08 Jul 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:
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.