I haven't ever done a review of anything from Word. Notebooks. I haven't avoided it on purpose, I just rarely use any of their books, reasons for which I will get into in a minute. This summer they released the "Beach Vibes" collection, a series of 3 different covers with amazing summer / beach-themed photos. Unfortunately, they aren't available in a mixed 3-pack, so if you want all three, you have to buy all three. The Beach, Palm, and Surf books all use the same paper and are the exact same in every way, except for the cover photo.
Word. Notebooks is a company based in the USA, and all the notebooks are made here. Like Field Notes, they're a design team that outsources production to local printers in New Jersey, where they're headquartered. They have books that are available all the time and limited editions, though they don't have a subscription or really even a schedule when the LE books are released. They just show up on the site and social media, from what I can gather. The covers are always really great and well designed. I've yet to see anything that turned me off...even things that didn't speak to me directly, I thought "yep, there are people who will like those." The cover stock is 120#, 100% post-consumer recycled, the Neenah Desert Storm. It holds up well in the pocket, but since this white paper is used for all their books, when carrying a dark book for a while, the white will start to show through in the cracks.
The paper inside is a little different from other notebook companies. They offer a system inside, which is essentially ruled with some round bullet areas in the left margins. They give you a key on the inside cover about what to do with thos bullets, as a guide to their system. It's somewhat a blend of pocket notebook and bullet journal. They claim to want to help you take better notes, and the system if built for list making and task management. The bullets on the side, like in bullet journaling, are there to help you see which tasks are in progress, important, finished, etc. This is really the only ruling they offer, except they do sell one dot grid model and something called the Adventure Log that has a special layout for tracking your "adventures" apparently. The paper inside these books is 60# text paper, Lynx Opaque Ultra Smooth White. Despite the name, I don't find it to be very smooth, let alone Ultra Smooth. It's got a bit of tooth and is good for graphite and gel / rollerball pens, but fountain pens feather all to hell on these things. There was a little bit of bleed-through with certain pens, but the feathering was the worst of the issues. If it weren't for that, I'd say it was good paper for FP users, but I'm guessing many won't be able to get over it. I see a lot of fountain pens with their books in their Instagram feed, but I'd take that with a rain of salt.
Part of me feels Word. are more interested in making their brand look cool than putting out the best possible product. That's not to say these are entirely terrible. The looks make them a joy to carry, and for someone like me, a mainly graphite user, they do the job of a pocket notebook to jot things down quickly just fine. But one would think that somewhere along the line these companies would check the paper with various writing tools? Instead of choosing the lowest common denominator, go for something with a little higher standard? The common theme among some of the comments I saw when these first came out was along the lines of "wow, beautiful, love the beach scenes, too bad I can't use their paper with my favorite pen".
As a simple, toss-around pocket notebook for $9.99 per 3-pack, if you can overlook the fountain pen thing, or you don't care because you use another writing tool, I say go for these. If your writing instrument choice is more important than the notebook you carry, then think about it before you buy. I'm not a Word. Notebooks junkie like I am with some of the other companies, but I will bite when a cool cover strikes me, and these Beach Vibes books definitely did.
Available from Word. Notebooks. $9.99 per 3-pack.