Yesterday I was really excited to come across a shop I hadn’t seen, called Bookbinders Design (http://www.bookbindersdesign.com/). It was a stationery store full of pretty notebooks. Apparently, it’s a Swedish company and they do “handcrafted” books, not by hand but not automated either.
I went in there to check out their wares, and man, was I disappointed. In terms of design, I can’t fault them. The things in there were lovely – colourful, sleek, elegant. A lay consumer would go in there probably overjoyed to pay $145 for a notebook or archival box (not kidding).
But since I’ve been studying the craft, even as a lowly beginner, I have to say their craftsmanship sucks big time. I looked at their leather corners on their lined notebooks – you could see the pucker because the leather was too thick and had been cut too short, rather than sitting flat as it should. In other cases the leather had been cut too long and overlapped unevenly. The endpapers were uneven, meaning that they were pasted higher or lower than they should be – they should be completely square around. Worst yet, the ones that had headbands, which are the materials at either end of the spine, were cut unevenly or pasted on unevenly. The fine detailed work looked really shoddy, and I was very surprised, considering how expensive these products were.
Now I should say that upon first glance, I think most people would be happy with these products. It’s not everyone who’s a nutter about these details like me. They look beautiful if you don’t care about the details of the craftsmanship. So I’m not advising people not to buy them, and of course, you wouldn’t be able to pay the same price for real fine bindings, it would cost much more. But I feel somehow that it’s a bit much to slap together some amateurish work, charge quite hefty prices, and then go on about quality craftsmanship.
Maybe I just saw a dud shipment, but I doubt it. I’d stick with Moleskines for the moment, for those who want quality notebooks.