Disc World

circa-discs

The Circa system. Its been around for awhile and I’ve even made a foray into the “disc world” myself in the past but the Circa system had sort of fallen off my radar as of late so I thought I’d reconsider it.

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If you’ve not familiar with it, its a series of plastic discs and a customized die cut or hole punch that creates divots in the edge of the paper to accommodate adding or removing sheets easily to the disc binding system. While Levenger’s Circa system is the most well-known, there are other options available like the Rollabind and the Arc system from Staples. They all look interchangeable which is appealing if you want to customize a system to your specific tastes and budget.

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The Circa system has relationships with popular notebook companies like Rhodia and Behance while Staples’ Arc system beats out in the pricing and convenience arena. Pre-printed and punched sheets are available for meeting notes, recipes, agendas and planners and many other task specific activities. All three bands offer a range of paper but the real appeal to me is being able to select my own paper and then use the custom hole punch to fit it into a notebook. While I like Rhodia paper, I’d prefer dot grid or blank sheets rather than the customized meeting notes style available at Leveneger. Because of the way the disc system works, smaller sheets of paper can be inserted into a larger system and they stay in place. So, other pieces of paper, from 3x5s to photocopies, can be punched and inserted into the right spot in your notebook.

Lots of cover options are available from simple poly-plastic to leather zip cases. And of course, there are some unique discs that make the possibility of sitting in a long meeting, a little more tolerable.

Does anyone use a Circa-style disc notebook? How do you like it?

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14 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I was dubious about Circa, but started using it when I began my Masters program because hey, I needed notebooks, and Levenger was having a killer sale. It turned out to be a godsend: I could re-arrange my notes as necessary, insert handouts directly into the notebook, and I didn’t have to lug a huge notebook into lecture with me. It also made it easier to share lecture notes. Was it an expensive investment? At the time, it seemed so, but in retrospect it was money very well-spent.

  2. I got into the Arc system a few years ago when I began studying Japanese. I found that I could print out just what I need for class and use the paper punch to put it into my notebook. I use a good weight laser printer paper and print my own grids and lines however I want them. The laser printer paper works well with my fountain pens and is a lot cheaper than buying the pre-printed Japanese writing grid paper. Over all, I’m pleased with the investment and I still use the notebooks daily.

  3. This system looks like it would be great for those of us who take notes on paper, but want to scan them later. Removable pages such as these would make it easy to feed a stack of them through a page scanner. I may have to look into this. Though as a lefty, those discs look like they’d get in the way of my hand when writing toward the left side of the pages. It’s why I hated spiral-bound notebooks years ago in school.

    1. Please be aware that a scanner with an automatic page feeder may not be able to get the ‘circa’ punched sheets properly since they have a fringed like form on the punched edges.

  4. I also have the Arc system from Staples, both the large and small notebooks. I use the large book to organize all of my notes for the various projects I have at work, and the smaller one I use mainly as a day planner. I love these notebooks. I’m happy to read here about some fountain pen-friendly paper options. The refill sheets are hard to justify for the quantity and price and I prefer to punch my own paper. The issue I’ve had with some lighter-weight paper is they don’t always hold up well to the discs.

  5. I’m a huge fan of the Circa system and have been using it for years. You mentioned Rollabind, which is compatible with Levenger’s Circa, but I strongly caution anyone from ordering from them. I ordered from Rollabind a few years ago, and they were slow to ship, but I was pleased with the product. I placed an order last month and have received nothing. I’ve called customer service many times and they sometimes return my messages, always promising to ship tomorrow, by the end of the week, next Monday at the latest, et al. I finally had to dispute the charge with my credit card company and I’m waiting to hear the outcome. As soon as i mentioned (in one of the many messages i left for them) that I would like to have the order cancelled, Rollabind has failed to return my calls. Also, they charge your credit card as soon as you place the order, not when they ship your order, so you’re stuck with the charge. The moral of the story: just spend the extra money on Levenger’s Circa and avoid Rollabind at all cost.

      1. Caution is definitely warranted. And I really hate that, because I was a customer of Rollabind for 3 years and (mostly) happily so. The only resolution that I’ve had has come from my credit card, which reversed the charge.

    1. Hi Maulany,
      I use both Levenger Circa and Staples Arc systems (they are interchangeable). I’ve found many Arc (and some Levenger) products on Amazon – do they ship to Indonesia?

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