Monday, 26 May 2014

Review of the Midori MD A5 lined notebook

Two reviews in two days... At this rate, I might actually review all my new notebooks before buying some more...
[ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha... who are you trying to kid ???????]

Anyway, today it is the turn of the Midori MD A5 lined notebook, bought in The Journal Shop’s 20% off everything sale. Again, no affiliation, just a happy customer. As ever, click on any picture for a bigger version.

I bought the Midori MD notebook because I was intrigued. I haven’t got a Midori Traveller Notebook but I have heard good things about the paper and it is the same paper used in these notebooks.

It’s a good notebook. The paper is fabulous. I’m not convinced by the bold line across the middle. There are 176 non-numbered pages. The notebook is 149mm x 210mm.

Front cover


The notebook had a slip-cover of what feels like waxy tissue paper. I’m sure it has a proper name (tell me what it is in the comments if you know it!). Around the outside of that was a label, which was all in Japanese, so I can’t tell you what it says.

Back cover (still in the plastic wrapper)
Waxy tissue paper slip cover

Once you remove the slip cover and loose label, you see the cover of the notebook. It is made of thick cream card, with a small “MD paper Made in Japan” logo embossed in the middle of the RHS. The binding is hard to describe – it looks like an open-weave bandage that has been firmly glued to the spine. Again, this probably has a proper name and again, tell me in the comments what it is if you know it! The pages are bound with thread-stitching.

Front cover with slip-cover tissue paper reflected back

There is no pocket in the back – this is a basic notebook.

The first page has a space for putting something – title, picture, whatever. Underneath the space is MD Notebook Made in Japan and the Midori logo. Inevitably, this page is glued to the next (the next being the first lined page of the book) so that the next page doesn’t open out fully. There were two labels (and a blank one) – ‘idea’ and ‘diary’ though I am not sure where they are supposed to go – they are too big for the box-space on the first page and I think the spine is too rough for them.

First page

The pages have 27 lines with a line-spacing of 7mm, a top margin of 16mm, a bottom margin of 12mm and an inner margin where the lines don’t reach the spine of 2mm. The 14th line down (in the centre of the page) is bold.
I do not know why. Nor do I much care for it. It remains to be seen how much this will piss me off when I use the notebook, but at first glance it’s annoyed me.
The page edges are all squared and extremely smooth-feeling.

Bold central line.

The paper is lovely to write on. Forgive the crumpled look to the pages – I didn’t extract them from the book very well (I was worrying more about the book than the removed pages to be honest!). The book also lies as flat as a bat! The open-weave bandage/thread-stitching binding works a treat! There is a page marker of narrow, dark green ribbon.

Fountain Pen Tests:
The paper was glorious to write on (as you might anticipate, it being Midori and all that). No feathering, nice crisp lines, smooth and not too ‘grabby’ but one of my inks took a while to dry as a consequence of the surface of the paper, so lefties may want to just test out their pen/ink combos.

Fountain pen tests - no feathering...

Almost no bleed-through. When I first did the test I thought there was none at all, but there is a smidgen. It’s better than the Leuchtturm books but still not as good as the Clairefontaine Age Bags (what is??). bleed-through

Hmm. Only 3 ½ (out of 5). The paper is delightful to write on, but they are more expensive than my go-to Clairefontaine A5 Age Bag notebooks (about twice the price) and without many more bells and whistles. And that bold line is more irritating than I thought it would be (though it might grow on me).


  1. I could see where that bold center line would annoy someone greatly. My eye kept going to it in each of the pictures where it was shown..Aye! That would also be an issue with me. Glad that it has no bleed through. As these journals reasonably priced, say, compared to Rhodia's webbies?

  2. Hi there, thanks for stopping by!
    I've never bought the Rhodia webbies, but I think they are a bit more expensive than the Midori MD. The Midori MD was about £12 without discount. By far my first choice is still an Age Bag A5 notebook by Clairefontaine (pack of 5 is less than £30 from Bureau Direct)!