I went to Barnes & Noble today and finally got a close up look at their Ecosystem notebooks.
At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to resist buying one, but the longer I looked at them, the more I felt a bit underwhelmed. First of all, the Union Square store didn’t have a very wide selection of colors and styles. Then I decided that the prices really weren’t all that exciting– $9.95 for a pocket size softcover, $6.95 for a set of 3 small cahier-like notebooks, or $10.95 for a pocket size hardcover.
Then I started to read the packaging more carefully and got annoyed. I don’t know why people have to whip up all this mythology around a line of notebooks. Moleskine’s Hemingway/Chatwin thing gets tired, but I found the Ecosystem verbiage even worse. They name each style of notebook after a role that might be associated with it, and add these definitions:
Unlined paper = ARTIST: an individual who utilizes their imagination to produce works that are beautiful and kind to the earth.
Squared paper = ARCHITECT: an environmentally aware person who creates strength and order with lines.
Lined paper = AUTHOR: one who writes with well-being and sustainability of the earth in mind.
Planner = ADVISOR: an ecologically friendly provider of professional or personal advice.
I really don’t mean to belittle environmental causes, but for some reason this makes me want to barf AND run over Bambi with a Hummer.
But okay, I’m over it now and will continue to try to lead my low-carbon-footprint lifestyle… just without buying one of these notebooks.
I mean, as notebooks go, they’re fine, I’m sure. They come in fun colors, and you can buy little inserts that slip into the back pocket so you can add an address book, calendar, to-do list or extra notes pages to your notebook. (I think it frustrates a lot of people that Moleskine includes a little slip-in booklet with some planners, but doesn’t sell them separately.) And I was most tempted by the graph paper notebook because it’s somewhat unique in having a smaller grid than any of the other graph paper notebooks I’ve used.
The Ecosystem website also mentions a few more unique features. If you register, you can read all sorts of info about the carbon footprint of your notebook. You can also enter the unique number of your notebook so they can help you try to recover it if it’s ever lost. And there are detailed instructions about how to separate all the various components of your notebook to recycle them, if you should decide that you don’t want to keep them. If these features are of use to you, by all means buy one of these notebooks! But I’m afraid I had to pass.