mynd vs. rolla vs. circa

I can't beLIEVE I found this site!! I've been going crazy trying to find a sturdy, foldover, "junior"-size notebook with removable/reinsertable pages that's less expensive than circa, and here are lengthy discussions of not one but TWO more options – involving people who are as nuts about notebooks and organization as I am!!

I'm still trying to decide among these choices and I have a few questions; some may have been answered already elsewhere and if so I apologize, but I'm hoping you'll indulge me. Here are my thought/questions:

Circa
Pros: the beautiful leather cover of the foldover notebook
Cons:

  1. the cost of the beautiful leather cover of the foldover notebook
  2. the paper, which, with its blank rectangle running down the left side, isn't practical for me. I'm just looking for plain lined paper. Plus it's expensive.

Solutions to cons:

  1. become wealthy or more freewheeling with my $. (Or, anyone have one they'd like to sell cheap...?)
  2. Use rolla paper refills? Would that work?

Rollabind
Pros:

  1. price
  2. index tabs available

Possible cons:

  1. the cover looks cheap and plastic-y in pictures. is it?
  2. from its appearance and comments in this forum, the cover is flimsy. I'm looking for a cover that I can lean on when writing, like those of the steno pads I've been using. Another problem if it's flimsy is that the cover extends beyond the paper, which suggests it might get crushed or bent. (Although a longer cover would work better with the index tabs.)

Myndology
Pros:

  1. price
  2. the cute factor

Question: how sturdy is the cover, i.e., can it be leaned on?

General questions:

  1. Would anyone recommend myndology over rollabind, or vice versa?
  2. Is the paper in these systems strong enough not to tear when it's removed/re-inserted multiple times?
  3. Can anyone think of a reason to steer me AWAY from the circa leather notebook? (You'd be doing me a favor...)
  4. Any other comments to offer?

Thanks for whatever input you may have. Glad to have found you!

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welcome

Hi notebklover,

I'll try to help you out a little.

The Circa leather foldover is Luscious!! The window down the left side takes some geting used to, but I was surprised how much I use it.

The Circa plasti covers are the heaviest of the three brands, Yes I have them all ;-), while Myndology is the lightest/thinnest.

Last year I happened upon the Rolla set of a Letter- and a Junior- size notebooks at Target on clearance, They have held up well. Target had them at the Back-to-School time. Maybe they'll be back this year.

By "lean on" do you mean that you're a heavy-handed writer? If so, I'd recommend the Circa covers for the plastic. If you have a Target or Staples nearby keep an eye out for the Return of the Rolla Notebooks.

Hope this is helpful!

I have since seen the, now recalled, Rolla notebooks at Staples and they were very inferior to the ones at Target.
It has been reported that the product at Staples was going to be improved and re-stocked. Don't know about progress on that front.

thanks

Hi Pinky,

Thanks for your comments. By "lean on" I simply mean that most often I'd be using the notebook on my lap rather than on a hard surface. If the cover isn't sturdy enough, the book would sort of bend around my leg rather than stay straight. So, would either the myndology or rolla work? Or do I simply have to buy the Luscious Levenger cover?

Circa notepaper

The Circa leather foldover is Luscious!! The window down the left side takes some geting used to, but I was surprised how much I use it.

I have to agree with that sentiment. I bought a bunch of paper from a wonderful person on this site, wondering how I would use it, but I find that column valuable for different things--call-outs of important points, headers, outline numbering, checkmarks--many things. Yes, you may think that you are losing something, but what you gain is many times, much more. BTW, this is loosely based on the Cornell note taking system (Google it), which is slowly revolutionizing the notetaking world in universities. ;-) (ok, maybe I'm exagerating a bit)

-Jon

As far as covers go, I just

As far as covers go, I just found a couple of the Staples clothbound covers used and I'm really pleased with them. They're very sturdy. I can write on them without the notebook bending at all.

The Rollabind covers are indeed cheap-looking. Also, the covers are floppier than you want.

