Choosing your desired featuresTo help understand exactly how to choose the sketchbook you want for each media look at their chart. I'll add it to the sidebar. It lists the various series of sketchbooks - you simply check for paper weight, surface (smooth, medium grain or cold press), color (white or ivory) and what types of media it supports. Their papers are all internally and externally sized (at least the ones made for wet media - not sure about the rest but I believe it said 'all'). This tells you what series you want - from Alpha to Zeta. Then you choose the size and whether you want hardbound or spiral bound. It's almost like special ordering a custom-made sketchbook to your own specs. It is more expensive than most sketchbooks, but if you really want specific features this is the way to get them. They also sell each of the papers as sheets.
Making it lie flat like a MoleskineOne complaint I've seen in the comments section on Amazon is that the sketchbooks don't lie flat like a Moleskine so you can work across 2-page spreads. They actually will do this - you just have to break them in a little first by opening it all the way in several places. Brenda Swenson talks about it at the end of this brief video about them:
Ok, apparently this chick is not doing it right. She only opened it halfway. Here's something I found in a customer comment on Amazon (which is how I discovered the rest of the info posted here b the way):
"One of the nice things about Stillman & Birn books is that they're triple bound. Mine go with me everywhere - boats, deserts, camping, in the lab, in the car, etc. I'm tough on my books - they get dropped and wetted and wedged places. I've never had an issue with the binding coming apart. It also means that you can get these puppies to lay completely flat. It's traumatic - be warned. You need to open the new, clean, pristine book to the middle, and gently press the pages and cover back until they touch each other. Then do that at each signature page (where you see stitching). Then, working from the middle to the front, then middle to back, do that with each page spread. Be firm but gentle; you will hear some creaks and cracks. You may have to repeat this once more if you're a little too tentative. Then the book will lie open and you can draw across the spread if you want."