Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Banditapple Carnet Notebooks

Breaking News!! Dated 3-16-2012 Banditapple Carnets are now available at Goulet Pens!!

[You can click on any of the photos to enlarge for more detail]

This post is going to be a little photo heavy, but you'll see why in a minute.  Also, although it is a long post, you will not regret reading all of it.

Sometime towards the end of March, I received an email from Arnie Kim of Banditapple, asking me if I would like to review his Carnet notebooks.  I said yes (was there ever any doubt?) and he said that they would be shipped out that Monday, April 4.  Since this was during my busy season, I promptly forgot about it until I received another email about 3 weeks later reminding me that they should be arriving very soon. Now it is mid-May and I emailed him to let him know that they still had not arrived, we agreed to give it a little more time, especially after the turmoil of the Japanese earthquake.  Fast forward to the end of May and still no package.  So Arnie decided to mail me a new set of his notebooks.

Quo Vadis Habana, Handy (red), Peewee (black)

Two days later, the first package arrived.  Isn't that always the case?? Then, less than two weeks after that the second package arrived.  I guess the first one took the long way around to get from Korea to the US.

I asked Arnie a few questions about the notebooks in preparation for this post:

1. Will distribution be coming to the US anytime soon?
Not yet.  I am looking for a partner or distributors to sell in US.
2. If not, is there an online seller from whom people may order?
by E-mail ( ), people overseas hear of my carnet by mouth to mouth or on-line reviews and order some samples from me and I send them via airmail.

3. What is the pricing?
Peewee (small) is 1,800 krw (1.67 usd)Handy (Semi-large) is 2,800 krw (2.59 usd)Tablet (large) is 3,300 krw (3.06 usd)
Plus shipping 
 Oh, also see this post at Bleistift for more information.

Handy (blank), Peewee (lined)

Ok, a little about these notebooks.  There are three sizes, all containing 64 pages of slightly off-white 80 gsm paper, each size comes in blank or ruled:

Peewee, 9x14 cm
Handy, 11x21 cm
Tablet, 13x21 cm

Handy (left), Peewee (right)

The covers are heavy weight paper in either Hanoi Red or Saigon Black.  If you have not yet guessed, they are made in Vietnam.  I compared the Peewee notebooks in size to the Field Notes and the Moleskine Cahier, and they are exactly the same.  Like the Moleskine Cahier, they consist of a single signature which is stitched the entire length of the notebook spine, unlike the Field Notes which are stapled. The covers are also similar to these two brands.  I would like to suggest the addition of a simple pocket to the back cover, like the Cahier.

Namiki Falcon, R & K Smaragdgrun
But this is a true case of the similarities being only skin deep. For it is between those unassuming covers that these notebooks truly shine.  Oh, Arnie also advised me in his emails that the paper used is acid free and will stand up to any and all inks. (I took him at his word)

Fountain pen ink - Noodlers Violet Vote, Sumi brush

Noodlers Violet Vote, Sumi brush

Noodlers Violet Vote, Sumi brush (left); Watercolor pencils (right) 

Parallel pen, Rembrandt Rollerball (left); Aquabrush filled with Sumi ink (right)

Aquabrush filled with Sumi ink

Ok, so you have seen the pictures, did you notice what you don't see?  No?  Go back and look at the pictures really closely.  Enlarge them and look three times.

You will find none of the following: feathering, bleedthrough or even show through.  None, nada, nyet. This paper handled absolutely everything that I threw at it, with dignity and aplomb, including the watercolor pencils, with water applied.  Yes, there is some buckling with the watercolor, but this is not watercolor paper so that is to be expected.

Now, return to the questions that I asked Arnie - specifically #3.  Would you pay this for a notebook that performs as well as these do??  My answer, "hell, yeah!"  By comparison, the pricing for the Field Notes is $3.32 per notebook and the Moleskine Cahier can be found for about the same price as the PeeWee, but if you are going to use fountain pens your are going to be unhappy with those products (IMHO).

So, what are you waiting for? - send Arnie an email - NOW!!

Oh, wait - I ended up with extra notebooks in this deal - so, I tell you what - I'm going to give you a chance to testdrive one of these puppies.  Yup, now aren't you glad that you hung in until the end of this post?  Yes, that's right - a GIVEAWAY!!!  [I still expect you to email Arnie and order some of these]

I have the following notebooks to giveaway to three (3) readers: a ruled Handy, a blank Peewee and a ruled Peewee.  Tell me if you have a preference in your comment.

Same rules as usual, but I'll remind you of them for any newcomers (please read them):

1.  You must be a regular follower of my blog, either through Google, email or an RSS feed. Please just be honest and don't enter if you are not a regular follower.

