Moleskine Monday: Reviewing My Latest

It’s been a while since I actually reviewed a Moleskine notebook, and with all the concerns about quality going downhill, I thought it might be a good time to look at one I am currently using, a plain pocket size notebook (with regular paper, not sketchbook weight) which was purchased in recent months.

This is the notebook I posted about recently to call attention to the smaller page size and larger cover overhang. Since then I have been using it as my daily notebook. I continue to find the extra overhang at the corners annoying. The other issue I’ve noticed is that the corners seem to be fraying more than on other Moleskines I’ve used. The corners at the spine have really not held up well. This has happened to a few other notebooks I’ve used, mostly ones bought in recent years. I’ve only been using this notebook for two months, and have only gone through about half the pages, so the deterioration seems to be happening faster than usual. I definitely have older Moleskines that were used over 6 or 8 months without ever showing this kind of wear.

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One of the outside corners is also wearing down– the black wrapping has rubbed away to expose the white board underneath. I wonder if they’ve changed the material they use on the outside– I noticed this one feels a little waxier than others I’ve owned.

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I also did all my usual pen tests. The paper still feels great to write on. The smooth surface is really nice with fine point pens. I was also surprised to see how well it worked with my fountain pens, with no feathering or bleed-through at all. But it’s the other side of the page that shows the problem– pretty bad show-through and lots of bleed-through with some other pens, worse than any other notebook I’ve tested in a while.

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It’s really disappointing to see Moleskine’s quality slipping in all these little ways. When I was using some of my Piccadilly notebooks, I barely noticed similar issues because the $3.99 price point lowered my expectations. But for a $12 notebook, from a brand that has at least somewhat built itself on quality, I would expect better. Given that the Moleskine company has grown bigger and now seems to be caught up in private equity transactions and going public on the stock market, I can’t say I’m optimistic that things will improve– I’m sure they’ll be cutting more corners to squeeze out more profit.

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10 Responses to “Moleskine Monday: Reviewing My Latest”

  1. I totally love my Moleskines, however, I contacted them last year when Charlie Brown and Snoopy smudged off my Calendar onto my black leather wallet and never heard back from them-not a peep. Very disappointing.

  2. Have you ever reviewed any of the special edition Moleskine’s, such as the Peanuts, Pac-Man, or Star Wars ones? Just wondering if the quality is any different because they are “special editions.”

  3. Moleskine has stopped being a place of innovation and there now just trying to make money. Putting characters on moleskines is about trying to sell more notebooks for the gimmick not the quality. Its really sad that they dont seem to have anyone real testing out there notebooks and attempting to fix issues. I gave up on them a few years ago and now use field notes mostly. They are also a brand but humans actually work at the place, there made in the usa, and they take there stuff seriously. Too bad none of us notebook users are billionaires, we could buy the company and make it into what it should be.

  4. I bought a lined notebook like this and it is a complete disappointment. I write with the cheap kind of ball point pens and prefer them, but the paper in this doesn’t take that ink and smudges a lot. I ripped out the first page and now have a blank medium moleskine notebook I don’t know what to do with.
    I hate to throw it away, so I’ll probably abandon it in a library and hope someone would find it and take it and make some use for it.

    :(

  5. I’ve used the small daily year planner for 3 years and this is the first year that I’ve had a problem with the ink showing through the page. I’ve used a Lamy fountain pen all 3 years and am disappointed in the quality. I will be trying to find a better quality brand for next year.

  6. With all the great brands out there, going with Moleskine is essentially like listening to classic rock for the rest of your life.

  7. I’ve used Moleskines since 2004 when the love affair began. Sadly as you & commenters have stated Moleskines today are not the same as earlier ones.. A lack of quality compared to then. Paper bleeds through more than it used to. Not surprising as every notebook these days has copied itself on the moleskine brand. Still love them but find Rhodias better to write on. As with everything that becomes popular, quality drops when money overcomes making something in integrity.

  8. Moleskine’s quality has been going downhill for about a decade. The recent ones have an oily kind of smell to the covers, unaligned pages, smaller pages, thinner “skin” – all of which I’ve pointed out to Moleskine. No response was made to any of my emails. I’m looking for replacement journals.

  9. I agree! It is always a shame when a one-time brand leader loses the plot like this. I now use Rhodia and Field Notes productsat birthdays and Christmas … and unbranded clones at 20% of Moleskine prices from our local supermarkets when I have to buy my own.

  10. I still use the Moleskine sketchbooks, but there are more & better options stepping up to compete (such as the Stillman & Birn line), but I’ve switched to the Rhodia Webnotebook for daily use, note taking, etc. MUCH better product. No comparison.

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