Even though I’m a heavy Evernote user, I still like writing things down by hand, especially in meetings, where I find it’s less distracting. Financial Engines, where I work, has a culture where most “notebooks” brought to meetings are made of paper, not plastic and circuit boards, which actually helps meeting productivity immensely.
I’m promiscuous when it comes to notebooks — I’ve rarely bought the same one twice, always searching for the next best thing. Moleskine’s are alright, but I find their paper quality not that great, and I just like to be different. Now I think I have found a notebook I can stick with for a while: the Leuchtturm 1917 Medium. (Don’t ask me how to pronounce it…)
I bought my first one about six months ago, and just purchased my second one now that the first is almost finished (both bought from European Paper, one of the few companies in the US that stocks them).
Mine are both white, which is a refreshing change from the standard black (and looks great with my white HTC One X, and my silver MacBook Air!), plus it’s easier to see in a bag. It has the standard expandable pocket in the back, elastic strap to keep it closed, and bookmarking ribbon (also color coordinated). These have all held up well.
I find the light color, spacing and thin weight of the page rules exactly right. There’s very little show-through from the opposite side of a page, no ink bleed through (at least with what I use it for), and the paper is a nice cream color (I don’t like the more sterile blue/purple tint of Rhodia, for example). The book folds completely flat with no problem, and the spine is still in great shape. The pages are numbered (unlike a Moleskine) if that matters to you, and there is a page at the front to create a table of contents to reference specific page numbers. The 1917 also comes in dot pattern and blank pages.
The cover has just the right pliability/rigidity balance, and has rounded corners to avoid damage. The front is completely blank, and the back has a discrete embossed logo. Included with the notebook are several goodies, including colored stickers to label pages or sections.
I prefer to keep a pen bound to my notebooks, something I always have been frustrated with Moleskines. Leuchtturm sells a nice elastic loop that adhesive attaches to the inside cover. You could use this on any notebook of course.
It’s not worlds different than a Moleskine (there are other notebooks out there that really try to be iconoclastic), but I would put it like this: Moleskine is VW, Leuchtturm is Audi. Pretty similar, both good and solid, Leuchtturm just has more polish.
I definitely give this my stamp of approval, but you can find much more in-depth reviews with a quick Google search.