2.  You
MUST leave an email address in your comment, I need a way to notify you if you are the winner. If I don't know how to reach you, you will have 7 days from the announcement of the winner to contact me.

3.  You do NOT need to be a U.S. resident, I am thrilled to recognize my International readers as well and will ship worldwide.

So, leave a comment on this post, no later than midnight on Wednesday, June 22 and I will pick three winners and announce them on Friday, June 24.

Good luck!


Molossus said...

*waves* I'd love to win the blank Peewee!

Kirstin said...

These look great! I'm a notebook addict and would love any of them but my preference would be for blank paper vs lined. :)

Wordherder said...

Great posting. You always do much more interesting things with your notebooks than I do. I just write in mine!

Richard Jarvis
Follow you with Google Reader

Darkskye said...

I'd take the blank PeeWee, too :D

SheilaM said...

Thanks for thinking of us! I'd take whatever was available...!

Bat Masterson said...

These look great! Thanks for the opportunity to try them out.

Ítalo said...

I've just sent an e-mail to Arnie asking how I could buy some of these, but if I win one here I guess I can give away the ones I buy (we never give away a gift, right?).


I'd rather not leave my e-mail open here, so I'll just keep an open eye on this post & contact u when I (hopefully I will) win.

Trece said...

You are so right!1 For paper with no bleed-thru, I'd easily pay his price. I'm kind of hankering for the Large (that you didn't get to try), but if I win, I'll be satisfied with the lined "handy"/

I love the quotes you were using as examples. I trust you will run them for the "inquiring minds" in your next post!!

azyzl said...

That ruled Handy would be awesome to win... I love Moleskine but it bleeds too much!


Heather said...

These look like interesting notebooks... I'd love to win one.



These sound wonderful :) I spent my lunch today practicing my bamboo pen and new ink on the restaurant's paper tablecloth. Since I spilled my drink on the writing, I definitely relate to the paper suitability.

Holly Wendt said...

What an excellent notebook find!

Also, very nifty updates to the website.

Aimee said...

Ooh, those look fab! Ruled is always my preference, whatever the size.

hippycrite at gmail.


My bad :(

email =

range said...

I'd like to win one of those!

Aisazia said...

Thanks for doing this!

I'd love the blank Peewee but if that is taken I'd love the ruled Handy as an alternative. ^_~

etherealvoices [at] gmail [dot] com

Rori said...

I love the size of the Handy, and do you have the price on there correctly? If so WOW! Thanks for the review.
Hope there's a US distribution route soon!

itinerantlibrarian said...

The blank Handy would be nice, but any of them would do just as well. It does look like a nice notebook. Best, and keep on blogging.

maverick.librarian AT gmail DOT com

Steveareno said...

I wasn't a regular follower of your blog before, but I am now. These look fabulous.

The Good Captain said...

These notebooks look absolutely superb! I'd really like the Peewee version - don't care what colour!
The Good Captain

Bridgett said...

The ruled handy would be awesome! I'm not an artist so I almost never have a need for a blank page. bridgettt [at]

dizzypen said...

These look promising! I'd love to test drive one.

ginigin said...

I enjoy your doodles as much as the review. Would love to doodle on a blank one.

Melinda said...

You don't have to enter me in the drawer since I just found this blog, so I do not count as a regular reader... but I will be.

I love the "handy" size. Am I write in thinking is is a bit more narrow than a moleskine or does it just look that way? I would like to see the tablet size as well. I may have to order some of these! Thanks for sharing.

PJH said...

I am ALL about the paper in my sketchbooks! All other details take a backseat for the quality of the paper. Ink bleeding through the paper is a no go for me so this is exciting. I can no longer get the Sabrina Ward Harrison sketchbooks you previously mentioned (sad) so I am anxious by a possible new book to become addicted to. Thanks for the opportunity! (

Sam H said...

these look very interesting.

Readymade said...

Made in Vietnam but sold and marketed by a Korean. Interesting! I like the red cover very much. Picked 1 up when was in Seoul earlier but haven't tried it yet.

DebS said...

Very nice.

dmerle at

kp said...

Another great review from you! I do follow your blog very closely, but typically don't comment. I admit, I brake for giveaways. []

a.sutton said...

Hi Julie I would love the handy and have been a fan for ages. This and Lady Dandelion are mybfavourite blogs!

Stephanie said...

watercolor! :D I love notebooks of all kinds. btw, I need to send you my new address... perhaps this afternoon will find me at a post office, picking up cool "I've moved" postcards. If they even have them.

If this comment wins I would prefer the blank one, in fact.

stART said...

Dang! Missed the deadline! See.. it doesn't pay to get caught up on household chores! *sigh* Bye-bye, Blankie! *waving sadly*.... Nice of you to do, too! *G*

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