Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review detail

Leuchtturm1917 Softcover Notebook Review

John Bosley Reviews 4 Comments

Disclaimer: I have left the following post as it was originally written since it does apply to this particular notebook, but for a more complete review of Leuchtturm notebooks, please read my blog post A Tale Of Two Notebooks: Differences In Leuchtturm Paper Quality. I do not recommend you purchase a Leuchtturm notebook based solely on the following review without first reading the other blog post!

Leuchtturm is one of those notebook companies who people seem to either really like or really dislike. They are very popular in the bullet journal community and also with many fountain pen users. They also seem to draw quite a bit of criticism from some fountain pen users. There are a few different reasons for this, which I’ll investigate, but for now let’s start out by taking a look at the Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review cover

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook

First Impressions

My first impression of this notebook is that it is very high quality. The cover feels very nice, both soft and luxurious, and it looks great as well. The notebook has a dense feel, but it isn’t overly heavy. The soft cover gives it some flexibility, but it is not floppy. The paper has an ivory/cream color with small, grey dots. It doesn’t feel super smooth like some Japanese papers do, but still feels like it will be fountain pen friendly.

The Details

The Leuchtturm1917 Softcover notebook is packed with features, which is one of the things that people love about them. Here’s a quick rundown of the details:

  • Pages: 121
  • Paper Weight: 80gsm
  • Binding: Stitch
  • Page Style: Lined, Dot, Blank
  • Size: A5, B5

Ink-handling characteristics

  • Feathering: None observed
  • Ghosting: Medium/High
  • Bleeding: None observed
  • Sheen: Medium
  • Shading: High

Other features

  • Elastic closure strap
  • Rear Pocket
  • Soft and flexible faux-leather cover
  • Comes in various colors
  • 8 tear out pages in back
  • Two ribbon page markers
  • Numbered pages
  • Includes stickers for labeling the spine and inside cover
  • Includes three pages for contents
Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review page markers

The Leuchtturm softcover notebook has two ribbon page markers.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review table of contents

Each Leuchtturm notebook features a table of contents.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review page number

Leuchtturm notebooks also feature page numbers.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review stickers

Stickers are included to mark the inside and spine of your notebook.

Actual Use

I have to say, this is some very nice paper to write on. I enjoy a little feedback from my paper when I write, which Leuchtturm delivers. If you’re a fan of shading, you’ll love this paper. It has some of the highest ink shading I’ve experienced. It also delivers a good amount of sheen, although not as much as the sheen champion, Tomoe River.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review shading sheen

Leuchtturm paper has wonderful shading and also shows a good amount of sheen.

During writing, the notebook does a good job of laying flat. In the first few pages you’ll have to give it a bit of encouragement before the cover stays down, but otherwise it should stay open while you write. The grey dots are not at all intrusive and do a good job at acting as guides without interfering with your writing. The elastic closure band fits fairly tight, but not so tight that you won’t be able to keep a few things in the back pocket. Leuchtturm also knows how to attach the elastic band to the rear cover so that it won’t interfere with your writing (unlike the Clairefontaine Basic clothbound notebook I previously reviewed). One thing that I did notice is that it rubs on the cover material and leaves a worn dent on the top and bottom of the cover. While it’s not a big deal for the performance of the notebook, this might bother some people.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review closure strap

The elastic strap that keeps the notebook closed isn’t too tight…

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review back pocket

… so you should be able to keep things in the back interior pocket.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review cover material

The closure strap does rub on the cover, leaving marks in the material.

I mentioned that many people love Leuchtturm notebooks. In addition to the nice paper, people love that the pages are numbered and there is a table of contents inside the front cover. This makes them very useful notebooks for people who keep journals, including bullet journals, and want the option to quickly reference and find particular pages. They also come with two page markers, so frequently used pages can be marked and found easily. They also come with some tear out pages in the back, so if you’re ever in need of some paper that you can give to someone, you’ll always have it if you have a Leuchtturm notebook.

I also mentioned that some people do not particularly care for Leuchtturm notebooks. One of the reasons for this is that the paper isn’t super smooth and does offer some feedback. While I personally like paper with a bit of feedback, not everyone does, so that’s one reason why Leuchtturm notebooks aren’t for everyone. Another reason is the amount of ghosting the pages have. While I didn’t observe any feathering or bleeding, I did notice that there is enough ghosting that many people would not want to use both sides of a page.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review writing sample

Here’s a good overall view of how a few different pens and inks perform on the paper.

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review ghosting

It does have a good amount of ghosting, which makes using both sides of a page difficult.

Conclusion

Overall, the Leuchtturm1917 Softcover notebook is a great notebook. It is well made, feels very luxurious, has great paper and offers more features than many other notebooks on the market. While the paper is fountain pen friendly and can make your inks look great, it does have a high amount of ghosting, making it hard to use both sides of a page. One other thing that I haven’t mentioned yet is the value. These notebooks have a significantly higher cost per page than other premium fountain pen friendly notebooks. Fortunately, you do get additional features for that additional cost, so you might find this notebook worth the price. Overall, Leuchtturm makes great notebooks, but you’ll probably want to think twice before buying one if you want more value for your money or if ghosting bothers you.

Disclaimer: I have left the previous post as it was originally written since it does apply to this particular notebook, but for a more complete review of Leuchtturm notebooks, please read my blog post A Tale Of Two Notebooks: Differences In Leuchtturm Paper Quality. I do not recommend you purchase a Leuchtturm notebook based solely on the following review without first reading the other blog post!

Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook review

Hi, my name is John. I’m a Colorado-born professional photographer who recently moved back to Denver after spending 3 years in San Francisco. I’ve been using and collecting fountain pens for over 20 years. I got my first one in college when I got bored taking notes with ballpoints and pencils. Since then I’ve bought and sold hundreds of pens, but have consistency in my love of Esterbrooks.

Comments 4

  1. I have a friend who uses a Leuchtturm to bullet journal and she loves it. She’s not a FP user though. I do have several notebooks; a few considered FP friendly that I need to test. Soon.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thomas, they have some great features that, I’m sure if I was a bullet journaler, I’d love. It seems like there are always extra notebooks that need tested. I’ve got a few myself.

  2. If you didn’t get bleed through, you didn’t use a wet pen. Bleed through and ghosting are what have me moving on for daily writing.

    1. Post
      Author

      Glenn, I actually used two of the wettest pens I own… a Sailor with a Zoom nib and a Montblanc 149 with a broad nib. Both have bled right through many different notebooks with the exact same inks, but I didn’t see any with this one.

      I don’t know what the quality control is like at Leuchtturm, but maybe different batches notebooks have different properties? Or maybe other types of their notebooks have slightly different paper? I doubt it, but who knows? Regardless, sorry you experienced bleeding with yours.

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