Apica Premium C.D. Notebook

John Bosley Reviews 2 Comments

Apica notebooks are not quite as popular in the fountain pen community as many other notebooks, but they are still very fountain pen friendly. You might remember my review of the Apica CD15 notebook. Today I’m going to take a look at the more upscale Apica Premium C.D. notebook.

First Impressions

It doesn’t take much to tell that this is a premium notebook. The design and cover material all appear to be top quality, not to mention it says “Premium” right on the cover. Compared to the Apica CD15 notebook, this definitely looks much nicer. It also has significantly more pages in it. The paper feels very smooth and fountain pen friendly. With as much as I liked the CD15, I’m excited to try out this notebook!

You can see that the cover is quite attractive.

The Details

Here are the details for the Apica Premium C.D. notebook.

  • Pages: 192 (96 sheets)
  • Paper Weight: 86.5 gsm
  • Binding: Stitch
  • Page Style: Lined (7mm), Grid (5mm), Blank
  • Size: A4, A5, B5

Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)

  • Sheen: Very Low
  • Shading: Low
  • Bleeding: Medium
  • Ghosting: Low
  • Feathering: Medium
  • Dry Time: Fast

Other features

  • Includes a front index page
  • Top and bottom margins
  • Attractive cover material and design

Actual Use

As I mentioned, my initial impression of the Apica Premium notebook versus the regular notebook was very positive. It’s easy to tell that this notebook is something that is high-quality. The cover material has a subtle shimmery glitter in it, so while the images you see here might look like just colored paper, it has a bit of depth to it in person.

This notebook says right on the front that it’s Premium.

Opening up to the first page, you’ll see that this notebook has an index. For anyone who enjoys bullet journaling or simply wants to keep track of where to find certain things, this is a great feature. Unfortunately, there aren’t any page numbers, so you’ll have to come up with a system that works best for you. The stitch binding is very nice and, due to the small size of the signatures, allows the notebook to easily open and lay flat.

This notebook has an index.

You can see how many signatures this notebook has

Many small signatures allows it to easily open and lay flat.

The paper is very smooth to write on. Unfortunately, in my tests it didn’t perform nearly as well as the regular non-premium Apica notebooks. In fact, in almost every way the regular Apica notebook paper outperformed this “premium” paper. This paper showed significantly less sheen and shading, while at the same time showing more feathering and bleeding. While the design might be premium, the paper is not. That’s not to say it is bad paper. It is definitely much nicer than regular paper and tests better than some other notebooks on the market.

Looking a little more closely at the paper’s performance, it doesn’t show much ghosting at all. I would be comfortable using both sides of a sheet. I did observe some feathering and bleeding, especially with broader nibs. Because of this, using both sides of a sheet might be problematic. Fortunately, dry times were quite fast.

Unfortunately, fast dry times usually mean lower amounts of sheen and shading, which is what I observed. Sheen was almost non-existent, and shading was very low. This is not at all what I’d expect from a premium notebook.

Apica Premium CD paper test – Front

Apica Premium CD paper test – Back


To be completely honest, I have to say that this notebook was a disappointment. My first experience with Apica was with the “basic” notebooks like the CD15. Those notebooks have wonderful paper, which made me excited to try out the premium notebooks. Unfortunately, the lack of sheen coupled with bleeding and feathering make these notebooks, in my eyes, inferior. One interesting thing to note, though, is that while the actual notebooks are much more expensive, these premium notebooks actually cost less-per-sheet than the non-premium versions. Still, they’re not worth it. For the same price you can pick up a Life Noble or Midori MD notebook and have a superior writing experience.

An easy way to identify the Premium version is this paper band that it comes with.

It’s a very pretty notebook, so it’s too bad the paper doesn’t live up to the cover.

If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.

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

Apica Premium C.D. Notebook
  • Sheen (higher is better)
  • Shading (higher is better)
  • Bleeding (higher is better)
  • Ghosting (higher is better)
  • Feathering (higher is better)
  • Dry Time (higher is better)

Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating

Pros: Attractive, very smooth paper, fast dry times
Cons: Very little sheen, not worth the cost
Value Rating: 2.86 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.13
Who this notebook is for: Anyone wanting very smooth paper and fast dry times
Upgrade to this notebook from: Rhodia Notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Midori MD Notebook

Comments 2

  1. Great review, John! Agree completely about the higher quality paper in the CD11 and CD15 notebooks compared with the premium notebook. It’s too bad, really, because I do like how the premium notebook looks and the number of pages.
    One note, when comparing cost per page, I noticed that the Apica CD11, which is A5, is much less expensive per page than the Apica Premium notebook. I noticed that you were comparing it with the CD15, which I believe is B5 size rather than A5 like the Premium notebook. The CD11 can be purchased for only $1.75 from Jetpens (I’m not affiliated in any way with them).

    1. Post

      Thank you! I completely agree with you. I’ll have to check out Jetpens. I just use what I paid as a reference when figuring the cost per sheet and $1.75 is extremely inexpensive! Thanks for pointing that out.

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