I picked up this Mead notebook after a tip from a reader, who had noticed that they were available only at Wal-Mart. Though Mead is obviously a major brand that is available everywhere, it would appear that Wal-Mart asked them to come up with an inexpensive Moleskine-ish notebook that they could offer as an exclusive. I don’t have a Wal-Mart near where I live, but I was able to stop in one on my travels and find one of these to review!
The first thing I noticed was that this notebook is very much like the Markings notebook from Target that I used a couple of years ago, due to the cover material and the stitching around the edges.
Once you take off the paper band, there is no branding at all on the exterior, but inside you’ll find a space to write your name, and the Mead company info on the inside front cover.
Otherwise, the features are pretty typical– ribbon marker, elastic closure, and a pocket in the back. It has the nicer reinforced fold, rather than the all-paper pocket you find on the Piccadilly and a few other notebook brands.
The Mead notebook opens pretty flat, though it was a bit stiff from being new. Though I’ve always suspected that the Markings notebooks and the Guildhall notebooks and now this Mead notebook might be identical other than their branding, this notebook definitely does not bend all the way back like the Guildhall does (see the review at Black Cover). Hopefully it won’t split from its covers after being used, as my Markings notebook did.
Another key difference that distinguishes this Mead notebook is the color of the lines within–they’re brown! The paper has a creamy color, and the brown lines make the page seem very warm compared to the cool grey lines found in the Moleskine shown behind in the 2nd photo below.
As for the paper, it’s fine– all my pens gave a nice, smooth writing experience without any feathering, though I would say there was a little more show-through than average. The paper is acid-free.
I paid $5.99 for this notebook and I’d say it’s a great value compared to other brands. Wal-Mart didn’t have much stock when I was there, so I don’t know if they offer squared or unlined versions or other sizes, but this size and style also came in a black cover. If you don’t mind buying yet another made-in-China product at Wal-Mart, this notebook is well worth a try.