Cosmo Air Light is being discontinued.

Hello again. Daryl from Musubi here.

I don't usually like to send newsletters out between drops, but you'll forgive me this once. We've received some new information that impacts one of our mainline products, and I believe you should have it as soon as possible.

As you know, I've always worked to make sure the atelier is as transparent as possible about its decision-making process. I'll lay out the changes that are happening, and what we intend to do about them, in as clear a manner as I can for you.

You've already seen the headline, so you know what's coming. Let's get into it.

Going, going, gone

Let's not bury the lede. Cosmo Air Light is being discontinued.

Nippon Paper, the manufacturer of Cosmo Air Light, has just informed its various paper merchants that they will terminate the production of a number of papers, some by the end of this year and others by Mar 2023. Cosmo Air Light is on this list.

Their reasoning for this discontinuation is economic: demand for these papers has now become so small that it is difficult to meet the minimum lot sizes required for production. Nippon Paper has tried to batch together orders over multiple months into single production lots, but even that hasn't been enough to keep the lights on.

As you may already know, it's not really feasible to produce a small amount of paper using industrial processes. Once you fire up the machines, you're looking at multiple tons — and that tonnage has to be at least somewhat spoken for in order for the production order to be economically viable. We discussed this previously, when Musubi broke the news of changes to Tomoe River in 2020.

Well, the bell has now tolled for Cosmo Air Light. We haven't been given an exact date, but we do know that the paper will no longer be produced in its entirety. This includes both the 83 and 92 gsm weights that Musubi uses.

Based on what I've heard from various folks in the Japanese paper industry, I don't expect this to be the only casualty this year, either. A number of manufacturers are either discontinuing entire lines of paper or moving them to different production lines and machinery.

I fully anticipate that the latter will result in performance changes to some of these new versions, much the same way it did for Tomoe River. Paper is an analog product, made by analog processes, and everything, from the composition of the pulp, to the water that runs through it, to the machinery that is used, has an impact on how that paper feels and writes. It's the joy inherent to something physical, and simultaneously its Achilles heel.

It's also a reminder that the sale of quality paper for handwriting forms but a very small part of the overall industry for paper. We don't generate enough demand to really move the needle in significant ways, and so most of us in fine stationery are takers subject to the overall whims of the market. When market forces shift, unfortunately, so do we.

What we're doing

Naturally, this discontinuation will result in some changes to the Musubi lineup. I'll explain them as best as I can here.

What Musubi products currently use Cosmo Air Light?

There are currently two releases that use CAL:

  • the folio notebook (A5, 83 gsm), and
  • the Musubi Labs handbound diary (A5, 92 gsm).

What will happen to the folio notebook in CAL 83?

Firstly, we will continue to sell the current stock of notebooks we have. We recently did up a fresh batch and are working on replenishing the rulings that have fallen low, so there's no reason whatsoever to hoard or panic buy. I anticipate we will continue to have availability well into 2023.

I'll leave a link here should you need it:
Buy now (Cosmo Air Light folio notebook)

The folio notebook lineup is meant to feature a variety of papers in different papermaking styles, so that you have always reliable, high-quality options whatever your personal preferences. For instance, Tomoe River occupies the ultralight techo space, while Bank Paper is a more traditional ledger and letterwriting paper.

Cosmo Air Light occupies the modern microcoat paper spot in our folio lineup, featuring high colour fidelity and ink performance. I intend to replace it with another paper in the same category. We've been testing some options for a few months now, and I'll announce what our selection is in due course.

What will happen to the Musubi Labs handbound diary in CAL 92?

This was an experimental release to see if people would enjoy the thicker version of Cosmo Air Light in a handbound format. While it sold well and we had plans to make it more permanent, those plans will now be shelved.

We will discontinue this release once it sells out. You may see ad-hoc releases here and there as we come across new old stock of the required paper.

So it goes

Not the best of news today, unfortunately, but I felt you needed to be informed. Sorry to be the bringer of bad news — I know some of you really, really like Cosmo Air Light, and so today's letter is bound to have been disappointing reading for you. You have my word that we'll try our level best to find you a good replacement.

I'll be in touch shortly with some better news, including a few surprises we're working on for the holiday season. In the meantime, stay safe and well, and keep on lighting candles in the dark.

Much love
on behalf of everyone at Musubi