maybe around 80gsm?
Page Style: Lined
Size: A5, B5
Figurare Notebook Review

figurare notebook cover with Parker Vacumatic fountain pen

Graphilo

Pages: 64 (32 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 90gsm?
Page Style: Lined, Grid, Blank
Size: A5
Graphilo Notebook Review

Graphilo Notebook review cover

Itoya Romeo

Pages: 140 (70 sheets)
Binding: Spiral
Paper Weight: 109.2gsm
Page Style: Lined, Dot, Blank
Size: A4, A5, B5, B6
Itoya Romeo Notebook Review

Itoya Romeo Notebook Review cover

Kokuyo Campus

Pages: 75 pages, 150 sheets (including contents page)
Binding: Glue
Paper Weight: 70gsm
Page Style: Lined
Size: A5, B5
Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review cover

Kokuyo Century Edition

Pages: 140 (70 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 100gsm
Page Style: Lined, Grid
Size: A5
Kokuyo Century Edition Notebook Review

Kokuyo Century Edition Notebook review

Kyokuto Expedient

Pages: 160, 80 sheets
Binding: Spiral
Paper Weight: 81.4gsm
Page Style: Lined, Dot, Blank
Size: A5, B5
Kyokuto Expedient Notebook Review

Kyokuto Expedient Notebook with Parker Vacumatic fountain pen

Leuchtturm 1917

Pages: 242 (121 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 80gsm
Page Style: Lined, Dot, Blank
Size: A5, B5
Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook Review

Fountain Pen Paper Sample Pack leuchtturm1917

Life Noble Note

Pages: 200 (100 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 84.9gsm
Page Style: Lined, Blank, Grid
Size: A4, A5
Life Noble Notebook Review

Life noble notebook fountain pen friendly paper

Life Schöpfer

Pages: 40
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 82gsm
Page Style: Lined, Blank, Grid
Size: A5, B5

life schopfer notebook fountain pen friendly notebook

Life Schöpfer notebook – Basically a Life Noble notebook, but with fewer pages.

The Life Schöpfer notebook is very similar to the Noble notebook, only with fewer pages. These notebooks will lay flat when opened, but you’ll need to use the notebook for a bit before it will stay open on its own. I have not experienced any feathering or bleeding and the paper has low to medium ghosting.

This paper is very smooth and is wonderful to write on. From what I can tell, it is the exact same paper that is used in the Noble notebooks. If you’re a fan of sheen, you’ll be a big fan of Life paper. While it doesn’t quite show as much sheen as Tomoe River, it shows more than most other papers on the market. It also shows a lot of shading for inks that shade. Similar to the Noble notebooks, the paper is only available in cream.

In my opinion, the Life Schöpfer notebooks are a good value. While the actual notebook price is significantly cheaper than a Noble notebook, the cost per sheet is much higher. Still, if you want a slim notebook with amazing paper, the Life Schöpfer would be a great choice.

Life Pistachio/Vermilion

Pages: 32
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 82gsm
Page Style: Lined, Grid
Size: A6, B6

life pistachio notebook fountain pen friendly paper

Life Pistachio Notebook – A smaller notebook filled with amazing paper.

These Life Pistachio or Vermilion notebooks are similar to the Noble and Schöpfer notebooks, only smaller, making them the perfect size for a pocket, planner or bag. These notebooks lay flat when opened, but you’ll need to use the notebook for a bit before it will stay open on its own. I have not experienced any feathering or bleeding and the paper has low to medium ghosting.

This paper is very smooth and is wonderful to write on. From what I can tell, it is the exact same paper that is used in the Noble notebooks. If you’re a fan of sheen, you’ll be a big fan of Life paper. While it doesn’t quite show as much sheen as Tomoe River, it shows more than most other papers on the market. It also shows a lot of shading for inks that shade. The paper colors that are available match the color in the descriptions. The Pistachio notebooks have light green lines and a very lightly green-tinted paper. The Vermilion notebooks have red lines and orange/cream-tinted paper.

In my opinion, the Life Pistachio and Vermilion notebooks are a good value, especially if you’re looking for a small notebook. If you want to try out Life paper without investing in a Noble notebook, these are a great place to start. The paper is of the highest quality and the notebook construction is simple, sturdy and useful.

Logical Prime

Pages: 80 (40 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: ~80gsm
Page Style: Lined, Grid, Dot
Size: A5, B5
Logical Prime Notebook Review

Logical prime notebook review cover

Maruman Cover Note

Pages: 172 (88 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 78gsm
Page Style: Lined
Size: A5, A6, B7

fountain pen friendly notebooks maruman cover note

Maruman Cover Note – My daily use notebook for planning. The paper bleeds too much for use with fountain pens.

I started using this Maruman Cover Note notebook as my daily planner at the beginning of 2018. After writing in it almost every day for a few months, I have to say that I am disappointed in the quality of the paper when used with fountain pens. I initially had high hopes for it, as Maruman typically has good paper quality and the paper felt very smooth.

