review, notebook

Bargain Basics: Costco/Spiceboxbooks Notebooks

Next up in the reviews of low-cost notebooks are ones that I’ve been tempted by many times.

I all-caps LOVE Costco. As soon as I got my car, I got a Costco membership. I could do an entire blog series about growing up in poverty and food scarcity and the healing balm that having a full and well-organized kitchen with yogurts and cans of black beans in little organized rows is. But, back to the subject at hand. Costco’s book section. They always have some sort of notebook there. Often, they have big ole’ hardcover notebook three packs. I’ve always been tempted. This time, drunk on birthday bliss and delirium from being at Costco on a Saturday, into the cart they went.




That comes to 4.66$ (CAD) a piece, peoples. COSTCO. These are true hardcover, and they’re big, about 7×10 inches–so it’s about a B5, but not exactly a B5. Eyeballing it, I thought it was a standard composition size, but it isn’t. (sad beep). Anyways, on to the innards.

Canadian made, eh! I love this aspect of the notebook. This info makes it easier to investigate a bit further about this company which is also apparently the source for all my “I survived a Saturday afternoon trip to Costco, so I will treat myself with this little lettering craft kit box” gifts to myself.

The notebook has a few little perks that I didn’t expect from an under five bucks book. An elastic closure (which for me is a make-or-break in a daily carry notebook or really any notebook of any kind these days), a pocket in the back, and a ribbon bookmark. The pages (160 pages, not numbered) are lined–which I like for notetaking, and are a soft-on-the-eyes cream colour and not a bright white. The binding appears to be sewn, not glued and it lies flat with a bit of coaxing. My only quibble is that in some sections of the book, the lines don’t quite line up from one side of the book to the other side–a minor quibble at such a cheap book. So now, the ultimate test: how does this handsome gentleman hold up to inks?

I used the same pens and ink (I had room to throw one more fountain pen in the mix) and here are the results:



So, you see a minimal amount of ghosting, but only bleeding where I made the “I dare you to bleed, and pretty much know you will” squares. I am sold. I have been looking for notebooks as the voice is still telling me to go to seminary–and I’m about to go back to Costco and get a big stack of these. Because notes for class should be on paper and notebooks should feel all medieval and fancy. Or as fancy as Costco can give you.

These would also make a nice gift package with a Platinum Preppy for someone who was coveting your fancy-pants note taking stylee. I’m even thinking that in the fancier colours, full price might even be attractive.

So, the rundown:


  • Definitely inexpensive
  • Lined (if that’s you jam)
  • Bigger than an A5 (could also be a con, as these aren’t wee)
  • held up to most pens well
  • Multipack


  • Costco availability–on the website ONE notebook is twice the price (still a pretty good deal, tho)
  • This is a basic notebook: no index, no page numbers, no extras. Notebook.
  • Lined (if that’s not your jam)
  • Large size

My take: if you’re looking for a real live notebook, in which you take notes, go fill up on these before I beat you to Costco.


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