(I still want Circa leather foldovers, though. Maybe if I win the lottery... Heh.)

As far as paper goes, the Rolla stuff is okay. It's probably 24#. My fountain pen ink doesn't bleed through. I've never tried the Levenger paper.

Hope this helps.

--
Steff
[ web site ]

The Circa translucent

The Circa translucent plastic covers are sturdy, and if you fold back the covers when you write, then it would be double sturdy (two covers back-to-back). And they're pretty cheap - at $10/- for letter size or $8/- for junior size, you get 4 covers (2 front and 2 back) for 2 notebooks.

Levenger Outlet

Keep your eye on Ebay for the Levenger Outlet. I've noticed some of the Leather Foldover notebooks on there in the past couple of weeks. Maybe you can get one for a good price.

I've tried all three

I've tried all three brands. Circa notebooks are the exact same technology as Rollabind. Levenger licensed the technology from Rollabind. Myndology has their holes spaced the same distance as the other two, but the holes are T-shaped rather than mushroom shaped. So you can switch paper with all three systems, but using Myndology with the other two just doesn't feel right.

Circa and Rollabind are the only systems like this I know of that have hole punches readily available at less than $100. Myndology is great if you just want a blank notebook. If you're going to want to print out custom forms, I'd go Circa/Rollabind.

The Circa covers are wonderful and the paper does surprisingly well being removed and reinserted a few times. If you do it often enough, the tabs will eventually wear out but you can reinforce them with tape & hole punch or Circa's reinforcement tabs.

My suggestion, and this will depend on what you're going to use this for. I use my Circa notebook as a planner. Don't jump in and buy a leather foldover notebook until you've decided which size notebook is right for you. Start out with the Circa sampler or samplers and if that works for you, you can use Rollabind refill paper in Circa notebooks no problem. Levenger sells a pack of samplers that include the sampler notebooks in their available sizes. You can also get extra Circa covers and rings and make your own notebooks.

-Kenny

i think i've got it

This has been really helpful, everyone -- thanks. Based on all this info, I think I've got it figured out. The concept is to start with a less-expensive-than-Levenger system that will be compatible with the Levenger leather cover if/when I decide to spring for it. So:

From rolla:

  1. Notebook (much less expensive than circa and you get about 2x the sheets to start)
  2. Discs (same reason)
  3. Punch

From lev:

  1. Covers (sturdy enough for my needs)
  2. Tab dividers (prettier than rolla's and on sale)

I figure it's less expensive to dive right in and buy everything, thereby saving on future shipping charges. (. . . "thereby"? where did that come from?)

Kenny, I'm sure about the junior size and page format because I've been using steno pads (perfect size) for years and I'm buying the new system to replace those. I use the pads to take notes at various places where I'll want to see the previous notes each time I go back (doctor's office, etc.)and it's been frustrating keeping track of several pads and trying to keep related notes together. The circa/rolla system sounds ideal.

And yet, I remain uninitiated . . . so wondering if my plan sounds about right or if anyone has other suggestions.

Thanks again!

Sounds good to me :) I

Sounds good to me :) I enjoy hacking and fiddling with things to personalize them... its my "illness" but the reasons you have listed are very solid.

I think you will be pleased with your choices... and probably find yourself addicted like many of us here. :)

my artwork | my blog

Just so you know, the paper

Just so you know, the paper from Levenger is of much better quality than the Rolla stuff.

Also, Pendemonium (www.pendemonium.com) still has some of the Clairing notebooks for $6. They are A4 sized (European-sized; not quite US letter sized) but have the rings like a Circa system with the absolute best paper around (imo, at least :D ). Click on 'stationery' on the left, then on 'Clairefontaine' and scroll down.

wilde ideas

Clairefontaine is great, and I checked out pendemonium, but I'm sure the junior size is the best for what I need, so the clairing wouldn't work -- but thanks for the tip.

My problem now is I'm having trouble accepting that this plan is going to cost over $67, and there isn't an ounce of leather involved. Over half of that is the punch, but it still seems pretty steep.

