Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

The Writing Fields Flexbook Notebooks - A Notebook Line From Greece


  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#1 Plume145

Plume145

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 815 posts

Posted 18 September 2013 - 02:01

Hi everyone!

 

I’m just writing to let you know about a nice new line of notebooks I came across, which are locally made here in Greece:

 

fpn_1379467650__twf_nbk_cover.jpg

 

 

This alone is already unusual enough, because sadly there isn’t much being made in Greece, especially when it comes to this type of premium consumer goods. But these go one better in that they are not only manufactured here, they’re also designed locally by a small family business (apparently they started out as a fine bookbindery in the ‘60s or something, then branched out into notebooks and such after the original owner’s children took over about twenty years ago). 

 

Even better, they are actually innovative in that they use a type of binding of their own invention (it’s patented). Which is even more unusual for a Greek company :P They call it Flexbook and it’s supposed to combine the benefits of a bound book with the ability to lie flat and even bend back without weakening or cracking the spine, which makes the book last longer (their tagline is ‘holds your book together forever’ - not the catchiest lol, but at least it's straight to the point).

 

fpn_1379467556__twf_nbk_inserts.jpg

 

Well, I can’t speak to longevity but the rest is definitely true!

 

fpn_1379467291__twf_nbk_binding.jpg

 

When I bought this I didn’t expect much, I’m afraid, but I was pretty impressed :) The paper is a definite strength. It's a rich cream color that is relatively hard to find in this no-nonsense style of notebook (the photo above is closer to the real color, the image below is a scan from my entry level all-in-one that I don't even know how to use properly hehe), and more to the point for us FPNers it's very FP-friendly indeed: no feathering, no bleed-through, and barely any ghosting (only with Broad nibs and dark inks):

 

fpn_1379468912__twf_nbk_paper.jpg

 

It’s mostly smooth with just a tiny bit of tooth to keep things interesting :) The lines are fairly subtle but not to the point where you have to squint, and they don’t go all the way up and down and left to right on the page, which makes for a less cluttered look than, say, a lined Moleskine. The spaces are narrowish, but again that’s pretty much par for the course with this type of notebook. 

 

I don’t know how consistent they are when it comes to the paper; I think I’ll just call and ask. I’m cautiously optimistic though, because with the company’s roots in old-school bookbinding it seems likely they’d be a bit more clued-in about this sort of thing than your average notebook maker in the era of ubiquitous write-anywhere gels and BPs :P

 

The book I have is the smallest size, in the Lined version. There are lots of other formats, including blank and planner or diary, and a few more sizes up to A4. Apparently they even use their Flexbook binding on other lines of notebooks, some sold under their own brand name (‘the writing fields’) and some made for other companies. I think these may have different paper, but I’m not sure - I can check tomorrow if anyone’s interested, as I’ll be going back to the shop where I found these anyhow :-)

 

 

All in all this is a rather lovely wee notebook that I’d recommend to anyone who uses that sort of thing! 

 

Ironically that’s not me, because no matter how many times I try to get used to working with notebooks I never can do it and always end up coming back to loose-leaf paper :P  Which is to say, if you want to try these, mine is up for grabs! Contact me backchannel and I’ll send it your way (for free - don't worry mods, it's a PiF!) 


Edited by Plume145, 18 September 2013 - 02:02.

I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


Sponsored Content

#2 Nate_Emmi

Nate_Emmi

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 18 September 2013 - 03:32

Oouu! I'm definitely interested in these books! Any info on if they can be bought online and shipped to the US?  



#3 jimhughes

jimhughes

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,659 posts

Posted 18 September 2013 - 19:13

What the previous poster said.  I'm interested also.  Jim



#4 Inkysloth

Inkysloth

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,054 posts
  • Location:London, UK.

Posted 18 September 2013 - 20:49

Oooooh....... How much are they? I'm always intrigued by nicely bound books, and it being an independent company makes them even more tempting.


