Why a Moleskine?

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To those who don't understand, spending what seems an inordinate amount of money on a notebook seems a particularly silly thing to do. And while there certainly is a measure of hype (marketing and otherwise) surrounding the Moleskine, the underlying fact is that these journals are of a higher quality than the run-of-the-mill, supermarket-stationery-section spiral notebook. To people who enjoy the act of writing as much as the process of it, this is important.

The journals themselves have a certain old-fashioned look to them that doesn't have the feel of a modern mass-market stack of paper. No matter the rather tenuous connections made with famous writers and their "moleskines," these journals are a pleasure to use and carry around.

Are they the finest notebooks ever made by human hands? Well, no. But despite the hype, they are an enjoyable tool to use for this writer, and many others seem to agree.

--RobertDaeley 14:34, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)

It's somewhat natural to romanticize the Moleskine. Once you begin using one, the aesthetic benefits really settle in, transforming a utilitarian piece of equipment into something pleasurable to use. Discussions of Moleskines end up parallelling the conversations of fountain pen, cuisine and automobile enthusiasts. They all share an element of being excited by distinctions that seem negligible to an outside observer.

All that said, it's worth breaking down the practical benefits of a Moleskine.

  • Binding - Moleskines are bound in a manner similar to hardcover books, where the pages are sewn together with thread before glue and the cover are applied. This makes for a sturdy cover which can be laid flat without damaging the spine. It also allows for a flat spine which permits easy shelving and archiving. A perfect binding (like a paperback) will look similar, but will not lay flat as easily and in many cases will be less durable (many hardcover journals are actually perfect bound, making them difficult to lie flat). A spiral binding (like in a normal notebook) can lay flat, but is harder to shelve and the metal loops can be easily bent in transport. Saddle stiched notebooks (those bound with a single spine of thread, like many composition books, as well as Moleskine's 'Cahier' line) have the same advantages of the Moleskine, except their spines are not squared off (which is inconvenient, but only problematic if spine labeling is important to you) and their cover material can never be very rigid (because it must bend around the spine).
  • Sturdiness - Moleskine covers are solid enough that the writer requires no additional hard surface to write. This is remarkably handy for catching notes on the go. Combined with the aforementioned binding, Moleskines are quite durable.
  • Design - Many of the benefits of design are subjective, but it is worth noting that that the Moleskine has a few practical benefits. First, the paper is of high quality, yet quite thin, making for a dense notebook. Secondly, small design additions (The back pocket and the elastic snap) make a large difference in the final utility of the notebook.
  • Appearance - Moleskines look good, which is normally not much of an endorsement. Appearance does not help with note-taking, after all. However, in certain circumstances, the professional appearance of the Moleskine is a benefit. If presentation is part of your job, it's important to have tools that complement that presentation, and Moleskines certainly fit the bill.
  • Ritual - One benefit of the cost of Moleskines is that for some users, it strengthens the sense of ritual. By using a more expensive tool, an impression can be created of its use carrying more weight. This benefit is far from universal, but is very real for some users.
  • Ubiquity - A notebook does you no good when it's sitting at your desk or in your car. Because they are so portable, Moleskine Minis can fit in your back pocket, ready to be used at a moment's notice. This is somewhat related to the "Ritual" described above, but more attention should be drawn to the miniscule form factor. In fact, it might be said that the form factor drives the ritualistic behavior.
  • Thinness - the Cahier mini, with a small pen included, tucks trivially into a shirt chest pocket, thus further driving ubiquity.


--rdonoghue 10:23, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)

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