The composition book remains a useful format for writing, and possibly, a simple pleasure.
These books are single signatures of 50 pieces of paper, sewn and folded in half, creating 100 sheets. The cover is cardboard and fabric. The standard dimensions are 190mm/7.5″ width, 247mm/9.75″ height.
The Mead Composition seems to be the classic. Also shown here are a few others that I found at a university bookstore. They are:
Mead Composition, MeadWestvaco Corporation, made in Vietnam
Environotes Recycled Comp Book, Roaring Springs Paper Products, made in USA
100% Recycled Composition Book, Top Flight, made in Taiwan
New Leaf Composition, New Leaf products, made in Brazil
All except the Mead proclaim the use of partial or majority recycled materials. The Environotes stands out slightly with the muted colour scheme, square corners, and 80 (rather than 100) sheets. The New Leaf book easily had the brightest paper.
All have tables for class schedules on the front inside covers. The back inside covers have “useful information”, mainly weight and distance measurement conversions. The Mead is alone in having a grammar section.
I have to note something about the price: each is $C4.29. The same bookstore sells a large Moleskine notebook for $C21.00. (Right now, one Canadian dollar is $US0.96 or €0.78.) They are not the same products at all – but the almost fivefold price difference surprised me.
The Mead composition book may in fact be magnitudes more successful than fancier fare. It doesn’t have an active PR department or online marketing team; it does seem to have wide distribution, being available in big box office supply stores, the stationery corners of department stores, and even the small university bookstore I visited.
Some online reviews suggest these books are not great with fountain pens or fibre tipped pens. I won’t dispute that. But trying a nice pencil, there is no problem at all. That is a typical pencil advantage – many paper types accept graphite quite easily.
I like the fancy brands, but the composition book still seems appealing for many purposes.
What do you think?