I’ve always been interested in disc-bound notebooks. They seem like the best of both worlds right? Keep everything where you need it – all together – but flip to any page, pull it out and you can pop it back into your notebook where ever you need it to be!
First things first, there are many disc-bound systems. I know Staples do their own one system but the one that took my fancy was a brand called Atoma. Atoma has been around since 1948 and whilst I’m not 100% sure on this – don’t hold me to it! – they seem to be the first people to have curated this idea!
I bought my notebooks from Cult Pens. They’re based in the UK but they do offer international delivery and they have a large variety of notebooks, pens, pencils and everything in between! Even if you don’t think the Atoma notebooks are for you, I’d recommend checking out Cult Pens for their amazing products and their top quality customer service.
I bought two A5 Classic Colours Card Cover Notebooks. These are the cheapest notebooks in the range, but they do offer some more ‘luxury’ versions with polypropylene plastic covers, leather covers and also some with elasticated closures – of course the price goes up depending on which you choose but from what I can tell the paper quality and type remains the same. They also do each of these types in wither A5 size or A4.
Generally speaking, for the cheapest notebooks, they’re not bad quality. Because these notebooks had the cardboard covers, they were slightly soft and I was able to flex them about. And because the cardboard isn’t super thick, it also means that the covers got bent a bit, but with a bit of carefulness, I doubt this would be a big issue. I dragged it back and forth to work with me and it survived car journeys, being tossed in a bag and being pulled back out again and still shows minimal signs of wear!
Onto cost! Both of these notebooks cost me £4.49 each. I don’t think that’s a bad price at all for a notebook you can personalise so much! The A4 size in this style of cover go up to £7.49 but even that price isn’t bad.
Paper Quality & Refills
Each notebook comes with between 144 and 200 pages of 90GSM weight paper – the amount of paper depends on which type of notebook you go for. There are a variety of styles of paper to choose from; plain, 10×10 grid, 4×4 grid, 5×5 grid with margin, lined, dotted and seyes format and most of the options come in both white or cream colours. One thing I did notice was that some of the inserts are specific to the colour of paper so for example, you can’t get dotted paper in white and you can’t get seyes style in cream. Again, this isn’t a big issue as you can simply mix and match, but it’s just worth noting!
The paper does feel nice and thick and the grids/lines are nice and bright but if I’m honest, they’re a bit too bright for me! The lines aren’t subtle and do stand out, and although I don’t love it, it wouldn’t stop me using them.
So as I mentioned, each notebook comes with 144 – 200 pages when you buy it, but you can buy refills. The refills cost between £2.99 and £7.50 depending on size, style and colour and you get 120 pages in each refill. I don’t think that’s too expensive when you consider the system you are getting as a whole!
I tried a variety of types of pen in my pen test. I use a sharpie, a ink rollerball, a standard ball point pen, a fountain pen and also a marker pen. As expected, the marker pen failed the test and the rollerball ink pen did start to bleed a little bit but the other pens had little to no ghosting or bleed which I think is pretty good considering I’m a heavy writer and I did trial an ink fountain pen!
Atoma also offer a couple of accessories that increases the flexibility of this notebook and allows you to make it to however best suits you. They offer both cardboard and polypropylene plastic dividers (in both sizes) and a ruler that sticks out of the top of the notebook (like the FiloFax ones) to show where you are. Because of the type of binding this notebook has, it make’s it incredibly simple to just pull these accessories out and reposition them as and when you need to amend your setup.
I personally didn’t get any of these but if I was going to use these notebooks for a more dedicated purpose like a project book or for work, then the dividers would definitely come in handy.
Another accessory which blew my mind (not in a good way!) is the hole punch. Of course because this is such a clever system, it requires its own special punch. I wouldn’t mind buying a dedicated punch for a system that I really found worked for me, but the Atoma notebook punch is just outrageously priced at £139! I’m not sure why it’s quite so expensive but one way around this would be to just buy the refills as they aren’t that bad of a price.
Overall I do really like these notebooks. Their versatility is amazing and the idea of adding dividers into the notebook to really separate out notes is perfect and for the price, these notebooks aren’t to be sniffed at!
I hope you liked this little review on the Atoma notebooks and as I find more notebooks which intrigue me, I’ll review them too!
In the meantime, I’ll see you soon!
*I paid for these notebooks with my own money and all opinions are my own. I specifically mention Cult Pens as they are the company I prefer to use and I’ve found them to offer the best customer service and prices.