In this section we’re going to examine all the Mead books I was able to find at my local Target. In the past Mead books have ranged from down right awful to amazing. When you venture into 5 Star territory the Mead comps are downright nice. The standard Mead offerings I’ve found outside of Back-to-School Sales have been awful. The three I’m examining in this post have some range.
Let’s start with the Mead Five Star Fashion Poly Covered. This year’s was made in Vietnam. I found one in dark teal* with a metallic gold design. It kinda looks like pencils, or just triangles and lines. I love it. I hate poly covers, but of all the brands, Mead does a good job of them. Their poly feels slightly thicker. The score the spine so that you can actually fold the cover over on itself and it will lay flat, though with some effort. The cover design is cute as heck and the spine tape is gold to match the design and nicely textured and sized.
Inside is filled with 100 sheets of smooth toothy paper. The stitching is tight and even. The paper feels great with pencils and pens of all types. It feathers and bleeds a bit with liquid inks but does well with gel and pencil. This isn’t going to be a book for the fountain pen crowd. It’s also not my favorite for pencils. It’s got tooth but not quite enough for my taste. I prefer a bit more for my pencils. Overall this is a great book for gel pens.
At $3.50 it’s rather over priced.
Next up is the Mead Five Star non fashion poly covered comp book. This one sports a textured design and some square pixelated design work. There are 100 pages. The pixelation design reminds me of 2002 for some reason. This one is made in Vietnam. This one boasts that the book with LAST ALL YEAR, GUARANTEED! This book was on sale for $2.49.
Again Mead does a great job with poly covers, scoring at the spine for flat-ish opening. The stitching is tight and even lending itself to opening with ease. The spine tape is thick, well textured and a nice size. This cover has a white lining
The paper is smooth and toothy. It is better than the fashion version. The paper despite being smooth, has enough tooth for pencils. I really like this paper. It feels good with pencil, gel ink, liquid ink, and fountain pens. There is little show through or show through. This was the best of the Mead comp books.
The final Mead book is the Mead “We Mean Green” composition notebook. At $3.99 this was the most expensive book of the whole lot, in fact of all the composition books I bought this season. It has 90 pages. It was assembled here in the US of US and imported parts. So…
The cover is a nice thick and stiff card. This is the least floppy of the notebooks available. The Spine tape is a bit on the narrow side but it’s a nice shade of white that allows you to see the print beneath it. I think it’s a nice design touch. The cover printing is super cute and available in green and blue. The matte design is very appealing to me. The warm shade of the card looks good with the ink.
The stitching on mine and most of those I saw on display was a bit off center. It’s a wider stitch than most of the books out there. The labeling reports that it is compostable, but it’s a polyester string, so not so much.
The paper is a warm off white shade that is pretty nice. I could ONLY find wide ruled at my local Target. It feels smooth under fingers and when writing. It is great for pencil and gel ink. With any liquid ink- fountain and rollerball it is awful with feathering and bleed through. The pens feel good on the page but as soon as nib is put to the page it starts to feather and bleed.
I’m not going to go too in depth here about my thoughts on stationery greenwashing, but I do know that young environmentalist Less would have been all over these notebooks. It is not clear how much of these books are made out of post consumer waste versus the industrial scrap that would have been “recycled” or put back into the paper vats as part of the paper making process anyway. If a paper is 100% pre consumer waste, it’s not really recycled IMO it’s process as usual. Okay i’ll stop here.
Clearly, the We Mean Green is only okay if you are only going to use pencil, ballpoint, or gel ink.
This season’s Mead standout is the regular standard Five Star poly covered book. The big loser is the We Mean Green and being the most expensive of all the options you really pay for that green washing.