Custom Page Notebooks

“Well, he who finds the Grail must face the final challenge.”
“What final challenge?”
“Three devices of such lethal cunning.”
“Booby traps?”
“Oh, yes. But I found the clues that will safely take us through, in the Chronicles of St. Anselm.”
“But what are they? Can’t you remember?”
“I wrote them down in my Diary so that I wouldn’t have to remember.”
Henry and Indiana Jones in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

After I did a posting about the calendar stamp, I was contacted by another Kickstarter project. I guess once you post about these projects, it draws attention. I will not make a habit out of it, but that project got me thinking. On the one hand, I’m very skeptical about their project, on the other, the idea is intriguing.

The project in question is Mixiw, which proclaims to be a modular notebook:

Image from Mixiw Kickstarter page

In contrast to ring-binders, you change blocks of paper with Mixiw’s binding system:

Image from Mixiw Kickstarter page (converted from animation)

I’m not sure whether I would trust the binding system, but suppose it works flawlessly, the first question I’ve had was: “So, where’s the advantage compared to a ring-binder?” I mean, with a ring-binder, you can exchange single pages, so in terms of flexibility, Mixiw comes up short.

I asked the creators and they gave me this reply:

Ring binders work with single pages but we prefer to be able to use the double page at its fullest like a standard notebook. Also, with booklets you can organize and combine them faster than individual pages, while having the opportunity to use planners and agendas as a module.

Frankly, the second part of the reply does not convince me. Organize and combine booklets faster than individual pages? Sure, perhaps a few seconds when you configure the pages. But once you’re done you’re done and can use it at the same speed. And with a ring-binder, you keep the flexibility.

I think the first part of the reply gets closer to the unique selling point of the product. You can work with a double page. If you use booklets you can actually work across the page. There is no gap.

But I do think that they miss the main advantage of their system: You get the feel of a book with the flexibility of a ring-binder.

If — and that’s a big if — the system works and packs the booklets densely enough to really give you that notebook feel. It depends on how tight the system holds the pages, esp. over time. If it is really stable, they might just be able to replicate that precious book feeling. No wiggly ring-binder pages, no gap or obstacle in the middle of the book, just pages.

Yep, you can still only exchange blocks of pages (booklets), but essentially, nothing is stopping you from printing them in the way you like. Going back to my previous experience in binding books, you only need to think about the order in which you print the pages (the page spreads are put on top of each other, usually 8 pages, then folded in the middle).

For people who like notebooks, yet want personalized pages, this seems like a very good solution.

And it seems like the creators are thinking along the same lines:

We are planning to facilitate the creation and customization of booklets for the DIY aficionados. But we’ll work on it once Mixiw gets funded and all the backers have received their rewards.

But of course, there’s nothing stopping people from creating their own pages. Measure a text block, figure out the print order, and cut the pages to size after printing. Or find out how to print on the blank pages.

I can see the advantages of such a notebook, but I’m careful in my judgment here. It all depends on the binding system.

But I can’t help but wondering whether this wouldn’t be something for people who want to have a professionally looking notebook with custom content (appearances do matter). And thinking along the lines, I wonder whether this wouldn’t be something for choirs. After all, they usually are in plain view, many of them need to have the lyrics/sheet music available, and if they have their own custom repertoire a run-of-the-mill songbook won’t cut it. And if they are successful and realize their project as advertised, they might want to spend some time thinking about nicer covers (e.g., leather bound and personalized).

Anyway, their project got me thinking. If they are successful I might even try it out. Not for a daily planner but for a book of quotations and reminders. The stuff too personal for a commercial printer.