Field Notes Dime Novel Review

Inspired by 19th century publications of the same name, the Dime Novel edition from Field Notes is quite a departure from what they're known for, both in design and theme. This is the 36th quarterly limited release, and only the third to come in a size different from the standard. While I don't have much love for this edition, I find the story behind it very interesting and very Field Notes. For more info on the original dime novels, check out the video on the FN Dime Novel product page, linked at the end of this review.

Lets start with the cover and binding. The cover is 100# French Paper Co. cover stock, Safety Orange. I dunno why it's called that, because this is anything but. It's barely orange. It's closer to the Kraft books than orange, but it definitely has a brown-orange thing going on. No matter the name of the paper, it's a pretty good fit for what they're replicating, and a nice heavy stock. They print the whole thing with the "Dachshund Nose Black" ink that they use for the Kraft books. The entire cover is embossed / debossed, and what a tough job this must've been, because the back cover holds a huge list of "More Field Notes Publications" in a very tiny print. The only part that was off-register in my pack was the debossed seal on the front of the book. The rest of the cover is embossed and is perfectly on register. I've seen pictures of others' books, and that's not always the case. I think it being off-register adds to the style they're emulating and I would have no problem with it if my books were.

The binding is Smyth sewn, 3 signatures of 24 pages each, for a grand total of 72 pages. They've glued the cover to the signatures, so to get a nice flat-laying book, you'll have to do a little bit more spine breakage than you would on something that wasn't glued at the spine. Once you do it, you should have more trouble keeping it shut than keeping it laying flat.

Dime Novel size vs. Kraft

Are we calling it "Stitch Day" with this one?

Along the spine.

In the release notes they mention that this is the highest quality paper they've ever used in their products. I can vouch for that. It's 70# Strathmore Premium Wove "Natural White". There is a slight creamy tint to it, but it's closer to white than something we'd consider "ivory". It was really great for fountain pens. I had only one issue, and it was with a really wet M nib that honestly bleeds in everything that isn't coated like Rhodia. It's textured enough to be good with pencil, yet I found the paper to be really smudge-prone. This is also a weird thing, and maybe it's just me, but I found that it felt like writing on something hard. I don't know another word for it. Anyway, if the Workshop Companion paper were this clear of imperfections, I'd say it was a better paper than this, but alas, this is still great paper. It's also the first quarterly edition that is blank (Sweet Tooth doesn't count because of the colored paper). I'm not a huge fan of  blank pages myself, but this link from the Well-Appointed Desk has helped me in the past. As I mentioned above, these aren't the standard 3.5" x 5.5" Field Notes size. The size is meant to be the same size as the Dime Novels were at their time, 4.25" x 6.5".

The subscriber extra is a neat little 1" pin that is a reverse of the debossed badge logo from the cover.

This is a really neat edition overall. It's not for me, but I'm not disappointed by it. I love the theme, even though it is a departure from what I like about Field Notes. I would have loved to see a crazy illustration on the cover like some of the books shown in the product video. The size is kind of a 'tweener. If I still had my Jncos from high school, it'd be pocketable, but as it stands now, I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for. If I finish this first one, I'll consider using the second one, and if I've not found a use case by then, I'll just stick my second pack in the stash box and await the winter release.

Available from Field Notes, $12.95 for a pack of 2.