The biggest benefit of being a bookbinder is always getting exactly the right kind of notebook for your own needs. I'm definitely not an early adopter when it comes to bullet journals, though I've made to-do lists in one form or another for as long as I can remember. Maybe this list making experience helped me quickly narrow down what kind of notebook would be ideal for bullet journal use after the flimsy notebook I'd bought from London filled up.
Plenty of pages - I usually avoid making heavy use long stitch journals with lots and lots of pages because during the time it takes for the pages to fill up the stitching on the spine can go through a bit too much. For those who wonder about the thread I use for long stitch bindings: it's the same thickness I use for all my books - I don't like to use thicker thread, because that would also require larger holes on the spine and using thicker signatures (bunches of folded pages) giving the book a bulkier look I don't enjoy, and the thick thread often shows signs of wear just as quickly. My bullet journal is most importantly a work journal, and as I work at home this doesn't get mangled in my bag on daily basis (I'm very kind to my books anyway). Because I don't need to take it anywhere from my desk, it also doesn't have to be featherweight, so having lots of pages is a perfectly good idea in this case.
Pretty cover lining - I don't usually use much patterned papers in my books, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them. The problem may be that I enjoy them a bit too much! I have a hoard of pretty papers stored under the couch in my studio. This particular paper is something I bought on my first grown-up trip to London in 2008 and have been holding on to ever since. It matched the blue-grey book cloth I used better than any other papers, so I thought, I can do this - it's a big sheet and using it for this book means slicing just a small piece from one corner. Maybe I'll use it again in 2024...
Pages - recycled brown paper that has a barely-there-grey dotted grid. The books I sell in my shop have a 5mm grid, or two dots per cm. Mine has 2.5 dots per cm as my handwriting can be quite tiny. I have a monthly spread and weekly spreads with stamped dates for each month, and plenty of room for ongoing lists, stats, and notes at the back of the book.
I have a feeling a large portion of bullet journalists create daily pages, but I just don't have the need to record that much of my life every day, so I can create the spreads for a few months ahead of time and just add my to-dos and meetings as I go. So my bullet journal is basically just a self-made calendar making use of bullet point lists - very simple, nothing fancy, but so much better than any calendar I've ever used.
Just the right amount of extras needed - There's no rule that bullet journaling has to be super colourful, full of cute stamped icons and uplifting quotes framed with washi tape, it can be just your pen and paper (my pen here is 005 Pigma Micron, super super thin, but I also use a black Frixion pen). I personally don't have the time or the need to embellish the pages of my journal as I have this whole life full of other creative things to do, but I do enjoy getting crafty a bit, so I purchased a tiny calendar stamp set just for this purpose. Very minimalistic, but much nicer than my handwritten dates would be.
That's all I need for a good bullet journal that suits my needs. Do you use a bullet journal or a self-made calendar? What's your ideal book for it like?