Instagram @inkysloth 
My website http://inkysloth.moonfruit.com/


#5 mhguda

mhguda

    Vulpenfanaat

  • FPN Supporter - Rhodium

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,835 posts
  • Location:Curaçao
  • Flag:

Posted 18 September 2013 - 20:55

Same here. Could I buy one from you, if shipping were reasonable? I'd be interested in a blank A5 one. With that gorgeous paper.


a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

fpn_1425200643__fpn_1425160066__super_pi


#6 Plume145

Plume145

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 815 posts

Posted 19 September 2013 - 02:51

Hi! Nice to see I could introduce you guys to a cool little notebook! I generally love the idea of recommending local products (that's the awkward expat brat in me lol) but I hardly ever have reason to I'm afraid, so it's always a treat - but having people respond positively really adds to the fun :)

 

Yesterday I meant to add a link to their site but I forgot :P But IMO the best part on there is their catalog, and I only found that today because the link was tucked away at the bottom of the page, rather out of sight! But at least the catalog is pretty comprehensive, AND it's bilingual ;)

 

 

Anyway, about outlets: I didn't manage to call the company today due to a sudden case of the lifehappens :P I will do it tomorrow though, and after confirming (hopefully!) that they use the same paper I will also inquire about outlets. 

 

The only one I'm aware of so far is the one where I bought these, a local chain of barnes-and-noble-esque department stores selling the usual books/movies/music trifecta, plus all kinds of consumer electronics. These guys apparently have an arrangement with Amazon to piggyback on their logistics to provide the sizeable greek diaspora with greek-language books and media. I couldn't find the notebooks listed in their Amazon store, but I don't see why they wouldn't ship if specifically asked!

 

But I'm optimistic there will be an easier way because at least judging from the overall presentation on these notebooks, the Writing Fields people are pretty eager to see these promoted beyond Greece. I mean, that leaflet witht he blurb has like FIVE languages besides greek! There's a few more details like that making me think that if they don't currently have distributors outside of Greece, they definitely want to. 

 

Worst comes to worst, I have no problem picking some up at the store I mentioned and mailing them to anyone who wants them - I go there all the time anyway, as well as to the post office (I have a PO box that gets a good workout since I buy most of what I need online, so I'm always popping by to check for goodies!)

 

Meanwhile, if anyone wants mine, just let me know - I don't think I'll keep it because I really suck at using notebooks and it would be a crying shame to have that lovely binding lopped off at the copy shop to make loose sheets :P

Oouu! I'm definitely interested in these books! Any info on if they can be bought online and shipped to the US?  

 

What the previous poster said.  I'm interested also.  Jim

 

Oooooh....... How much are they? I'm always intrigued by nicely bound books, and it being an independent company makes them even more tempting.

 

They're 8.50 euro for the smallest, so that works out about US$11.50 or £7.10. But if they're sold somewhere other than Greece, it's pretty likely that retail price would be cheaper because VAT really is quite high in Greece - 23% on all consumer goods besides food (Americans - VAT is a bit like your sales tax). So for comparison, a Moleskine in the Classic Pocket style is the closest thing to these, and that sells for 13 euro here (about twice what they go for in the US).

 

Same here. Could I buy one from you, if shipping were reasonable? I'd be interested in a blank A5 one. With that gorgeous paper.

I didn't have an A5 book handy to weigh it, so I just weighed my own smaller book and that would be about $4.50 to ship to the US via standard mail - trackable is $3.40 extra (flat rate irrespective of size and weight)

 

But again, I need to check about the paper. Hopefully it's consistent! It would be so, so cool to know I can just pop to the store and find some nice paper without having to wait like three weeks to get it through the mail. If the paper is good, I see a lot of fountain pen gifts in my future this Christmas! With all that's going on in Greece right now, most Greeks could do worse than take up journaling :P


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#7 robb01

robb01

    Dipped Only

  • Member - Silver

  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 19 September 2013 - 12:28

Interested, always looking for something new


113.gif


#8 nickapos

nickapos

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 250 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 20 September 2013 - 20:40

Great news for a non existing country like Greece when it comes to stationary items production. I am really glad they have an extrovert

profile as a company. If you contact them with an email, I am pretty certain that they will accomodate you whenever you are.

They have put too much effort on their products to ignore the non-greek public.

 

I had never head of this company up until now. Thank you Plume145


Nick Apostolakis
Msc in IT, University of Glasgow
GPG ID: 0xBDF1848D
e-mail: nickapos@oncrete.gr
Web Site: http://nick.oncrete.gr

#9 Plume145

Plume145

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 815 posts

Posted 20 September 2013 - 22:59

Interested, always looking for something new

 

OK! Will let you know when I know more about the paper issue!

Great news for a non existing country like Greece when it comes to stationary items production. I am really glad they have an extrovert

profile as a company. If you contact them with an email, I am pretty certain that they will accomodate you whenever you are.