The notebook is well made and I think the stitch binding will stand up to a lot of use. The stitch binding also allows it to lay flat, which is always a good quality for a notebook to have. It has two ribbon page markers, which I have found to be useful when using this notebook as a planner. The paper is actually very nice to write on. It is very smooth, has dark grey lines and a nice ivory color. It has decent shading, but only shows a bit of sheen on the strongest sheening inks.

I don’t think that I have experienced any feathering with this notebook. It also has low to medium ghosting. The thing that really lets this notebook down is the amount the paper bleeds. With normal writing and a variety of nibs and inks, I would say that over 75% have bled through the page, making writing on the reverse side almost impossible. Of course, if you only want to write on one side of a page, this won’t really be an issue for you since I haven’t had any writing bleed through onto the following page.

While this notebook has some good things going for it, I would not recommend it to anyone who wants to write in it with fountain pens. Not only do most pens and inks bleed through the paper, but it also fails to show any sheen for most inks. There are definitely better fountain pen friendly notebook options out there. For full product details, check out the product page on the Maruman website.

Maruman Mnemosyne

Pages: 70-80 (35-40 sheets)
Binding: Spiral
Paper Weight: 80gsm
Page Style: Lined, Grid, Blank
Size: A4, A5, A6, B5, B6
Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook Review

Fountain Pen Paper Sample Pack mnemosyne

Midori MD Cotton

Pages: 176 (88 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 68gsm?
Page Style: Blank, Lined or Grid
Size: A4, A5, A6
Midori MD Cotton Notebook Review

Midori MD Cotton Notebook retail packaging

Midori MD

Pages: 176 (88 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 68gsm?
Page Style: Blank, Lined or Grid
Size: A4, A5, A6, B6
Midori MD Notebook Review

fountain pen friendly notebooks Midori MD

Minimalism Art

Pages: 192 pages (96 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 100gsm
Page Style: Blank, Lined, Dot or Grid
Size: A4, A5, B5, B6
Minimalism Art Notebook Review

Minimalism Art Notebook Review Cover

North of Rosemont

Pages: 48 (24 sheets)
Binding: Staple
Paper Weight: 104gsm
Page Style: Dot (cross-style)
Size: 4″x5.75″ (approximately A6)
North of Rosemont Notebook Review

North of Rosemont notebook review front cover

Pebble Stationery

Pages: 120 (60 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 52gsm
Page Style: Dot
Size: A5
Pebble Stationery Notebook Review

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook cover

Pen Chalet Endless Recorder

Pages: 160 (80 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 68gsm
Page Style: Dot, Blank
Size: A5
Pen Chalet Endless Recorder Notebook Review

Profolio Oasis

Pages: 160 (80 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 75gsm
Page Style: Custom Pattern
Size: A5, A6, B5
Profolio Oasis Notebook Review

SohoSpark Journal

Pages: 240 (120 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 80gsm
Page Style: Lined, Dot, Blank
Size: A5
SohoSpark Journal Review

SohoSpark Journal Review designs

Stálogy Notebook

Pages: 68 (34 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 81.4gsm
Page Style: Lined
Size: B5
Stálogy Notebook Review

Stalogy 016 Notebook cover view

Taroko Enigma

Pages: 192
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 68gsm
Page Style: Blank or Dot
Size: A5, A6

fountain pen friendly notebooks taroko enigma tomoe river paper

Taroko Enigma – A great notebook filled with the amazing Tomoe River paper.

I use this notebook for my ink journal, in which I test all of the different inks I have. It is made by Taroko Design and uses Tomoe River paper, regarded by many to be the best paper for fountain pens. Its stitch binding allows it to lay flat, but I have found that over time the cover has started to curl a bit and doesn’t sit completely flat with the rest of the book when closed. I have not experienced any feathering or bleeding with this paper (other than bleeding with big ink splats). Since it is the heaver Tomoe River paper, it also only has medium ghosting.

Tomoe River is well known for showing off the different properties of ink and this notebook is no exception. The white paper color will not affect how ink looks. The amount of sheen that it shows is some of the highest you’ll find. It also shows a good amount of shading. These come at a price, though, as dry time is longer than with many other papers.

The Taroko Enigma notebook is a wonderful notebook for fountain pen lovers. The paper quality is amazing and the book is very well made. It even includes an insert that you can place behind the page you’re writing on to keep things smooth and your writing straight. If you want one of the best notebooks around, you can’t go wrong with an Enigma by Taroko Design. If you don’t want wait on an order from their Etsy shop to ship from Taiwan, other notebook options are available on Amazon.

