Composition Book Show Down

I like composition books. A throw back to simplier rtimes I hated them as a kid becuase I could only find wide rule and I prefer college rule. As an adult I'm more likely to ignore the lines and just write where I feel like. I like to have one in the garage for my bike notes and to do lists. I keep them all over the house. (Not sure how C feels about this.) They have many uses doodles, sketching and writing. They are also dirt cheap. This time of year you can get them in Staples for $1 each and Walmart has some for 50 cents. The real question for me is , "How do all these comp books stack up against one another?"

A few weeks back I reviewed to much dismay the Staples Sustainable Earth comp book. It was a bummer because I really enjnoy the brown lines, the feel of the paper, and overall the quality of the book, but not being able ot use fountain pens with it makes it a deal killer. I won't buy another one.

So I'm searching out compbooks that work with my fountain pens. I've done a lot of reading that you need to keep an eye on where they are made, with Brazil as the best country of origin.

Let's start out with the rank and horrible.

Mead Five Star College Ruled with the plastic covers.
The paper feels nice, pens glide but feather and bleed like writing on TP. No country of origin listed. Was more expensive than the rest.

Mead Wide Ruled Fasion Pattern Covers Made in Vietnam
nice stiff covers in a variety of funky patterns, also available college ruled. Some inks did horribly on this paper others did well. Bleed through was intolerable but feathering was okay.

Norcom Fashion Pattern Covers Wide Rule Made in USA Walmart
Covers are flimsy but nice patterns. Paper feels smooth and nice but feathers and bleeds like crazy. even well bahaved inks don't do well on it. It's too bad I'd like to buy made in the US paper. These were on sale at Walmart for 50 cents.

Norcom Original Covers College Rule Made in USA Walmart
Covers are flimsy. Paper feels smooth and nice but
feathers and bleeds like crazy. even well bahaved inks don't do well on
it. It's too bad I'd like to buy made in the US paper. These were on sale at Walmart for 50 cents.

Now let's talk about the acceptable and good.

Staples Quad Comp Graph Rule Made in Egypt
Okay covers. Paper feels nice. Pens like it. Slight feathering with some inks but most fair better than average. Plenty of bleed through, making only one side of the paper usable. On sale at Staples for $1.

Tops Brand Standard Marble Cover Wide Rule Made in Vietnam
Flimsy cover. Paper is smooth and feels great under the pen. No feathering, no bleed through. Both side usable with right pen. Regularly priced at 97 cents at Target. (For what it's worth, I've been told I totally lucked out on the Made in Vietnam book being good, usually it's the Made in Brazil Tops that is good. So your mileage may vary on this one.)

Staples "Fashion" Cover Wide Rule Made in Brazil (Item number 19187)
Okay covers, not the most sturdy. Patterns are neat. Paper feels smooth and pens like it. No feathering even with my Ahab. Bleed through is acceptable. On sale for $1.

Staples "Marble" Cover College Rule Made in Brazil (Item number 40451)
Sturdy covers. Paper feels smooth and
pens like it. No feathering even with my Ahab. Bleed through is
acceptable. On sale for $1.

Have you used a composition notebook that you particularly loved? Let me know about it in the comments.

  • I will have to check out a trip to Staples for one of the last two. Made an art journal from a Comp Book a couple years ago (25 cent WalMart B 2 S version). Glue stuck 3 pages together and that worked great (one of my favorite AJ’s).But maybe with this one would only need to glue every couple of pages together.

  • SusanJane

    I’m actually more concerned about the binding. I’m familiar with the sewn ones being really far apart and kind of loose. Did you find any that have good solid bindings? I’m finishing up the DaisyYellow index card a day challenge, and a composition book might be a good next step. Also are the page counts about the same?

  • @SusanJAne the bindings are okay for what they are. The staples are as good as any Ive seen. They all get a little loose with some use. If you use them with wet media they will get even more loose.
    The page counts are all between 80 and 100, or 80 or 100. The staples were 100 and I think the mead were 80.

  • SusanJane

    Thank you for the additional help. It’s super hard for me to get out and about. You’ve made my shopping trip sooo much easier!