Another dilemma now, and perhaps this should be a new thread, is I can save a lot at Wilde-Ideas, which is selling Rollabind stuff for 20% off + negligible shipping -- but their policies are very unfriendly. First, they're not clear on whether you can return for a refund or just an exchange or credit, and 2nd, if you return something you still have to pay a restocking fee and the full shipping price, even if you didn't pay it to begin with. I don't like to buy from places with those kinds of policies, but mainly, since I've never used these products before, I'd like the option to return them without penalty. But I wouldn't mind saving that $. (Based on the comments in this forum, I have a feeling the response is going to be, "Don't worry about returns! You'll LOVE the stuff, guaranteed!") Has anyone dealt with this place?

Should I post this sale in a new thread so more people will see it?

Wilde-Ideas

Hi.

Call them first to see if the stuff you want is in stock--the web site isn't tied to the inventory system so you can't get any idea that way.

You'll be happy with the punch no matter who you get it from. It's solid. If you end up not using rolla/circa for whatever reason, it's an easy sell here or on eBay if you can't return it for whatever reason.

The discs are what they are, inexpensively made bits of plastic. Also an easy sell here or on eBay. The only quality problem you're going to have is the mold marks (search the rest of this site for "mold marks" to find out how to deal with them).

If you are worried about colors, you might call around to your local scrapbooking specialty stores and see if they carry the discs. Some do. If you want to see a selection of pastel colors, you can send me a dollar and I'll mail you one tiny sample disc of the ones I have by 1st class mail.

Anyway, ask the folks at Wilde what they'd do about these items in particular. They might not want to take a return, not sure. But the stuff is incredibly salable on the net so you're not without recourse.

shris

I think a key component to

I think a key component to this is the punch. The punch is what will enable you to use whatever you want in terms of paper, inserts, etc. I made a post-it note section in my planner by punching some laminated card stock and taping the post-its to it.

I just recently purchased the Levenger Circa system. Admittedly, I do not know much about Rollabind, but I have a habit of going w/ a cheaper alternative, only to find that I'm not ultimately satisfied and then buying the more expensive solution later. I would suggest buying the Circa punch, a set of discs, and the sampler notebook. This will get you started, and may be all you need. Then, if you decide that you just LOVE it, (like so many of us do), you could spring for the leather foldover notebook, or ask for it as a gift.

I got the Levenger Circa jacket b/c it was on sale. I love it. It can't bend back like the foldover can, but I love it. I have 1" discs in there, and it still seems quite slim to me.

Good luck in your decision. April
My notebook:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/16085142@N00/

took the plunge

My name is Notebklover and I'm a Rollaholic.

I haven't even held this stuff in my hands yet and I'm obsessed! I ordered everything today and am not yet sure how I'm going to wait 'til it arrives. I can't stop thinking about all the things I'm going to punch and stick in notebooks and how that'll help organize my life (or at least my desk) and save space, and be fun to boot. Visions of notebooks dance in my head as I fall asleep. . . . I've learned the smurf is a cruel mistress.

I just hope everything's as great as I expect it to be. I must say I'll be woefully disappointed if it isn't. But I will find a way to go on.

Every single response here helped me decide what and where to buy. Thank you so much!

:D

If you are anything like me you will be very happy smurfin' everything in sight. :D

Oh and I *DO* dream about notebooks and pens and stuff... Sometimes the answer to my hack projects await me in dreamland :) Gotta love the magic of the human subconscious~!

my artwork | my blog

Thank you to everyone!

So... after reading all of this, my questions were all answered!! I have been debating whether the Circa leather is worth it, but since the accessories are so expensive, I had wondered if the system was interchangeable with Rolla (especially if I invest in a punch).

I have the junior Rolla, clothbound cover, and it is amazingly just like the Circa ones at Levenger (for 1/2 the cost!). The are missing the elastic, however. And I resolved that with a DIY project (craft store, elastic, hole punches, you get the picture).

But now, I'm addicted, and want to get the letter size.

Thanks again!