The Leather Notebook: Pelle Journal & Pilot Birdy Pen


No smartphone or tablet can replace the experience of writing in a leather notebook with a good pen. It makes everything you write more significant, ideas, drawings, journal entries, everything. Not that you should worry about only writing down “good” things, but there's something subconsious that happens when writing in a leather book like this one from Pelle, like everything you write in it carries more weight.

I've always been a fan of nice notebooks, I've made my way through Moleskines, Field Notes, and handmade numbers. The cool thing about this Pelle book, besides being handmade in the USA, is that it can hold 3 replaceable notebooks. Fill 'em up with great notes? Swap them out for some new ones, without having to drop the cash on a completely new leather book, while also saving yourself precious bookshelf space from a stack of Moleskines.

Each Pelle Journal comes with one 64 page notebook, and is available at JetPens for $29.99, along with this awesome mini stainless steel ball point pen for $6.75

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • Jonathan N.

    I can very much agree with the leather notebook as to how it affects the weight of your writing. May I suggest a Lamy Al-Star fountain pen in lieu of a ball point? I write rarely but it certainly has affected my writing and my mindset when I do. It costs about $30 and is a great quality pen.

    Warmest Regards,
    Jonathan Nguyen

  • Misha

    Andrew, it’s a great looking notebook. Is it easy to keep open when it lies flat?

    My biggest problem with a lot of notebooks is that they won’t stay open, unless I continuously keep them that way. So far I’ve tried several different ones (Moleskin, Rhodia, Miquelrius and several other ones I found at Barnes & Noble), and yet I found one that I’m absolutely in love with. The closest to that status was Miquelrius – I really like the paper quality and how grid lines are not in your face (as in Rhodia). Made me wish I had access to them when I was in school. I’m very intrigued by grid dot book by Behance (, but I haven’t tried it out yet.

    Here’s something else I wanted share. Some time ago, I came across this site that has reviews for various notebooks: Though the post is from 2008, most of these notebooks are still for sale.

    • Andrew

      Misha, It stays open better than a Moleskine, but you still need to hold it open. Since it’s just a paper bound book inside of a leather cover, you can fold it along the spine pretty easily without doing any damage. That helps it sit flatter.

  • Eric Henao

    Another pen option…The Space Pen. The great thing about it, writes everytime, very smoothly. Lots of options, sizes and colors. And my fav, you can store it in your car, and no matter how hot or how cold it gets outside, it won’t blow up, leak, or fail to write for you. I use the Bullet version. $26.

  • Andrew

    Jonathan, and Eric, thanks for the recommendations, both sound very nice! I’ll have to give them a look-see.

  • Dustin Crowell

    Another suggestion would be the products made by Doanne Paper. These guys offer great service, are made in the USA, and even offer a Horween leather cover for their pocket notebooks. Great people.

    As for a pen, my countycomm embassy pen is boss. Machined aluminum and housing a space pen cartridge is the best thing I’ve ever carried.

  • Ricardo

    I have a leather skin that was made for me (i live near mexico, so hand-crafted custom leather work is very cheap) that works just like this one does, only it was made to fit standard composition books in it.

    Every September, I stock up on Composition Books from the “back to school clearence” rack at Target, and voila: Stylish, practical, and easy to replace pretty much anywhere.

    I agree Andrew that every man should carry one of these around in their messenger bags, especially creative professionals. Not only does a notebook not require boot-up time, but the experience itself is more tactile, which makes it easier to commit to memory.

    • Andrew

      Ricardo, that’s awesome! I’m jealous.

  • Martin

    I have to agree with Dustin regarding the countycomm titanium embassy pen. I got mine a few months ago and while it is pretty expensive for a pen, its so damn nice that you want to write more! It has a great weight to it and the space pen cartridges are amazing.

    Added bonus that it can be used as a Kubotan for those into the Martial Arts.

  • Christopher

    Great find Andrew! I’ve just placed my order for both of these along with an extra notebook to seperate my notes. Thanks for this!

  • Carlos

    Thanks Andrew! And I’m with Christopher. Just placed my order… I’ve been looking for a great little notebook and this sounds perfect!

    • Andrew

      Carlos, Awesome! Glad you like it.

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