They’re pretty awesome! I confirmed a run of 500 notebooks with the printer, and they’ll be hitting Amazon US sometime in early April if there are no snags.
The features of the Mini ETP Notebook were decided by the survey results; most popular in the US, according to my survey, was a vinyl cover ETP that was spiral bound in half-letter size. I modified those specifications to make the notebook 5.8 x 8.5 because it’s easier to slip a half-sheet of letter paper into the notebook and not have the edge stick out. Also, I went with double-wire loop instead of plastic spiral because it’s stronger and looks cleaner.
The cover is a black 16pt vinyl, which is not rigid but not too floppy either. You can see how the notebook bends in the middle photo above showing the thickness of two notebooks compared to my fountain pen.
It will be printed offset in 2-spot color process, on the same high-quality fountain pen friendly paper on the full-sized ETP pads. The prototype notebook, incidentally, was produced using paper on a digital press using a regular 4-color CMYK process. Here’s the difference that 2-color spot makes, versus 4-color process:
Click the image to see it bigger, otherwise you won’t see the difference. The sample on the left is 4-color process magnified using a macro lens, as it appears on the digital press prototype. 4-color CMYK is great for color photographs, but not so good on fine lines. For that, you need spot color, which is shown on the right. This sample is from a printed full-size ETP pad. You can see that the orange-colored details are SUPER SHARP, and even the half-toned blue lines are clean; a virtue of using a single halftone pattern as opposed to 4 of them. The ETP Notebook will use spot color and eliminate the halftones. It should look really, really sharp. The difference in clarity is, perhaps, imperceptible to the average user, but it does contribute to the sharpness of the product. Plus, I like knowing it is as clean as possible.
The notebooks will be available in April 2013, if everything goes smoothly! Much thanks to Papergraphics, my printer, for putting up with all my questions and sourcing everything to make this possible.