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A notebook (also notepad, writing pad, drawing pad, legal pad, etc.) is a book or binder composed of pages of notes, often ruled, that are made out of paper, used for various purposes including recording notes or memoranda, writing, drawing, and scrapbooking.[1][2][3]


Paper notebooks

Paper notebooks can be distinguished along several dimensions and sub-dimensions:

  • type of surface and support.
  • Form factor (size and weight)
  • binding and cover material (including printing and graphics)
  • pre-printed material on writing surfaces (lines, graphics, text)

The specific dimensions determine the most suitable usage for a given type of notebook.

Legal pad

According to legend, Thomas W. Holley of Holyoke, Massachusetts invented the legal pad around 1888 when he innovated the idea to collect all the sortings, various sort of substandard paper scraps from various factories, and stitch them together in order to sell them as pads at an affordable and fair price. In about 1900, the latter then evolved into the modern legal pad when a local judge requested for a margin to be drawn on the left side of the paper. This was thus the first legal pad.[4]

The only technical requirement for this type of stationery to be considered a true "legal pad" is that it must have margins of 1.25 inches (3.17 centimeters) from the left edge of legal pad.[5] Here, the margin, also known as down lines,[6] is room used to write notes or comments. Legal pads usually have a gum binding at the top as opposed to a spiral or stitched binding.

Binding and cover

Principal types of binding are padding, perfect, spiral, comb, sewn, clasp, disc, and pressure, some of which can be combined. Binding methods can affect whether a notebook can lie flat when open and whether the pages are likely to remain attached. The cover material is usually distinct from the writing surface material, more durable, more decorative, and more firmly attached. It also is stiffer than the pages, even taken together. Cover materials should not contribute to damage or discomfort.

It is frequently cheaper to purchase notebooks that are spiral-bound, meaning that a spiral of wire is looped through large perforations at the top or side of the page. Other bound notebooks are available that use glue to hold the pages together; this process is commonly referred to as "padding".[7] Today it is common for pages in such notebooks to include a thin line of perforations that make it easier to tear out the page. Spiral-bound pages can be torn out but frequently leave thin scraggly strips from the small amount of paper that is within the spiral, as well as an uneven rip along the top of the torn-out page. Hard-bound notebooks include a sewn spine, and the pages are not easily removable. Some styles of sewn bindings allow pages to open flat, while others cause the pages to drape.

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