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.
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.
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.
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.