Fans of Traveler’s Notebook (TN) in Taiwan got their early Christmas gift from Midori (now known as Traveler’s Company after they changed their name last year) last week. The only stop of the Traveler’s Notebook 10-year anniversary is now taking place at the Eslite Xinyi Bookstore in Taipei until May 15.
The exhibition venue is not big at all (probably enough space to take about 80 people comfortably and is basically a section of the bookstore set aside for the expo), so trying to squeeze an exhibition and merchandise sales area on the same venue is fine for a slow afternoon, but hellish for the first day when people are trying to get their hands on limited products.
The good thing about the 10th anniversary showcase in Taiwan is that visitors have a chance to see many of their now-gone limited products on display, such as the JR express train and Hawaiian Airline collaborations.
Of course, since this is after all a showcase on their 10th anniversary, there’s ample supply of their 10th anniversary tin box with mini TN at the site. They are even considerate enough to set up a box to collect return postcards that comes with the limited sets, which gives you a chance at the 10th-anniversary limited gift lottery for next year (save you postage).
As for limited products, the official TN website has a list of their collaboration with Eslite bookstore (refills, brass pen, brass coins, etc.) which is available at the venue. What they didn’t tell you is most of the refills and small trinkets are gone by the second or third day. You cannot believe how crazy people can get at these events…. It took me 1.5 hours in the queue to get INTO the venue on the first day.
The other cool thing is that Midori actually brought some of the merchandise from Traveler’s Factory to the showcase. Examples include mini color pencil set, colored notebook refills, ‘charms’, stickers, and on. Though the price is at a premium, it doesn’t stop people from abusing their credit cards.
Furthermore, some of the limited products from previous collaboration were also available at the site. I noticed refills, stickers, and other gadgets from the Braniff, Pan Am, and Star Ferry campaigns. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the Blue edition notebook or penholder which I was looking for.
For people who didn’t feel like spending money, there’s two tables with customize options for your notebook, with stuff like used stamps, seals, stickers, trinkets for notebook wrapping line, and so on. You can see a bunch of people gathered at these table to stamp their books.
There’s also a limited number of free badge giveaway, but as expected, supply was not enough to last through the first day.
Another thing which Midori brought to this exhibition is a 2-day make-your-own-spiral notebook event. Basically, they brought two craftsmen from their office in Japan to take part in the “Spiral Ring Notebook Viking” event. Basically, there’s a limited number of opening on each day of the two day event where participants get to pick the papers they want from a whole inventory of great papers (yeah, there’s even Japanese traditional paper with gold specks) and the craftsmen will bind your notebook together for you.
In addition to several Taiwan-event-limited covers (spiral notebook covers with different design), there’s also new paper materials available (brown paper with patterns) which debuted at the workshop in Taiwan. Of course, they give you a slot measurement paper which gives you an idea about how many pages you can grab that’s reasonable for making one notebook. Suffice is it to say that I saw several people that went for 2 notebooks (max is 3 per person) were struggling to keep their trophies in order for the binding.
So once you got all the paper you want together, you can hand it over to the binding craftsman from Japan who kindly does the notebook binding for you. You even get an additional small sleeve bounded inside your notebook (you choose added to the front or back) where you can store small stuff like stickers and name cards.
It was a satisfying experience overall. It's quite a rare opportunity to see so many paper types on display, and even more fulfilling to see types you never seen before get placed inside your own customized notebook. Too bad there's only 2 days for the spiral notebook-making event.
Anyways, this is just a rough roundup of the showcase. If any of you are in town before May 15, try to take some time and drop by the expo grounds. At least you'll be able to find a good inventory of TN products outside of Japan.