The book is much sturdier than I expected. I'm hard on my journals, break the back/bend things so that the journal can be folded over on itself (not folded directly on the binding, but close). So far it's holding together really well.
I haven't used a fountain pen in it, but I have used some very wet roller ball pens, and there has been no bleeding or ghosting. I've also noticed no feathering.
For pencil, I need to change out to softer lead. Regular HB does not show up enough on this paper. Small issue, but a good thing to remember for pencil users! I also recommend a pencil board; it makes it easier to write when you don't have a good surface to rest your journal. The softcover is surprisingly sturdy on it's own, but the pencil board just gives it that extra boost of comfort., especially when writing along the edges. I have a messy mind, and sometimes I have sentences going every which way, and a board makes it easier to squeeze something in on the edge.
A pencil board isn't a requirement. I've been writing on thin paper for years (aka Tamoe or Stalogy), and it's a big switch moving to this decadently thick paper. A little lighter beige would be cool; again, pencil can get lost, especially for those of us who use extra-fine-tipped pens and pencils.
Not sure how they did it, but this journal also feels less cramped than some of the mainline quality A5 journals. It's been a joy to write in so far. I even bought a couple more before i was done with what I have.
Because I guess that's a journaler's thing..... never enough pens or paper.
Love your books, Northbooks. And that they are made in the US, supporting American workers and our economy, is important. Keep it up, and I'll keep buying (and gifting!) your stuff! Worth every penny. (I also have the hardback versions.... oh, my. So delicious.)