At a bend in the Amstel River not far from the dam that gave Amsterdam its name, there’s an old paper goods shop that first opened in 1869.
It’s a magnet for paper addicts like me. I used to cycle there regularly, park my bicycle on the narrow pavement and push open the door to enter paper paradise.
Narrow shelves reached to the ceiling, stacked with coloured card and paper of every hue—a rainbow feast for the eyes—rolls of patterned wrapping paper, pens, pencils, business cards, all waiting here for you.
But the real treat was up the tiny staircase to the second floor. Notebooks—hardback, softback, spiral—sketch books, drawing pads and true paper delight awaited.
Choosing the right notebook could take a good half hour or so. Was the paper the right thickness, could you get it to lie flat, was the surface smooth enough? The question: “Do I have room to store this at home?” rarely arose.
Gradually, over the years, I acquired a two-metre high stash of notebooks of all shapes and sizes. They would find their way into every available nook and cranny of our little city apartment.
MobiScribe changed all that. From a myriad of different notebooks came just one—or, since the arrival of the Origin—just two A5 notebooks.
The page surface is smooth, the pen flows easily, there are no smudges and no ink. Each notebook is small and light in format, only half a centimetre thick and yet there are endless pages.
I can erase with the flick of a pen, cut and paste, move my handwriting around. Just as with a “real” notebook, I can spare my eyes—no staring at a backlit screen—and work away from my desk, inside or outside, from an easy chair or from under a tree. Writing as it should be: anywhere, anytime.
I can even save my notes to an SD card or in the cloud. It’s handwriting heaven—not least because of the smooth writing experience itself.
The end of paper addiction? Not quite. The colours in the old paper goods shop still draw me in. I’m still using up my old notebooks though have scarcely bought a new one since the first version of MobiScribe flew into Amsterdam in early 2019.
With 2021’s arrival of the Origin, I may become just another tourist, visiting that shop for the colourful view and a length of wrapping paper. Hidden in my bag will be the little device that can replace every notebook in the shop. E-ink infinity has arrived…
- Jennifer Waller