Just now I was e-mailed by a rep for Grovemade, a Portland-based home office goods company. They, too have come out with an odd-sized sketchpad/notebook meant to fit above or below a keyboard, and thankfully this one's not a direct copy of Studio Neat's work. Here's Grovemade's Slim Leather Notebook:
These ring in at $50 a pop. Why so pricey? The notebooks use Grovemade's system of brass discs for removable bindings (so you can replace, remove or re-order pages), the covers are veg-tanned leather, and the thing is made in the U.S.A.
I myself would never use Orangered's BetterBook, even if one was given to me for free; I can't knowingly support design piracy. I could swallow the $19 for Studio Neat's Panobook because I've got a thing for small, plucky design firms. But I could never spend $50 on a sketchbook for myself; I consider them consumable tools rather than keepsakes.
I would, however, spend $50 on the Grovemade book if I was buying it as a gift for someone else. Brass and leather are too fancy for me, but I know others with elevated tastes who'd appreciate it, and maybe that year I'd win the holiday gift-giving arms race that we all engage in.
One thing's for sure: Studio Neat presciently realized that people want, and are willing to pay for, sketchpads that fit on desks with computer set-ups.
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