They have put too much effort on their products to ignore the non-greek public.

 

I had never head of this company up until now. Thank you Plume145

I guess they kinda have to look beyond Greece for a customer base, don't they? It's not like there's great big crowds looking to buy notebooks in Greece - to most people here, stationery is just something kids need for school. 

 

I don't know where exactly you are on Crete, but if you can get to either Iraklio or Chania there's one in both cities - I bought mine in the Athens branch so even if these aren't in stock at the moment they should be able to get some in for you if you want to try them. 

 

I'm mostly looking to find some outlets for the other members of the forum, but the first order of business for me is to find out whether they are consistent about using the same type of paper - same finish, same sizing, and so on. And that's something I can do much better in person than via email, because I can better impress upon them the importance of this issue. I have a feeling doing this over the phone would work better with a Greek company :P


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#10 Plume145

Plume145

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 815 posts

Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:33

Guys, some great news: the paper IS consistent! wheeee!

 

I spoke to a nice lady on the phone earlier today, and she said they have very specific specs beyond just a weight and a vague color description: apparently they have a specific trusted specialist supplier for the paper they use in their notebooks, and they stick to the same item code. Of course, they're a bookbinder's, not a paper mill like the CF brands, so the control they have isn't as all-encompassing; their control still hinges on others maintaining standards, which isn't the same as controlling those standards yourself. But it definitely sounds like paper consistency is a priority for them, and that they're doing everything in their own power to maintain that. 

 

Overall. I got the impression I was talking to someone who knew about paper, and cared about it too. Even though it seemed she isn't an FP user herself, she caught on right away when I started sprouting off about wet inks, absorbency, and all the rest of it. 

 

Now onto the second order of business: availability. The same nice lady explained that the product is still quite new, both the binding technique and the overall design of the notebook, and they're just starting to sort out the marketing and distribution. She confirmed my own guess that they were definitely interested in distribution beyond Greece, but said they don't have any representatives yet. However, she definitely seemed excited by the interest the notebooks generated on here and the possibility of having people outside of Greece getting to try these now rather than whenever they can find their way to various suppliers. Normally they operate on a business-to-business framework but she said it might be possible to arrange something else :) She was going to talk to the rest of their team and get back to me within the next 2-3 days with a reply, so for now I guess we wait! 

 

In the meantime, I can still pick some up myself! I'll be in the neighborhood on Wednesday - it's for a dental appointment, so I'll jump on any excuse to fondle stationery before or after. Best pain killer evah! heh.


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#11 gistar

gistar

    Rare

  • FPN Supporter - Rhodium

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 121 posts
  • Location:Piraeus, Greece
  • Flag:

Posted 27 September 2013 - 16:19

Really thanks for the review. I was looking at them couple of weeks ago, and finally settled on a nice Paperblanks as I was afraid that the paper would not be suitable for fountain pen ink. But considering your review I am off to get one tomorrow.


Gistar

#12 Fabienne

Fabienne

    Et nunc, aliquid plene diversum!

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,765 posts
  • Location:Some super sexy place in the Midwest.
  • Flag:

Posted 27 September 2013 - 16:26

Thanks for telling us. And you are too modest, so many great things come out of Greece! Remember, it was you guys who invented DRAMA!*

 

 

 

* aaaand: Greek yogert, cool names like Antigone, boats with eyes on the front of them and Spartans. :wub: 


Edited by Fabienne, 27 September 2013 - 16:26.


 It's for Yew!bastardchildlil.jpg

 


#13 Plume145

Plume145

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 815 posts

Posted 27 September 2013 - 21:26

Really thanks for the review. I was looking at them couple of weeks ago, and finally settled on a nice Paperblanks as I was afraid that the paper would not be suitable for fountain pen ink. But considering your review I am off to get one tomorrow.

 

Funny thing is, I actually have a wonderful paperblanks journal that I got as a gift, and it is SO absorbent! lol. Everything I tried on there feathers something fierce lol. And I've tried a few because the journal is just ridiculously beautiful - even has a coptic binding and all, and I have a real soft spot for those!

Thanks for telling us. And you are too modest, so many great things come out of Greece! Remember, it was you guys who invented DRAMA!*

 

 

 

* aaaand: Greek yogert, cool names like Antigone, boats with eyes on the front of them and Spartans. :wub: 

Don't forget Electra! That's one of my favorites lol. It looks like something invented for a graphic novel except it's actually a few thousand years old :P


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#14 Fabienne

Fabienne

    Et nunc, aliquid plene diversum!

