In most cases, the term loose leaf notebook generally refers to a three-ring binder that holds individual sheets of paper. The size varies based upon the country in which it is purchased. The paper is usually sold in a package of 100 sheets, although larger packages are available. Different types of ruled paper are often available to fit in the notebooks.
The binders that house loose leaf paper are available in a variety of materials. The most basic style has a cardboard front and back cover with a side spine. The cover and spine may have a plastic or vinyl coating. More expensive binders come with thicker covers made of more costly materials, such as leather or suede.
There are several standard size loose leaf notebooks, which are based upon the paper used in a given country. They are available to support A4 paper, which is 8.27 by 11.7 inches (210 by 297 mm); letter size paper, which is 8.5 by 11 inches (215.9 by 279.4 mm); legal size paper, which is 8.5 by 14 inches (215.9 by 355.6 mm); and other specialty sizes. School children tend to use the most common form of notebook found in each country.
The spines for these notebooks vary in location based upon the number of rings included within the binder. Generally, a spine runs along the side of a front and back cover if the notebook has three or more rings included within it. A binder with two rings usually has the spine at the top. The diameter of the rings within the binder varies.
Paper sold for these loose leaf notebooks generally has pre-made holes in it at the appropriate locations to fit the standard binders. The form of ruling on the paper varies based on the intended use of the notebook. Wide ruled paper is the regular choice for school children and those with large handwriting. People with smaller handwriting may choose narrow or college ruled paper. Ruled paper designed specifically for engineers, accountants, and other professions may be purchased from specialty retailers.
Some notebooks may include special features. Student binders may include pockets inside the front and back covers, for example, while professional ones might have pieces of card stock with a tab on one side that allows the binder to be broken into sections. The benefit of sectioning off a binder is that the user may organize pages within the notebook based upon that specific person’s needs.
Binders are often used to store information that will need to be modified or amended over time. Users may add and remove pages as information changes. This functionality makes the notebook a better choice for many than a notebook that has a spiral or other type of binding. These notebooks may have pages removed, but they cannot easily have them added in.