Our DIY Ultimate Note-Taking Notebook post at Lifehacker.com has received quite a bit of buzz over the past week. After reading through the comments I thought it would be a good exercise to address some of the questions and concerns readers are having.


When designing the Ultimate Notebook, keeping costs down was a relatively low priority. Premium materials were chosen to create a notebook that would be enjoyable to write on and durable enough to survive a semester of heavy use. As a student, your notebook is a tool of your craft, you shouldn’t hesitate to spend a few extra bucks on an item of such high importance.  

That being said, I believe many readers are overestimating the cost to make an Ultimate Notebook. The paper chosen is expensive at $20 dollars for a ream (500 sheets). With a full ream you can make five 100 page notebooks, $4 each. The paper perforator is a machine which you can use for the length of your college career to make notebooks. Although it’s a small investment up front, $45 on a tool used for several notebooks each semester is well worth it. To put it in perspective, that’s one night of drinking at a bar. Your other option is to have Staples perforate the pages for you at $0.20 a sheet. Finally, binding with nice plastic covers and coil binding will cost $7. Ink cost will factor in as well, but this will vary from printer to printer (Hint: take advantage of the office photocopier in the last few days of your summer internship). All in all you’re looking at a price per notebook of approximately $11, a small price considering the thousands you’ll spend in tuition, books, computers and coffee. 

“Paper sucks. Cornell Notes suck.”

At HackCollege we cover a wide variety of note taking methods and tools. Admittedly for certain classes, a laptop just seems more efficient than paper. On the other hand, I find writing notes out by hand with drawn visual aids takes learning to a whole different level. This varies greatly from person to person, we encourage you to employ what ever technique gets you the grade. Similarly for Cornell Notes, the extra processing and massaging of recorded information has shown to be beneficial in many subject areas. Quality Regular lined notebooks are widely available, this is isn’t the case for Cornell Lined notebooks. The Ultimate Note-taking Notebook is attempting to solve this problem. Drawing out the Cornell lines on a blank page prior to the start of lecture is a pain in the… It’s much easier to let your printer do the work all at once at the begging of the semester. 

“You’re pretentious.”

That’s quite possibly true, but there is a premium niche that needs to be satisfied in all markets. Many buy a Mac because they “just work”, others buy BMW’s for the “German engineering”, the Ultimate Note-Taking Notebook is designed to be a joy to write on and make it through the whole semester. If that’s what you’re are looking for, then I suggest you put in a few minutes of effort and whip up a batch.