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,765 posts
  • Location:Some super sexy place in the Midwest.
  • Flag:

Posted 27 September 2013 - 21:54

Great dramas which are a few thousand years old are the BEST kind!



 It's for Yew!bastardchildlil.jpg

 


#15 nickapos

nickapos

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 250 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 30 September 2013 - 19:32


I don't know where exactly you are on Crete, but if you can get to either Iraklio or Chania there's one in both cities - I bought mine in the Athens branch so even if these aren't in stock at the moment they should be able to get some in for you if you want to try them. 

 

 

I am in Heraklion, I see that the notebook is carried from the local Public bookstore. I will definitely check it out.

Thanx a lot


Nick Apostolakis
Msc in IT, University of Glasgow
GPG ID: 0xBDF1848D
e-mail: nickapos@oncrete.gr
Web Site: http://nick.oncrete.gr

#16 nickapos

nickapos

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 250 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 30 September 2013 - 19:35

Great dramas which are a few thousand years old are the BEST kind!

Fabienne, there are some modern (or not very modern, just not very ancient) Greek writers** and poets that are of great value. But when it comes to stationary unfortunately Greece is usually absent.

 

**Kazantzakis is one of my favorites


Nick Apostolakis
Msc in IT, University of Glasgow
GPG ID: 0xBDF1848D
e-mail: nickapos@oncrete.gr
Web Site: http://nick.oncrete.gr

#17 Plume145

Plume145

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 815 posts

Posted 30 September 2013 - 21:56

Fabienne, there are some modern (or not very modern, just not very ancient) Greek writers** and poets that are of great value. But when it comes to stationary unfortunately Greece is usually absent.

 

**Kazantzakis is one of my favorites

Actually there is a fair bit of locally produced stationery, it's just that most of it's the totally workaday category. Like, you know those blue school exercise notebooks in the B5-ish size that cost like a quarter of a euro or something? Most of them are made in Greece. The US equivalent might be something like those composition notebooks with the black and white mottled cover - certainly in terms of how recognizable they are: pretty much everyone who's been in school in Greece in the last several decades has used one of these at one point or another, even if like me they attended a foreign language school.

 

Then there's the Globus brand, which makes spiral bound and staple bound books you can find even in places like the corner shop or whatever, and the magic clips line that does disc bound notebooks.

 

The difference is that these are all cheapo brands that don't use very nice paper and don't bother with paper consistency so even if you luck out and hit on a good one, you can't count on the luck holding lol. Well, there's a slight chance the paper in the blue notebooks might be consistent, but it's not great - not too much feathering, but lots of ghosting (although for the price, it's hard to b!tch too much lol). Most of all, they're really workaday in terms of looks and styling and durability.

 

So to use a US equivalent, they're just like Mead or Ampad or whatever, whereas the writing fields stuff is more like your boutique brand sort of thing, something you'd probably get online or at least at a larger stationer's instead of at your basic office supply shop.

 

The only greek brand I'm aware of that is slightly higher end than the blue notebooks or globus etc besides TWF is one called Επί Χάρτου (that means, 'on paper'). They use Fabriano paper, apparently, so it's both good paper and consistent, but aesthetically they're very different compared to TWF - sort of more artsy-fartsy, with quotes or printing inside or marbled edges, whereas the Writing Fields notebooks seem to have the aesthetic of something meant primarily as a serious no-nonsense tool designed to get out of your way so you can get some serious work done. They both have their place, basically, but I much prefer the TWF ones because man, that binding - need I say more? :P


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#18 alc3261

alc3261

    50 Something Callinebephile!!

  • FPN Super Moderators

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,987 posts
  • Location:UK
  • Flag:

Posted 30 September 2013 - 22:33

I must try to get hold of this notebook!!



#19 Plume145

Plume145

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 815 posts

Posted 30 September 2013 - 23:21

I must try to get hold of this notebook!!

soon, hopefully!


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#20 Inkysloth

Inkysloth

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,054 posts
  • Location:London, UK.

Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:32

One of my friends is currently in the process of setting up an arts / craft shop in SE London. I don't know her timeframe, but I'll definitely be passing the info from here on to her, to see if she could become a stockist.


Instagram @inkysloth 
My website http://inkysloth.moonfruit.com/







Sponsored Content




|