Living with the Leuchtturm1917 Master Dots notebook

I did a short review of the Leuchtturm1917 Master Dots a while back.   I’ve been waiting until I filled the 5×8 size Leuchtturm I’d been using. On the 19th of February I wrote my first entry in the larger book. I’ve filled 31 pages so far.

I’ve developed some fairly strong opinions about it:

  1. I’m very surprised to find I love a big book. Yes, it is hard to fit in a pocket, but it fits properly in a briefcase. I haven’t yet traveled with this book, and traveling might change my mind, but I don’t think so. A full size book has so much room I never hesitate to put something in it. I feel like it will hold everything. In a small book I feel like I can’t afford white space. In a big book I don’t worry about it, and it makes a big difference in readability. Diagrams, mind maps, and the like can be the right size. There’s room to breathe.
  2. This is not a book for jotting quick notes while standing in a store, or that quick phone number while meeting someone briefly. I’ve found that the letter-size sheet I have my next-action list on works fine for these items.
  3. The covers are way too thin. The book is floppy, and I fear the covers are going to end up being pretty ratty by the time the book is full.
  4. An elastic band on a full size book is annoying. When sliding the book into a briefcase the band is horizontal, and that means that it either hooks on stuff while sliding the book in, or other things get stuck in it when sliding them in. More than once I’ve pulled the book out to find a file folder suck in the band. On smaller books it’s more of a necessity because they’re more likely to be carried loose in a bag. On a big book it’s just not needed.
  5. The paper is great. Love the dots, of course, but the paper is thicker than the paper used in the smaller books. It is 100gsm vs. 80gsm, and it’s nice and heavy. Little show through, and so far no bleeding, but I’ve been writing mostly in pencil. If you’re happy with regular Moleskine or Leuchtturm paper this will make you happier, if you have problems with bleeding this might help.
  6. The table of contents design is ok. I like BookFactory’s one entry per page design better, but any table of contents is better than no table of contents.
  7. Pages 219 to 232 perforated. I HATE perforated pages in a journal, and it’s even sillier to do it in a book this size. If I really, really need a piece of scrap paper that bad I can just tear out part of a page. There’s no need to ruin perfectly good pages by perforating them. Thankfully Leuchtturm1917 doesn’t get carried away with this nonsense, and only does 8 sheets. They also perforate far enough from the binding that they can be taped to make them permanent.
  8. The pocket in the back doesn’t hold a letter size sheet. It’s about 1/8″ too narrow. Sheets have to be carried outside the pocket. I’m not too upset about this, and after years of using Moleskines I’ve come to see the pocket as a bit of a gimmick. It works for receipts, but more than a few items in there makes the book lumpy.
  9. I can carry letter size sheets without folding them. They don’t fit in the pocket, but that’s ok, and it’s very handy to be able to carry the occasional form or document without having to carry a portfolio.

If you’ve never tried a full size book as a journal, you should. It is a different experience than using a smaller book, and so far I’m finding it to be a much better one. I haven’t actually counted pages yet, but my feeling is that the amount I write is proportional to the size of the book. In general, more writing is more recording, and that’s what it’s about.

The Leuchtturm1917 Master Dots book is NOT easy to find, although the grid, plain, and ruled versions are available. The word from Kikkerland Design, the folks who import Leuchtturm1917 to the US, is that there just wasn’t enough demand so they haven’t been reordering them. They make a slim dots that seemed to be available, but has fewer pages. Personally I’ve come to appreciate books that hold more, and I’d rather go up on the page count than down.

I’m talking to about a custom version of their large book with a dot pattern instead of a grid or ruling. More to follow!

2 thoughts on “Living with the Leuchtturm1917 Master Dots notebook

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