Translated by Sandy Lau
Nakamura Print Shop’s Flat Notebooks: You'll Want To Use Them Forever!
Written by chia
How do you choose your notebooks? A notebook that was purchased from a small residential printing shop became a huge topic in January 2016 on Twitter in Japan for being easy to use. That notebook is one of Nakamura Print Shop’s Flat Notebooks.
When you think about what most people worry about when using a notebook, wouldn’t it be the fact that notebooks fold back on themselves and it’s difficult to write in the margins between the pages?
A line of notebooks that solves these worries, called the Flat Notebook, were made by a long-standing printing shop in Japan. The notebook is made so that the pages pile on top of each other to make it easy to write no matter which page it’s opened to. Each notebook is made by hand.
This time, we paid a visit to the place where these notebooks are produced and sold. We also asked about the story behind the development of the Flat Notebook line.
Nakamura Print Shop: A Long-Standing Workshop Located Downtown
After walking five minutes from Itabashi Station on the JR Saikyo Line, and entering a narrow alleyway, you will arrive at a small printing shop. In January of 2016, the Flat Notebook line that is produced here became a huge topic on Twitter in Japan.
The Grid Notebook, a product in the Flat Notebook line, was what sparked the talk about the notebooks. It doesn’t look much different from other notebooks but is popular for being “easy to write in!”
Nakamura Print Shop, where the Flat Notebooks are produced, is a family-owned company with a history going back 110 years. Currently, President Teruo Nakamura (President Nakamura), the second generation owner, manages the company.
Business continued forward while grappling with the printing industry since the founding of the company, but, when some time had passed after President Nakamura became the proprietor, the waves of digitization began to surge forward. The demand for paper printing gradually began to lessen.
As others in the same industry began to close their shops one by one, President Nakamura had to think about what his next move would be.
Sensing their critical nature of their situation, they participated in and brought their newest products to an exhibition about five years ago. Despite their efforts, the response to the notebooks they displayed for collecting tickets and stamps from trips was lacking. Amidst their worries, they were given this advice: “How about trying to make a notebook perfect for Japanese students?”
Based on these words, President Nakamura set out once more to create a new notebook.