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Indiary Notebook Review

The folks at Indiary contacted me about reviewing one of their notebooks, and I almost said no, but the closure on this one looked interesting. They sent two, one of which I’m giving away – see below.

This is a small notebook with soft, thick, rough paper and an honest binding and a leather cover.

What do I mean by honest? I mean it’s clear how the signatures were sewn to each other and to the book. It’s not a perfect bound or adhesive bound book with fake stiching on the spine – it has a sewn binding.


The leather is fairly lightweight vegetable tanned leather, dyed brown on the outside. It feels fairly soft and light, but I have no doubts it would protect the book just fine.

I’ve bought a few notebooks like this one in the past – you’ve seen them I’m sure – where the cover has a length of leather ribbon that is supposed to be tied around the book to keep it shut. It’s an idiotic design because it takes forever to get the thing tied securely, and even then it usually comes loose. when not tied you’ve got these shoelaces hanging from the book getting caught on things. Ugh.

This notebook is different. It as an ingenious closure, which is functional, attractive, protective, and looks to be repairable. There is a flap which wraps around the face of the book, and it has a leather button. The cover has an elastic cord which hooks on the button, pulling the flap in tight. The elastic cord is short, and is simply looped through some grommets and knotted.

What about the paper? Like I said, it’s soft, and it’s rough. It is 100% cotton, and handmade with flower petals in it which also means the color and thickness are not very uniform. It’s not finished and has little if any sizing. It is very absorbent, and writing on it with a liquid ink pen quickly shows that this paper is NOT fountain pen friendly except with a light touch. With a dry nib you’ll probably be ok, but don’t pause with the point on the paper! Gel ink worked ok, and pencil is fine. Ballpoint comes out a little light, but with rough paper that’s expected.


5 signatures of 20 sheets yields 5×40=200 pages.

Pencil sketching is fine, and the paper erases better than I expected. I don’t have much optimism for watercolors, and markers wouldn’t be a good choice. Pasting mementos here and there will probably work well, and the binding and cover should easily accept extra thickness. I think it would make a fine traveler’s notebook.

While back I wrote about keeping a secret journal for my daughters. I chose Leuchtturm notebooks in girl colors for them, but I think this notebook would have been a nicer choice. The paper is not as nice to write on, but the feel of the paper and the notebook is both more intimate.

The list price of the Indiary notebook is $29, which is not bad at all when you consider what a Midori costs, or compare it to other leather-cover notebooks. However the nature of the paper is going to be unattractive to many who are used to smooth, finished papers that take a variety of inks well.

Wondering if you’d like one? Leave a comment below, and on June 27 I will pick a commenter at random and send them a notebook identical to the one I’ve reviewed here! US residents only, and the winner will be notified using the email address they enter when commenting. Only comments received before midnight, CST on June 26 will be considered.

16 comments… add one
  • Antonio R June 20, 2013, 12:52 am

    Thanks for the review especially for the ballpoint tip. I would love to try it. Thanks.

  • Peter Pen June 20, 2013, 4:18 am

    People managed not only to write with fountain pens and keep them in good shape, but to save their writing efforts on such notebooks. Real treasure! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Sharon June 20, 2013, 8:19 am

    Looks like a great notebook! I’d love to ry it.

  • NatashaS June 20, 2013, 8:54 am

    I love leather journals with handmade paper, I sighed when I saw the picture. There’s something romantic about them. They give me the sense that whatever I write in them might be found centuries later, tucked away somewhere dusty, and thought of as Great Thoughts. Silly, I know.

  • Aisazia June 20, 2013, 9:17 am

    Oh thanks for the review and giveaway! It’s interesting how there are people are still making handmade paper. I love the little flower pieces they put in it. I wonder why they would do that besides adding a little more texture/color to the paper. It’s still a nice touch in my opinion. 🙂

  • Carl Blanchard June 20, 2013, 12:03 pm

    According to the pics, the notebook has a delightful handcrafted look. Probably isn’t.

  • Olivia June 20, 2013, 8:36 pm

    This notebook is beautifully designed and has a very warm look to it.

  • Arlie June 21, 2013, 8:50 am

    Thanks for the review. I love the cover, the closure and the visible sewn signatures. Beautiful notebook.

  • Sean June 21, 2013, 6:11 pm

    This is exactly the sort of notebook I’d like to start getting into making by hand. Looks great.

  • Sharon A. June 21, 2013, 6:16 pm

    That’s a beautiful notebook. Thanks for the chance t0 win one!

  • Melanie Evans June 22, 2013, 8:21 am

    I’m always attracted to nice leather-covered journals. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • mandy June 22, 2013, 3:22 pm

    This is a gorgeous little notebook. I’d love to try one of these guys out.

  • Jennie June 24, 2013, 11:12 am

    I love journals like this – I have a leather one my niece gave me for Christmas and it just seems like my thoughts are much more profound when I record them there. I would love a chance to win this journal.

  • Anthony Connolly June 26, 2013, 5:21 pm

    Looks great for taking on vacation to stuff postcards and random notes scratch things out in pencil

  • Gino Pagnani August 16, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Looks good for vacation notes and sketches.

  • Anthony August 16, 2013, 2:34 pm

    I ended up purchasing one of these journals, and Steve’s review is pretty well smack on. It’s a beautifully constructed journal but not practical. It has no faults sitting on your desk, but plenty when you actually use it. I’m giving mine away.

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