Q&A: In Praise Of…Spiral Bound Notebooks

spiral bound notebook

The benefit of lying flat

What is a spiral bound notebook?

We call them spiral-bound, others call them wirebound. The common link though is that the notebook is bound with a spiral coil, usually made of wire but I guess it could be made of plastic or any material strong enough to cope. Unlike notebooks where the paper is either folded to create a spine, or in some way glued together at the spine, a spiral bound notebook has two separate covers and the pages in between are only held in place by the binding.

So what is the point?

spiral bound notebook lies flat
A spiral bound notebook will lie flat. Really flat.

Quite simply, they are the easiest notebook to fold open. Others may claim to lie flat, some claim to be bendable beyond the call of duty, but a spiral bound notebook just does it with minimal fuss. It’s what it was born to do. You can open your notebook at any page, plonk it on a table and the book covers will lie flat on the table as they are not joined.

And why is that a good thing?

Horses for courses, but if you are frustrated by your notebook being a bit difficult to write in when, especially if you are close to either end of the book where the pages make it lie unevenly, then this could be the answer. And if you have ever tried writing on the go – writing with the book on your lap say – then a spiral bound notebook will win everytime. Usually they will have a hard, sturdy cover and you can fold the cover and pages round to the back creating a solid surface to write on.

So what’s the catch?

spiral binding
The spiral binding may not be to everyone's liking

Firstly, they are bulkier than a bound notebook. Some spiral bindings are quite small, but the bigger the spiral the better the result so it’s catch 22 on that one. The bigger the binding the better the ability to fold pages over but the more it gets in the way. Smaller bindings will be less easy to fold over.

Secondly, there is less choice. Way less choice. So if you have your heart set on a pink notebook, or if it has to have dot paper, then you will likely be disappointed.

Lastly, it doesn’t look as nice. Aesthetics maybe shouldn’t come into this one but in my book they do. The stationery you choose should be both practical to use but also a pleasure to own.

The verdict

Give a spiral bound notebook some thought next time you choose a notebook as they may be the answer. Even if you hadn’t quite yet asked the question.

0 thoughts on “Q&A: In Praise Of…Spiral Bound Notebooks

  1. If a notebook comes with a perforated page – great for carrying around a single notebook, but filing by subject later – then it is more likely to be spiral bound. Japanese filing systems (Lihit Lab, Kokuyo Campus) are also great, because you do not need to carry a heavy load of paper around with you. Great for the hand luggage only business traveller. Special mention though, for the Mnemosyne notebooks from Bureau Direct. They are just lovely. In every. Possible. Way.

  2. The Rhodia meeting books are fantastic for client meetings. Easy noting down of details (date, who you’re meeting, important follow up actions). The fact that they are spiral bound means you only need to have the relevant page showing – perfect for preserving confidentiality. This is more difficult to achieve with another kind of notebook.

  3. I’m eternally frustrated with notebooks that don’t lay flat. Filofax have released their A5 Clipbook range in new colours that look much nicer than typical spiral bound notebooks, and I buy and punch my own preferred papers. I particularly like the Clairefontaine Triomphe pad and Crown Mill writing sets for my set up. It would be lovely if the Tomoe River paper was available from Bureaudirect as loose leaf too!

  4. As an aside, if you have a book that has fallen to bits and you want to keep it, consider getting the spine chopped off and a plastic or metal spiral inserted. It only cost me about £3.00 at our local print shop and not only did it rescue the book from certain death in the trash can, but also gave me a book that LIES FLAT!!!! <3

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