Apica Notebooks Overview

Above: Apica brand overview. I show the different sizes of Apica CD and Basic notebooks. For full product details, it’s best to check out my site where I have everything laid out in a more browsable (is that a word?) manner than I can post here on the blog. The notebooks range in size from a 2.75″x4″ to 7″x10″,  and are priced from $1.80 to $8.60. The main idea with these notebooks is that they’re relatively thin, and great for single-subject or single-topic applications. Sheet count ranges from 28 to 52 sheets in the CD, 50-100 in the Basics. The CD’s are the thinner notebooks, and the Basics are more like lab notebooks.

Below: Apica Paper Test.  Okay, so my video on the brand overview ended up being really long, so I broke out the writing test into a separate one. The CD paper is good, similar to Rhodia in smoothness and performance. It’s not quite as ink resistant with wetter pens and inks, but it holds up about as any non-Rhodia paper I’ve seen. The paper is slightly different in the CD than the Basic notebooks. The Basics have a lightly gray tinge, and have a longer dry time than the CD paper. Still pretty darn good stuff, but it is different enough where it was worth comparing in the video.

In this video, I test a Pilot Custom 823 medium with Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro, a Pilot Metropolitan medium with Diamine Red Dragon, a Pilot Custom 74 medium with Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts (wow, I’m just realizing I use a lot of Pilots!), a Pelikan m200 italic with Noodler’s Apache Sunset, and a Lamy Vista fine with Noodler’s Black.

The CD notebooks come in a variety of colors, and in everything but the smallest CD5 and CD7 notebooks, are available by the individual color. The CD5 and CD7 are only offered in mixed packs, so you can only get a random choice of 4 colors. The different colors include (in order you see here) Black, Light Blue, Light Green, Mustard, Navy, Red, Sky Blue, White, and Yellow:

None of the paper is perforated, and it’s all lined. The line rulings range from 6-7mm, and the paper is all the same weight, about 80g.

Apica CD15, CD11, CD10, and CD7.

Apica 6A10 Basic notebook, lab-style with 7mm ruling.

There you have it! There’s Apica, hit me up in the comments if you have any questions.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-06T17:42:15+00:00 March 18th, 2013|Paper Reviews|29 Comments
  • Erin

    I'm happy to see that you're carrying more notebooks with white paper! I'll have to give this a shot when I'm done with my beloved Clairefontaine.

  • psychdude

    I LOVE this paper. That is all.

  • The notebooks appear to lie flat. What kind of binding? Can they be folded backwards?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Brian, is the Apica paper acid-free/safe for archival projects?

  • Dr. Moby

    Love the design on these—even out-retro'd the retro Clairefontaine '51s! Btw, I think the technical term for the folded groups of pages is a gathering—it works that way on printed books (signature is also used in pre-1900 books), so I assume it's that way for blank books as well. A Quo Vadis Habana would have 5 gatherings, a CD-10 would have 2 gatherings, etc. Thanks for keeping the great products coming!

  • Yeah, we're trying to expand as we're able : ) This should be a pretty popular brand, the paper holds up better than I thought it might.

  • Haha, cool.

  • They definitely do. They're stitched binding with a reinforcement around the outside. There's no reason you can't fold them back on themselves.

  • Ah, gathering! I knew there had to be a better name for it than whatever the heck I was trying to call it 😛 Thanks! 😉

  • Marta

    The Apica notebooks are attractive. I can't wait to try them. Brian, in reference to your observation of the notebooks with the 'hairy-like' look to them. I wonder if the paper the covers are made from actually do have fibers running through them as many Japanese
    papers do that are made of various plants such as in rice paper and other art papers? Just a wild notion.

  • The term you were looking for describing the grouping of folded pages is "signature".

  • voretaq7

    This would be my assumption as well – a dark-colored fiber embedded in the paper.

    Point of interest, if you look VERY closely at US currency you'll see something similar: US currency paper has small red and blue fibers embedded in it – far fewer than on the Apica notebook covers, but they are definitely visible.

  • There seem to be a number of terms for a folded bundle of pages. I thought it was a "fascicle."

  • Mary A

    You have Apica!!? I am so excited to see this. These notebooks have fantastic paper, but have been hard to find. Thank you!

  • johntdavis


    Thanks for the great, thorough review. 🙂 I had a couple questions.

    1. From the ink test it looks like the CDs do a lot better job with FP ink than the Basics. Is there any situation where you'd prefer a Basic to a CD for paper ink/handling reasons?

    2. How hard is it to tear sheets cleanly out of the notebooks without making the whole thing fall apart? I'm used to staple-bound little notebooks like Field Notes: very easy to get the paper out, but since the pages are stapled in as soon as you pull 1 page (half a sheet) the other half of the sheet is sticking in the notebook only because it has not yet realized freedom is within its grasp. But inevitably, it does, and its mad dash for freedom will begin.

    Thanks again.

    P.S.: I love seeing another 823 in a video. I'm the only person I know who has one (or even has heard of one) outside FPN and the blogs. I do wish they still sold the smoke/grey ones, though. Amber and gold is nice, but it's very 1980s chic. Of course, if they wanted o make me really happy they would do a smoke one with rhodium trim. Or any version with rhodium trim. 🙂

  • I'm looking into that. Other retailers who sell the paper are advertising it as acid-free, but I don't have anything in my correspondence with Apica that says it is. It's something I'm trying to get an 'official' word on.

  • Yes, that's a good point. US currency does have kind of the same thing, though not this much of it. I'm sure it's some kind of fiber, but it really looks like hair!

  • Thanks!

  • How do you pronounce that? 😛

  • Yup! The paper is quite good, especially compared to most notebooks.

  • The CD paper does hold up a little better, except with the Noodler's 54th, that was weird. The main advantage to the Basic notebooks is the higher sheet count, the 6A10 has 100 sheets, which is 3 times that of the comparable-sized CD15 (34 sheets).

    I wouldn't tear the sheets out of these, quite frankly. Most of them are just a single gathering/signature/fascicle of paper, and tearing out a sheet will guarantee that you'll have another sheet in the back that will be falling out. That's just not what these notebooks are designed for.

    I'm glad you like my 823 🙂 I had it inked up already from my couple of Vac-filler videos last week, so I thought I'd just go for it. I'm not sure if Pilot stopped making the smoke 823's, but I know they weren't brought into the US. I'd love to see something different than the amber, but actually, the color has really grown on me recently.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    I love the Apica brand! I'm glad to see it here and at a price that competes with my other source. It's great paper, it's thin, and the notebooks themselves are thin. They are plain, simple, and get out of the way so I can do the job.

    I'm within one page of being able to start writing in a 6A10 notebook. Looking forward to that!

    There are a number of great Japanese brands, and clever innovations in stationary. I hope you'll look at some of them as you are able. (And, as another commenter noted, it's great to see the Pilot Custom 823: my favorite pen.)

  • Michael

    Do any of these notebooks fit inside the Midori passport sized traveller's notebook?

  • Elros

    Brian, do these notebooks conform to European size standards? Such as A5, A6, etc.

  • David

    "Most advanced quality gives best writing features & gives satisfaction to you"

    I don't think I can carry a notebook with that on the cover into a business meeting or a classroom.

  • Brandon

    Why? No one looks at the cover and if they do, it's not like you customized it to say that. Use the paper you like! 🙂

  • In Bibles I know it's called a signature.

  • colrehogan

    I noticed at the beginning of this video that you sounded like you were talking in a can. Hope it was a technical glitch or temporary equipment issue that got sorted out.

  • Chelsea Payne Muller

    Just curious, what does "CD" stand for? thanks!