Field Notes Brand vs. the office supply cabinet


A recent noon hour stroll took me near a university bookstore. As a bookstore, this place is only average for casual book browsing, as it is mainly a textbook store. But they also have a small stationery shop which was stocked with a few items I’d not previously seen in person.

One item that caught my eye was the Field Notes Brand steno book. To me, Field Notes is one of those “internet sensations” that is known to stationery aficionados, but which I don’t expect to see in “real life”. So, it was a nice surprise to see a small Field Notes display in a local store. I picked up a steno pad, and thought it might be fun to compare it with a “real life” item – a steno book that I’d find back at the office.

The office supply cabinet steno book was Staples brand.

A few notes: The Field Notes steno book is 80 pages, and the Staples steno book 350 pages. The Field Notes was $9.99, and the Staples book lists for $3.73. This makes the Field Notes approximately 12 cents/page, and the Staples 1/cent page. Twelve times more expensive per page is a significant difference. Is it worth it?

Field Notes Brand steno book

The two steno books in profile:

Field Notes Brand steno book

Both books are made in the US. The Field Notes has very strong cardboard covers front and back, and the Staples has a medium strength back. The Field Notes has brown lines which nicely match the covers. The Staples has green and red lines.

Field Notes Brand steno book

Green vs. brown:

Field Notes Brand steno book

With some steno pencils:

Field Notes Brand steno book

The Field Notes paper is thicker, and one gets a sense of sturdiness. The results with graphite are similar:

Field Notes Brand steno book Field Notes Brand steno book

The Field Notes gets style points, but I wonder if it would really be the choice of anyone who just needs a steno book?