Lots of notebooks claim to be ‘lay flat’. In most cases, that means ‘doesn’t shut itself if you take your hand off the page’. In the case of the Galen Leather Notebook (the ‘Everyday Book’), ‘lay flat’ means exactly what it says. Even from new, with no break in, and whatever page you open it to, it flops completely open with no resistance at all. The pages lay truly flat.
In fact, the whole notebook is super flexible, making it ideal to stuff into a crammed bag in a way that would be impossible with a hardback notebook, or one with a stiffer or card cover.
This limbo feat is a neat (and very useful) party trick, and one that doesn’t seem to have compromised the solidity of the square-spine binding at all.
I’ve been using this notebook for work for a few weeks now, and it’s holding up a treat. As always with a Tomoe notebook, you can tell how far through you are just by looking at the page edges, but the cover and binding are showing no signs of wear.
The lay-flat binding is not the only thing this notebook has going for it.
For £27 (in A5 size) you get a decent 400 pages of the 52g variant of Tomoe River, with neat charcoal-black cover sheets at front and back.
You get a super soft and flexible leather cover, with some of the neatest trimming and rounded corners I’ve ever seen.
And you get a pretty cardboard presentation box with Galen’s ornate branding to make the first unboxing a delight.
While the only printing option is blank — no grid, dot or lines, no page numbers, no perforations, no fancy productivity pages — Galen includes thick paper guides with both grid and lined options. They also include a leather blotter, which works much better than I thought it would.
The front cover and spine are featureless, but Galen have imprinted their logo and the notebook’s specs prettily but unobtrusively on the rear cover.
With its leather cover, mine in Crazy Horse Brown, the Galen Leather Notebook is one of the most attractive and durable Tomoe options out there.
After 400 pages of carry, it should look beautifully worn. And yet the leather cover is not thick, bulky or inflexible. If you normally use a protective cover with your A5 books, you’ll be able to fit it to this notebook too.
At £27, with its volume of Tomoe, leather cover and high-quality finish, handmade in Turkey, this is a bargain of a notebook.
I got sent mine for free from Galen for review. As soon as I’ve depleted my stock of Tomoe, I will be buying another. You can get yours here.