Journals are more than a place to keep random musings. They can be keepers of memories, conversations with oneself, and snippets of inspiration. In other words, these are highly personal objects. The best softcover journals look beautiful, are built to last, and feel pleasurable to write in. While these can be less sturdy than their hardcover companions, they tend to be more lightweight and are easy to slip it into a small space. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite softbound journals below.
1. Moleskine Classic Notebook
Highly regarded for its stripped-down yet elegant look, Moleskine is our top pick for not only aesthetics but also functionality and variety of notebook options. The Italian brand protects its notebooks in a buttery-soft faux leather that is luxurious to the touch, and the ivory pages—although not bleed-proof—are supersmooth. Each is slim and tightly bound and features a ribbon bookmark, inner pockets, and an elastic band to keep pages together when not in use. No matter how you want to use your journal, Moleskine has you covered, offering notebooks with plain, ruled, gridded, or dotted pages.
2. Beechmore Books Ruled Softcover Notebook
This is a timeless and sophisticated notebook that will last a long time. Bound in high-quality faux leather, it features crisp lined paper of substantial weight—thick enough to take ink from a fountain pen without bleeding. Compared with Moleskine’s lined notebooks, the lines are slightly wider and darker, which some people might prefer. Beechmore Books’ journal is available in seven tony colors, from Dartmouth green to chestnut brown, and it comes with a ribbon bookmark and a sturdy binding that is built to withstand bending and loss of pages.
3. The Unlabel Dot Grid Notebook
If you’re looking for an option that can help you mark or track your musings, a paginated journal might be a smart choice. This one features smooth pages with dotted grids, and the page number on the outer bottom corner of each sheet is small and subtle. The dots allow you to write in a straight line while offering you flexibility to draw charts, make lists, and much more. Unless you’re using a very inky marker, the pages are thick enough to generally prevent bleeding.
4. Twone Travel Journal Set
There is a greener alternative to soft book covers made of leather or faux leather: kraft paper, which still presents a minimal and fashionable aesthetic. This set of six journals from Twone features covers made of 50 percent postconsumer recycled paper that are much easier to customize than leather while effectively protecting your work. The journals are tightly stitched, but you can still open them completely flat, and the pages are thick enough to use with a fountain pen without bleed.
5. Minimalism Art Soft Cover Notebook
This is a great option for those seeking pages with well-defined grids. The squares are not too big but not too small, and their borders are opaque rather than translucent. The sheets are also nice and thick—you can fill them in with inky pens, markers, and even paint, and minimal bleed will occur. The faux leather covers are soft but not too bendy, and they give the journal a professional look. The one thing this option is missing is an inner pocket, although it is finished with a ribbon bookmark.