Tsubame Note

Pages: 30, 60, 100
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 81.4gsm
Page Style: Lined, Blank, Graph
Size: A5, B5
Tsubame Note Notebook Review

Tsubame Note Notebook review

Wild Pages

Pages: 96 (48 sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 80gsm?
Page Style: Blank
Size: Unique sizes, but close to B6 and B5
Wild Pages Notebook Review

Yoseka Notebook

Pages: 224 (112 Sheets)
Binding: Stitch
Paper Weight: 85gsm
Page Style: Blank
Size: A5
Yoseka Notebook Review

Yoseka Notebook Review cover

Interested in trying some of these papers before buying a notebook? Head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.

Quick Reference Table
 Page Style
(Blank, Lined, Grid, Dot)
Binding Style
(Glue, Stitch, Coil, Staple)
Size Options

Apica CD15
LinedStitchA5, B5, A7, B7

Apica Premium C.D.
Blank, Lined, GridStitchA4, A5, B5

Baron Fig Vanguard
Lined, Dot, BlankStitchPocket, Vanguard (A5), Plus

Berlin Notebook
BlankStapleA6

Black n' Red Notebook
LinedSpiralA5

Clairefontaine Basic Notebook
Lined, DotGlueA4, A5

CVS Caliber Notebook
LinedStapleB5

Fabriano Eco Qua
Blank, Lined, Grid, DotGlue, Staple, CoilMany

Elia Note
Lined, Dot, BlankStitchA5

Exceed Bullet Journal
Lined, DotStitchA5

Graphilo
Blank, Lined, GridStitchA5

Itoya Romeo
Blank, Lined, DotSpiralA4, A5, B5, B6

Kokuyo Campus
LinedGlueA5, B5

Kokuyo Century Edition
Lined, GridStitchA5

Kyokuto Expedient
Blank, Lined, DotSpiralA5, B5

Leuchtturm 1917
Blank, Lined, DotStitchA5, B5

Life Noble Note
Blank, Lined, GridStitchA4, A5

Life Schöpfer
Blank, Lined, GridStitchA5, B5

Life Pistachio/Vermilion
Lined, GridStitchA6, B6

Logical Prime
Lined, Grid, DotStitchA5, B5

Maruman Cover Note
LinedStitchA5, A6, B7

Maruman Mnemosyne
Blank, Lined, GridSpiralA4, A5, A6, B5, B6

Midori MD Cotton
Blank, Lined, GridStitchA4, A5, A6

Midori MD
Blank, Lined, GridStitchA4, A5, A6, B6

Minimalism Art
Blank, Lined, Dot, GridStitchA4, A5, B5, B6

North of Rosemont
Dot (Cross-style)StapleA6

Pebble Stationery
DotStitchA5

Pen Chalet Endless Recorder
Dot, BlankStitchA5

Profolio Oasis
Custom PatternStitchA5, A6, B5

SohoSpark
Blank, Lined, DotStitchA5

Stálogy
LinedStitchB5

Taroko Enigma
Blank, DotStitchA5

Tsubame Note
Blank, Lined, GraphStitchA5, B5

Wild Pages
BlankStitchB5, B6 (approx)

Yoseka Stationery
BlankStitchA5

Comments 15

  1. Love the Taroko Enigma. The Tomoe River has always been my favorite. It’s used in my Hobonichi Weeks Mega planner, and it holds up well despite how thin the pages are.

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  2. There’s a Spanish brand, Miquelrius I’d add to your list, with the caveat that they are hard to find in the US. They come in 200 and 300 sheet soft cover journals that are about 6″x*8 and they were under $20 per for the 300 sheet ones the last time I put an order in with them. They come in both lined and graph pages (not sure about dot grid or unlined). The last time I ordered I could only get the black covers (in the past they also had red, blue and green. Paper is pretty FP friendly — I seldom get showthrough or bleedthrough and the paper is fairly smooth. I do what’s called “morning pages” journalling, and so something that’s 600 pages is really useful for me (I go through about three volumes or so per year. Not as nice of course as Tomoe River paper, but heavy enough that you can write on both sides. They used to carry the 200 sheet graph paper ones at Barnes & Noble; they also used to make big spiral bound ones that my husband liked because the pages were printed with a variety of formats — some graph paper, some lined pages, some with boxed sections, and the edges of the paper were color coded (he’d routinely buy the local B&N stores out both here and up near where his mom lived in Massachusetts) but I don’t think Miquelrius makes those any more (I don’t know if those were FP friendly).
    No affiliation with the company except as a happy consumer — I LOVE the 300 sheet journals, and since they’re hard to get I tend to stock up and buy a bulk order.

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      Ruth, I feel like I’ve seen Miquelrius before (I think it was in a stationery shop in SF), but can’t say I’ve ever tried them. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them and grab one the next chance I get!

  3. Thank you for this great post. Of note is that McNally Jackson (Goods for the Study) in NYC stocks Kakimori notebooks using either OK Fools’ Cap paper or Mitsubishi Bank paper.

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