Hardback Notebooks

For a long time we’ve been collecting these German books, the slender hardbacks by Insel-Bücherei, for their beautiful patterned covers.

They’re the same size as a Ladybird Book, but with finer card covers, and covered with hand-block-printed patterned paper. They were produced from 1912 onwards: economical editions of all sorts of classic texts, produced to a high aesthetic standard. They really are lovely.

And there are hundreds of them: over 1400 in fact.

Plus all the similar books they inspired, like these wonderful Penguin Poets paperbacks:

The Penguin Poets are a little bit fragile now, and if you don’t read German fluently, the contents of the Insel-Bücherei books might be of limited interest. So, they tend to sit on a shelf, being looked at appreciatively from time to time, but that’s it. We began to think how nice it would be to have a collection of books like this that you could actually use every day. The Insel-Bücherei are robust yet slim and light-weight. A notebook like that, we thought, could easily be carried around in a bag all day for taking notes, yet not weigh you down.

We decided to get some prototypes made:

Cambridge Imprint Hardback Notebook Little Stars petrol blue
Cambridge Imprint Hardback Notebook Seaweed Paisley Prussian blue
Cambridge Imprint Hardback Notebook Pear Halves permanent rose
Cambridge Imprint Hardback Notebook Smocking yellow

They have 80 pages of fine matte cream paper, they are properly bound and sewn and they open perfectly flat. In fact, they are everything we hoped they would be: slim, elegant, robust and very pretty. We’ll be busy with them all summer and they’ll be for sale in the autumn.