Buying exercise books were one way you recognized that the summer break was over and that it was time to go back to school. The notebooks were standard, they all looked alike and had the same amount of pages. The same logo graced the front and handy references covered the back. There was everything from multiplication tables and conversions charts and the metric scale. It marked the start of a new year, the time to learn something new.
The only way to set yourself apart from the rest of your class was to cover your exercise book with fancy paper. You could use anything from a cute poster, a page in magazine or newspaper but the most coveted covers were wrapping paper.
What you would do was wrap the paper around the outer cover of the book, it was best to get the paper taut but not too tight or else there would be tears in the paper when you open and close the book. Labels were made, only sometimes. The important thing was that all of your exercise books were covered and equally beautiful.
For me and most girls, in my class, it was an art. We traded paper, used multiple patterns to create our own and searched all summer and hoarded any non themed wrapping paper.
It was the first thing I made money doing in High School, covering exercise books.
I almost forgot that it was a hobby that took up so much of my time as a preteen.