Flat Pens Revisited

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.


Barnes and Noble still has them on their online store!


  1. Chris Harrison 18 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 18 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 18 years ago

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

  4. Joe Helfrich 18 years ago

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

  5. Dave Seah 18 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 18 years ago

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

  7. Dave Seah 18 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 18 years ago

    cool, anyone seen them in Sydney (Australia)?

  9. Ian 18 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 17 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 17 years ago

    Can’t get much smaller than this:



  12. Jeremy L.S. 17 years ago

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

  13. Melissa Centazzo 14 years ago

    Where can I buy them now four years later!?

    Thanks, Melissa

  14. Author
    Dave Seah 14 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 14 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 10 years 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

  17. Janice Black 9 years ago

    Would love to locate some of these (or something similar) for my dad, but this article is from so long ago that all of the links are broken, and none of those products seem to be available any longer.

  18. Author
    Dave Seah 9 years ago

    Hey Janice! I checked Barnes and Noble, and they still carry a variant of these pens. They’re for local pickup only. If you’re in the United States, though, you might be able to get them. I updated the article with the link.