I purchased the large-size Webbie back in March. I’ve been hesitating to do a review because I just wasn’t sure what my final verdict was going to be, but now I think I know.
In case you’ve been living under a rock or something, here’s a brief overview of the Webbie:
- Made by Rhodia
- Contains 90g creamy Clairefontaine paper
- Sewn binding, all encased in a soft-to-the-touch leatherette cover
- Includes a ribbon bookmark and elastic closure
- Available in lined, dot-grid, and blank
- This size sells for $22+ online, depending on retailer (I bought mine for $25 from Goulet Pens)
That’s the infamous Webbie. Some people love them, some people hate them. I am going to do a bit different format today and list the things I like about this notebook, the things I don’t like but aren’t severe enough to keep me from using it, and the thing I didn’t like that ultimately delivered the death blow.
Things I like:
- The hard cover is very sturdy and I enjoy the texture of it. Soft and supple to the touch but without seeming delicate - it’s a good balance of style and stability. The material also doesn’t seem to be prone to picking up an inappropriate amount of dirt, even when used as a daily carry.
- The paper is but-tah smooth. I started to say that it’s the smoothest paper I have ever used, but in reality it’s on the same level as the Tomoe River Paper in my Seven Seas journal and the Staples inkjet paper I write reviews on is of similar quality.
- There are different ruling styles available. Not all retailers seem to have all rulings, but they are out there and it nice to have choices. The only experience I have is with blank pages, but it’s nice to even have that option since a lot of notebooks seem to only be offered in lined and maybe grid.
That might seem like a short list, but overall I have to say that the experience of using and writing in a Rhodia Webnotebook is very pleasant. The paper is some of the best you can buy and the build quality is excellent. If you are looking for a really nice notebook, I don’t think you can go wrong with trying out a Webbie. However, there are some things that I don’t like at all about the Webbie.
Things I don’t like (minor):
- The notebook is only available in black and orange. While I do appreciate having choices, I only dislike the color orange slightly less than I dislike the color black, so there’s that. This is obviously a personal thing, so take it with a grain of salt.
- The Rhodia logo on the front cover is anything but discrete, at least on the orange version. I can see how it would be easier to miss on the black one, but the imprint is so deep that the shadows created on the orange cover means you will always be able to see the logo, unless of course it’s so dark that you probably won’t be doing much writing anyway.
- The paper, while fantastically smooth and able to handle most inks, is not perfect. I did have a few inks that started to bleed through the pages, which is something of a deal breaker for me. Granted, these were not the inks I used regularly, but I think I’ve been spoiled by Tomoe River Paper where nothing bleeds through the pages. I don’t mind a fair bit of ghosting, but bleeding is unacceptable.
- The elastic band is so tight that it leaves little indentations in the soft material of the cover. The flip side of that being that the elastic band starts off nice and tight, so the notebook is held closed very securely.
All of those things are minor quibbles, and for the most part personal annoyances more than anything else. Not everyone has the same standards that I do, so these things might not bother you at all or they might be the ultimate deal breakers for you. For me, there was a single quality that has caused me to stop using the Webbie as my EDC:
- The paper is cream. It’s listed online as “ivory” but it’s darker than the color I consider ivory. It’s noticeably yellowed, and this will dramatically affect the appearance of your inks on the the page.
Which is not a big deal unless you are using this as an ink journal. But, for me the color is too much. I absolutely love bright white paper. I like my writing to pop off the page. I’ve learned that I will probably not find a notebook with bright white paper that is also FP friendly, but the color of the paper in the Rhodia is too much for me.
Thus, while the paper quality and build quality of the Rhodia Webnotebook is fantastic, it is ultimately not the notebook for me. I have recently shelved it and gone back to my Seven Seas journal, which is making me wonder why I ever left it. The issues that made me switch to the Webbie have turned out to not be something that I really took that much advantage of in the Webbie anyway, so I’m back to the wonderful Tomoe River Paper.
Overall, I think the Webbie is a great notebook, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a classy looking notebook filled with FP friendly paper that will hold up to a daily beating. All of the objections above are personal criteria I have used in my quest for the one true notebook and are in no way meant to bash on Rhodia. Yes, the Webbie is pricy, but there are few other notebooks out there that boast such nice paper and a sewn binding with hardcover. The only thing I can say is try it out if you are curious, since the only person who can tell you if a notebook will work for you, is you. :-)
This notebook was purchased with my own money and I am in no way affiliated with any companies mentioned above and am not being compensated for this review in any way. The opinions expressed are entirely my own and you are free to disagree with them if you like.