"I could probably eat shit everyday" - Kenny

The strange absence of certain products in America

For the last several days I have been trying to find some nice, simple paper and envelopes for writing letters on in the traditional way--personal notes by hand with a pen. Now in Britain I could go into any local newsagents or stationers and buy a Basildon Bond pad and matching envelopes for pocket change ( www.basildonbond.com ). But over here in America, it seems that no such thing is to be found.

Firstly, you don't find newsagents or stationers like you do in England. There are greeting card shops, big office supply stores like Staples or Office Depot, or bookshops like Borders or Barnes & Noble. Secondly, there is not ordinary letter writing paper, there is Stationery with a capital S. Decorated, customized, pre-printed, elaborate and ridiculously expensive sheets of paper or note cards. Crane ( www.crane.com ) comes closest to having reasonably priced plain and simple notepaper, but finding shops that stock it is hard and it's still expensive, more so if you buy on-line.

Anyone have any thoughts on where else to look?
Permalink Ian Boys 
August 7th, 2005
http://www.katespaperie.com/ Hmm. Oh look, they carry Cranes. Looks like they're an exclusively New York thing, but you can go online too.

Try some place that sells nice pens. Art supply stores, like http://www.pearlpaint.com/ for example.

http://www.samflax.com/ is overpriced, but does stuff like fancy pens, stationery, and journals. They were the first place I saw moleskine books.

I'm sort of surprised Staples doesn't carry this stuff. If they don't, it must be because of demand. Printer paper & business envelopes must be what we "make do" with.
Permalink MarkTAW 
August 7th, 2005
Your links seem to illustrate my point. Notice how Kate's Paperie and Sam Flax have really expensive and elaborate things, and a quick browse of Pearl Paint shows plenty of drawing and sketching pads but nothing much in the way of simple writing paper.

Staples might have something; I may take a look tomorrow having exhausted so many other places. But from recollection they have mainly printer and photo paper and business-type supplies (no shortage of 8 x 11 1/2 stock and envelopes of course).

What's really puzzling me is what I am looking for should be a commodity, something you can pick up for a few dollars most anywhere.
Permalink Ian Boys 
August 7th, 2005
I understand why you say it should be a commodity, but it's fallen out of demand. I can't think of any broad demographic that would write letters by hand. The proliferation of cheap and instant communication (phones, cell phones, computers), combined with the ability of computers to do somewhat professional typesetting means that the only reason to write a hand written letter would be nostalgia, or preference, which people usually pay a premium for.

Your mourning the passing of cheap, readily available stationery is similar to complaint that rhythm & soul revivals typically have all the original singers, but new modern sounding session musicians with thick guitars, booming bass and heavy drums. Aside from the songs themselves, few of these revivals ever sound like you're listening to a band in the 60's.
Permalink MarkTAW 
August 7th, 2005
Where are you Ian?

Try this:

http://www.johndickinson.eu.com/usa.asp
Permalink trollop 
August 7th, 2005
"The following office product suppliers stock John Dickinson Stationery.

Office Depot
Office Max
Staples
etc."
Permalink MarkTAW 
August 7th, 2005
Oops, you found an error!