First my friend Mel believed she had solved the mystery by telling me that the company ‘xpress graphx’ seels a premium variety of sketchbooks, which they do. I thought my problems were solved but when the local art store got in a batch of the ‘premium’ books in, unofrtunatly they were fairly ordinary books.
I went back to my original theory that the company must use whatever are the cheapest materials without any thought of consistency. I thought I'd just wait until a new batch of good books came in.
Then today I decided to actually phone the company . I described my dilemma to them and what the books I liked, looked like. They then told me that these books were there Australian made sketchbooks and that the bad ones were there cheaper made overseas variety. Hallelujah, a solution!
After years of trying to figure this out hopefully I will now be able to get the sketchbooks I like at will. Fingers crossed.
PS- the good ones have a nice hard card back and the paper is bright and a consistent smoothness (not too rough not to smooth) and for the record these are cheap books, more expensive sketchbooks are in no way any better.