Flat Pens Revisited

Bookmark PensJust about a year ago, I was obsessed with making a flat pen that would fit into a book or journal. A flat pen, I reasoned, would allow the pages of a book to “flow” better.

I finally stumbled upon some readily available ones right at Barnes & Noble, which commenter Claire had first brought to my attention the last time I was penhunting in Boston. Thanks for the tip, Claire!

Bookmark PensThe flattened pen is about 4.5 inches long, 7/16th of an inch wide, and a mere 1/8th inch thick. The clip adds another 1/16ths of an inch to the thickness, but still lies flat. While the build quality is a little on the light side, it’s a pretty stable writing instrument for short sessions. There’s some flex in the pen body if you exert some force on it, but it’s one step above the usual cheap-o novelty pen. They are also prettier than the folding wallet pen I saw on LifeHacker.

Each pen was stamped “patented” with the mark “Slip Grippa”, which lead to the manufacturer’s website. If you’re looking for tsotchkes to give away at a tradeshow, you can order them in a variety of colors from Grippa, singly or in packs. You can order them customized with your own logo and any one of 29 colors (PMS color matching is available too). Perusing the website, I saw that they also have a metal version that might have a more substantial feel. I’ll have to get a hold of one and try it out.

If you’re near a Barnes & Noble, the flat pens are packaged as bookmark pens and cost $4.95 for a CD-style case of 8. They are also available online at bookmarkpen.com, if you can’t find them at B&N.

UPDATE: So you want to see what they look like inside a moleskine?


  1. Chris Harrison 8 years ago

    Ya know, if these had been different colors, I might pick myself up a set as well. I have a set of Zebra Sarasa pens that I love for their compactness and color availability :)

  2. Gary Grainger 8 years ago

    I washed up her via Lifehacker and the flat pens, because I’m interested in pens personally and I’m involved in a group looking for promotional items for the team I work in. However, I’ve had a good poke around and I like what I see – consider yourself added to my bloglines list (I wanted to say blogscribed, then realise that there isn’t such a word. Then I realised that there isn’t such a word – yet. So I just <strike>made it up</strike> researched profusely and invented the word)

  3. Jeff L 8 years ago

    Congrats on being Lifehacked – yet again.  How many times is this now?

  4. Joe Helfrich 8 years ago

    I don’t suppose anyone’s seen hi-lighters like this?

  5. Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Chris: Those Zebra pens sound aweseome…I’ll have to look for them! I love pens :-)

    JeffL: I try not to think about it :-)

    Gary: Heh, excellent word! Thanks for joining the fun! What kind of cool promo items did you find? I admit to having a soft spot for promotional gew gaws.

    Joe: I’ve never seen a thin highlighter like that, but I haven’t really looked. I’ll keep an eye out now.

  6. CW 8 years ago

    Ok, but what is the writing experience like? (says the fountain pen fan)

  7. Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Hey CW,

    For its size and weight, it’s a surprisingly good-feeling pen. It doesn’t win any awards for comfort. I find the experience a little cramped, but still pretty controllable; in situations where you’re scrabbling something down as you’re standing up, the pen isn’t the limiting factor. I have noticed, though, when writing on stable surfaces, the pen feels ever-so-slightly “loose”. Partly this is attributable to the ball-point’s tendency to not make a mark right away, and also the very slight give in the pen nib as it moves around in its color and flexes ever-so-slightly. Most people probably wouldn’t notice it, but the experience is certainly much different from a nice weighty, comfortingly round and precise pen with luxuriously flowing ink. Still, I’m impressed that the grippa works so well given its dimensions.

  8. Serdar Kilic 8 years ago

    cool, anyone seen them in Sydney (Australia)?

  9. Ian 8 years ago

    i cant seem to find these pens anywhere. cant really buy them off the main distributors site by the pack.  ebay doesnt carry them and the barns and nobles near me do not carry them. they have moleskins and journal supplies but not these pens.

    i’m a digital design major and i dont do much “writing” i type alot, i got away with out having to bring a notebook or pen to any classes for a whole quarter one time. but now i got to get serious. i have pens and paper for class but i much rather have the thin pens and a small journal. i mostly use pencil but putting those in your pockets hurt or break.

    any other suggestions on how to get one of these small pens?

  10. Ian 8 years ago

    Yes i’ve continued to look at every book store, art store and what not and have not been able to find them. the grippa website doesnt seem to allow you to buy just 1 CD pack, smallest quantity is 50. Ebay doesnt have them either. any ideas folks?

  11. George Ziniewicz 8 years ago

    Can’t get much smaller than this:



  12. Jeremy L.S. 8 years ago

    thanks for informing me about these, i bought some the other day and they work well with my moleskines.

  13. Melissa Centazzo 4 years ago

    Where can I buy them now four years later!?

    Thanks, Melissa

  14. Author
    Dave Seah 4 years ago

    Melissa I think I’ve seen them as recently as a year ago at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, in their stationery section.

  15. Ed Barnett 4 years ago

    David, Just wanted to update you and your blog that we have recently added some additional shipping methods for USA and International orders that should produce some significant savings for most.

    Best regards,
    Ed Barnett

  16. Saj 5 months ago

    I am trying to find metal bookmark pens in the uk. Does anyone have any ideas where I can get one. David Shea mentioned in his article but I can’t find the link to find one on the net Regards Saj

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>