‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 3. ‘Retro-story’ to tell

Story Supply Co. is a small stationary company based in York, Pennsylvania who creates an interesting  packet staple notebooks, sketchbooks, pencils  and other stationary related items . Basically ‘analog tools for storytellers‘ to allow capture great ideas, designs and of course stories. I like that approach.

Importantly Story Supply Co. has also an interesting ‘story’ to tell. They partner up with several organisations who support free tutoring and provide high quality programs to students in the neighbourhoods where support is really needed.  So, whenever you purchase notebooks from them, they will send a ‘Story Supply Kit‘ to a kid which might have an interesting story to tell. What a great idea! More about Story Supply Kit program you will find on their website here. Cool stuff.

OK, let’s talk about notebooks created by Story Supply Co.

The one I was kindly supplied for this review by Pocket Notebooks (UK)  is available as a set of 3 on sell under pretty good price (£ 11.0 UK or  $ 10.0 in the US directly from the manufacturer).


Cover is made of sturdy 100# French Paper Co. Kraft-Tone paper (cardboard). Front contains nicely  designed  in retro style creamy  Story Supply Co. logotype which nicely fits to pastel blue cover. Back contains SSC logo and web address.

Reverse side of the front cover contains printed space for dates, and other info you can put in like content, address (if lost, etc). Reverse side of the back cover has some words about company’s approach and Story Supply Kit program including list of organizations which support them.

This nice looking notebook contains 48 pages of  beautifully creamy and smooth 70# Cougar Natural. The size is 3.5″ x 5.5″ / 9 cm x 14 cm, which is exactly the same as Fieldnotes. This is a great news because this size became a  ‘standard’ among notebook users and fits nicely to my leather ‘fauxdori’ Fieldnotes size cover I made myself some time ago.

Pages are stapled, but staples hold pages and cover securely. It would look much better and more ‘vintage’ if Story Supply Co. would use stitching instead. But this is really cosmetic and subjective issue I found, and I perfectly understand related costing which in in this case is especially important. Corners are nicely and uniformly rounded and all pages are well aligned so there is no mismatch in the line positions from page to page, which means that Story Supply Co. pays attention to details and quality control. Interestingly, spacing between lines is fairly narrow around 0.5 cm, which I personally prefer more than typical 0.7 cm used by other brands. I think it works better with pocket notebooks. The only complaint here I have is uneven, dotted line. It looks a bit ‘dizzy’ Solid line would be preferable. However, light pastel blue colour matches well with the cover and fits to creamy paper too. 

Fountain pens and inks.

At the beginning I need to emphasize, that my review as such is made from the fountain pen end user perspective only.

The paper Story Supply Co. used for this notebook feels very smooth and overall good quality. Writing experience (of course in this case with fountain pens) is generally pleasant. However, this is quite absorbing paper (a bit too much for my personal taste) and various inks I used tend to show and bleed through, which is unfortunate for me as a fountain pen user. I must admit, I tested it very hard. With finer or standard F/M nibs most people will be fine so the mentioned issues will be marginal or none, but once you use a pen which is more on the ‘wet’ side the effect is not very pleasing, but at the same time not worse (or maybe even better) compared to some well ‘big’ established brands in the market.

Interestingly, Story Supply pocket notebook I have went relatively well through my ‘Ultimate Baystate Blue test’. Obviously, there is some feathering and bleeding which mainly occurred where I placed well saturated spots of ink, but in general I was expecting much worst. Overall acceptable  (I have seen much worse for better brands).

Colors look nice and well saturated, but because this paper is absorbing inks, at the same time  they look a bit flat. This means, that if you are expecting to see any shading or sheen coming from the inks which have such features (Sailor Jentle line, Pilot Iroshizuku or some from Robert Oster’s Signature line), you may be a bit disappointed. 


So,  what is my  final verdict? Well, I think Story Supply Co. did very good job with this notebook. Is very well made and has attractive retro look too. It looks great as an insert for a small leather ‘traveler’s notebook’ covers. I found it a bit unsuitable for my heavy fountain pen demands, but again if you are light handed person who is using fountain pens with a finer nibs and  you do not care much about some particular ink properties like seen or shading, then you will be all right. However, if you like to use bold, wet nibs which put  loads of ink on the paper, Story Supply notebook, may not be for you and you may seek for better option elsewhere.  But, I also understand that nowadays most people (those who still prefer ‘analog writing’ )  use ball pens or gel pens, and all these should be very satisfied and write a lots of stories in these notebooks. It works very well with graphite pencils too.


  • Cool looking retro style notebook (love to have as an insert)
  • Well built and sturdy notebook
  • narrow spacing between lines
  • Overall, smooth good quality paper (but)


  • Quite absorbing paper
  • Inks tend to bleeds through paper with wet pens (but OK with fine drier pens)
  • Colors looks decent but a bit too flat for my liking.
  • Very small shading and no sheen
  • ‘dotted’ lines 

In the UK, you may get them from the Pocket Notebooks who kindly supplied one for the review.


(*) Disclaimer/ I have no affiliation with the all brands and companies mentioned above and this short review reflects only my personal views and findings about the product.











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