Saturday, September 08, 2012

Moleskine for the 21st Century?

The Moleskine is a seemingly anachronistic product in this day and age of smartphones.  But the company is doing well and they are expanding into related markets other than the simple pocket notebook with which its name has become synonymous.  Moleskine claims descent from the little notebooks used throughout history by famous writers and artists - even the brand name was the creation of a writer (Bruce Chatwin) who relied on them before they disappeared briefly from the market - even though detractors accuse Moleskine of stretching the truth on this.

The above video shows the "correct" pronunciation of Moleskine - the point of which is that there is no correct pronunciation.

Since last year's trip to Russia, I carry one with me everywhere I go.  It stays in my back pocket, and I use it to take notes in meetings, write prayers, make to-do lists, jot down numbers, websites, ideas - anything and everything.  I then copy important notes to the Internet (I'm trying out Evernote now) and/or to other journals (such as my edited travel journal I kept in Russia).

The little 192-page notebook (in all its various formats and sizes) has become so popular that there is a sort-of Moleskine community of people who share artwork, ideas, and even hacks to make the Moleskine even more useful. I recently submitted my own hack-that-isn't-reall-a-hack: rather an idea as to how to keep a pen and Moleskine together in the back pocket, using the Fisher Space Pen.

I'm at the tail end of my current notebook - which I have been using since September last year.  It is actually a Moleskine knockoff called a Picadilly.  It's not quite as nice, but it did hold up pretty well.  I had previously blogged a link to a review comparing the two.

After I complete this notebook (about ten more blank pages left), I'm going back to Moleskine.  It's one thing to read reviews, it's something else to use the products oneself.  Just on personal examination, the Moleskine is simply more robust with a cover that feels more like leather than cardboard.  Besides, the Picadilly is no longer available at Border's for five bucks.  They can still be gotten online, but at just a smidge less than the Moley.  And considering that it may last for the better part of a year, the extra couple bucks in cost is worth it to have the better quality.

Even in this day and age of the iPad and iPhone, the Moleskine has a few advantages: You can use it any time on a plane, it doesn't have to be charged up, you can keep it tucked away in a pocket without worrying about sensitive electronics being damaged, it only costs about twelve bucks, it can be coordinated with digital data storage, and writing with pen on paper has some distinct advantages in terms of creativity.


ToddPeperkorn said...

You might want to check out Rhodia notebooks. I think the paper is nicer than Moleskine, and they are just a bit more durable.

I also use them with a fountain pen, so paper is important...


Rev. Larry Beane said...

Super-cool! I will definitely check out Rhodia. There is a local shop (Scriptura) that carries their products.

Thanks for the tip!