Review by Laura Cameron
Recently I was contacted by the people behind Thinkers Notebook ($19.95) and asked if I wanted to try their Thinkers Notebook system. I’m always game to try something new so I said yes!
The Thinkers Notebook is a 6″ x 9″ landscape notebook, designed to be used in concert with an app. The notebook encourages you to record ideas, meeting notes, sketches and the like, and then scan them (along with a QR code on each page) into the Thinkers Notebook App (free for Apple and Android Phones), a system that allows you to share out images and also allows commenting/discussion on the images.
Let’s start with the notebook. The notebook itself is discbound, a system I haven’t seen before. The discs allow the notebook to open fully and lay flat, as well as be folded back on itself. The cover is made of thick cardstock, and tiny perforations in the top of the paper near the discs, allow you to remove pages from the book without tearing.
Probably the most important question: is it fountain pen friendly? YES! The paper is 100 gsm and boasts two formats. The front of each page is dot grid (approximately 5 dots per 1″) and the back of each page is college ruled (9/32″). Take notes, sketch, do whatever you want to do in the book! The book has 100 sheets in total.
Once you have written or sketched what you want to, simply open the app in your phone to take a quick scan. Edit the photo how you wish (crop, rotate, turn to black & white, etc.) and add whatever tags you wish. Several tags are included, and you can add your own easily. Then you can share the image with anyone you wish, and they can comment on your photos. They do not have to have the app to be able to comment!
A note on security of your documents directly from the Thinkers Notebook website:
We have developed a Private Cloud Storage system on Google infrastructure to securely store your files. Only you, and those you share the files with can see the pages from the THINKERS Notebook (not even our admins can see them).
You can scan more than just the Thinkers Notebook pages. You can scan any notebook pages, whiteboard images, photos etc. to store for later.
When you buy the Thinkers Notebook, you also get free access to the Thinkers Workshop, a selection of videos, articles and insights that dive deeper into how you can use your notebook.
As a final bonus, the makers of the Thinkers Notebook are so sure you’ll love it they offer a full money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
So, what are my thoughts on the notebook?
The notebook itself is slim (approximately 1/2″ (1 cm)) thick and the disc binding adds a bit of bulk, but not much. Though it’s not true A5 size, meaning it won’t work well in A5 sized leather covers, the size does feel portable to me, for situations when pocket notebooks aren’t enough paper real estate.
And I really enjoyed the paper. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I kind of dig having ruled and dot grid in the same notebook, allowing me to record whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m also interested that the site says refills will be available starting in March of 2020 (that means around now!) so that I could just get more paper, and not have to continually buy whole new notebooks. At $19.95 the notebook is a bit pricey, though I understand that my notebook purchase also supports the app and the other material Thinkers Notebook creates.
Now the app. I’m not entirely sold. I appreciate that the app is pretty clean looking, streamlined and easy to use. I also understand that what Thinkers Notebook has developed is a way to store photos and comments/discussion together in one place (versus just posting a photo into a slack chat or other collaboration tool). I am a very limited test case since I don’t use a lot of collaborative work tools outside of Trello, Slack, Google Docs and Dropbox, but I don’t know that I’d find this useful in my business life unless it was something that caught on and the people I worked with were using it too? I might find it useful in my personal life to capture things like knitting pattern design ideas or the like, but I don’t know that I’d be sending those out to friends for comments either.
So I’m left with sort of a mixed feeling about the notebook. I know that I like the paper enough I’m going to be using this one up, but I’m reserving judgement on whether I’ll find the app useful enough to continue to invest in the product. On the other hand, if it becomes a favorite notebook, I might!
What do you think?
- Papers: Thinkers Notebook ($19.95)
- Pen: Baoer Carbon Fire Fountain Pen ($15.95)
- Inks: J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche (10mL, $5.50)
DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.