Notebook Covers: A Comprehensive Guide to Materials and Styles

When shopping for notebooks from Interwell, the cover design is always the first thing that catches our eye. Despite the adage, "don't judge a book by its cover," the cover is nonetheless significant for our notebooks. Read this guide and discover the top cover materials for your next notebook purchase.

1. Leather Covers

Leather covers provide a stylish and durable solution to protect your notebooks, available in various colors, textures, and styles. Customize your leather notebook covers with our embossing process to include your unique logo.

Option 1: Full Grain Leather

Full-grain leather is the highest quality, containing the entire natural grain pattern of the hide's top layer. The leather develops a beautiful patina over time and becomes even more durable. Personalized full-grain leather notebook covers reflect your interests and preferences.

Due to its inherent defects and marks, the natural surface is highly distinctive. Full-grain leather comes at a higher price, but it gives a notebook a more aged and well-loved appearance after years of use.


  • Highest quality leather with the entire natural grain pattern
  • It develops a beautiful patina and becomes more durable over time
  • Unique and customizable
  • Robust, long-lasting, and more expensive
Full Grain Leather

Option 2: Top Grain Leather

Top-grain leather is the second-best quality of leather after full-grain. The outermost layer of the hide is sanded off to produce a smooth and consistent appearance. It is embossed with imitation grain, and a finishing coat is applied to prevent stains.

Top-grain leather's permeability is drastically reduced due to the refinishing process, and it won't age naturally. It is more easily scratched than full-grain leather but is still a solid everyday need for a notebook cover.


  • Second-best leather quality
  • Smooth, with a consistent appearance
  • Less porous, with reduced aging
  • More susceptible to scratches than full-grain leather
Top Grain Leather

Option 3: PU Leather

PU leather is a synthetic leather material made using the second layer of cowhide with a PU resin coating. It naturally possesses gentle qualities, remains pliable, and is resistant to abrasions.

PU leather is anti-aging, hypoallergenic, flexible, and soft. Its goods are superior to natural leather in terms of thickness uniformity, tear strength, vividness, and exploitation of the leather surface, and it closely resembles genuine leather.


  • Synthetic leather with a PU resin coating
  • Anti-aging, hypoallergenic, flexible, and soft
  • Superior thickness uniformity, tear strength, and vividness
  • Highly flammable, it melts in a fire
PU Leather Notebook

Option 4: Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is low-quality imitation leather made of scrap leather and polyurethane. Its texture is uniform and smooth, unlike genuine leather, which often has visible flaws.

Bonded leather may not be as long-lasting as those made from genuine leather. It wears out, scratches, peels, and flakes over time, and its color may fade if exposed to direct sunlight.


  • Low-quality imitation leather
  • Uniform, smooth texture
  • Wide range of colors and designs
  • Wears out, scratches, peels, and flakes over time
  • Challenging to clean
Bonded Leather

Option 5: Vegan Leather

Vegan leather, also known as faux leather or leather alternative, is a fabric that looks and feels like leather but is not made from animal skin. It can be created using a wide range of plastic and plant components.

Vegan leather products are highly durable and easy to maintain. Vegan notebook covers can be made waterproof with a PVC coating.


  • Imitates the look and feel of leather without using animal skin
  • Made from various plastic and plant components
  • Environmentally friendly options available
  • Highly durable and easy to maintain
  • Can be made waterproof with a PVC coating
  • Cruelty-free alternative to traditional leather
Vegan Leather

2. Cloth Covers

Cloth covers protect books by stretching across the boards. They can be imprinted, embossed, or stamped with designs or book information.

With various textiles available, such as cotton, linen, silk, and wool, cloth notebooks usually have a shorter lifespan and more straightforward assembly than leather hardcovers.
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    Wide range of textiles
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    Customizable designs
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    Ideal for a unique appearance
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    More affordable than leather
Cloth Cover Notebook
felt cover notebook

3. Felt

Felt is a textile created by mating, compacting, and pressing fibers. Made from materials like wool, animal fur, synthetic fibers, and rayon, felt covers protect notebooks from damage and scratches.

Wool-felt notebook covers are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic covers.
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    Environmentally friendly
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    Soft and protective
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    Variety of fiber options
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    Ideal for a unique look

4. Paper Covers

Paper is the most common notebook cover material, and it is available in softcover and hardcover bindings. Paper covers offer numerous finish options before binding: embossing and debossing, foil stamping, varnish, and Lamination. Here are 2 popular paper cover types:
Hardbound Paper Covers

Hardbound Paper Covers

Hardcovers consist of 157g silk paper and a 1,000gsm greyboard, providing a high-end appearance and quality while sturdy and durable.

Production time and cost for hardcover books are approximately 10% higher than for paperbacks.


  • Durable and sturdy
  • Premium look and feel
  • Higher production cost
  • Suitable for long-term use
Softbound Paper Covers

Softbound Paper Covers

Soft covers are made using laminated paperboard cut from a regular printed folding boxboard, allowing easy printing, laminating, and die-cutting.

Softcover books offer advantages such as easier design and layout, faster production, and lower costs than hardcovers.


  • More affordable than hardcovers
  • Easier to design and produce
  • Lightweight
  • Less durable, prone to wear and tear

5. Dust Jacket

A dust jacket, a book jacket, or a dust wrapper is a printed paper sheet covering a book's exterior. Though less common for perfect-bound notebooks, dust jackets may still be found on some editions.

The dust jacket is not essential and can be removed and held in place by flaps folding over the front and back covers.
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    Protects the cover from dust, scratches, and spills
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    Often has a gloss or matte laminate for durability
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    Removable and optional
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    Adds a unique touch to the notebook
Dust Jacket Book
Su - Interwell Founder
Hi, I'm Su, the author of this post. I founded Interwell Stationery and have served over 1000+ clients since 2003. Feel free to contact us for custom stationery supplies, manufacturing support, and the latest trends in the industry.

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