Notebooks at Target: Markings and Noted

I don’t often go to Target, so when I recently did, I was excited to see what sorts of funky stationery they might offer. They had a nice section of colorful notebooks and office supplies, all at very reasonable prices. But of course, the items I purchased ended up being my usual plain black 3.5 x 5.5″ notebooks! It’s not as if I need any new notebooks right now– I have a huge backlog, enough to last for years. But here’s what I felt compelled to buy:

I’d never seen this brand of Cahier-like notebooks before, branded “Noted”. I like the faux crocodile cover, which seems sturdy and substantial, with a pocket in the back. Like many of these thin, no-elastic notebooks, the cover says open a bit, at least when it’s new.

And the paper is nice and smooth! It’s a bit more creamy in color than Moleskine paper, but the graph ruling is the same size. It felt great to write on it with roller ball pens, though there was more show-through than I’ve had with other notebooks.

At 64 pages, the notebook is thinner than the Moleskine or Kikkerland Writersblok equivalents, but the 3-pack was only $3.99, which is a great deal. They were also available lined, and in larger sizes, and in blue, red, and purple, and perhaps other colors I didn’t see, as there weren’t very many on the shelf.

Branded “Noted,” Distributed by Devrian Global Industries, made in China. I haven’t been able to find these on sale anywhere other than at Target.

Then I finally gave in and bought one of these Markings notebooks– I’d never been all that tempted by the lined ones I’d seen at Staples, which I thought looked a bit cheap, somehow. But the graph paper version was new to me, and more appealing, so I decided to give one a try.

For $6.69, I’m actually quite impressed. I was nervous that the stickers on the cover would leave a gummy residue, but they peeled off cleanly.  I didn’t love the exterior stitching when I first saw these, but it’s kind of growing on me, as it lends a retro look. The elastic seems strong, though the holes it’s attached through are rather large, which I find a bit ugly. The usual features are included: a space in the front to write your name, a ribbon marker, and a pocket in the back.

The paper inside the Markings journal is almost as smooth as the Noted paper, way better than the Kikkerland Writersblok, as good or better than Piccadilly, and quite comparable to Moleskine in color and texture. The graph lines are exactly the same size as in a Moleskine, but they seem slightly sharper and darker. I liked the way it worked with all my favorite pens– it’s always a good sign when I start doodling on my test page! And show-through wasn’t too bad, maybe a little better than a Moleskine. I didn’t test this with a fountain pen, but according to some user comments at the Fountain Pen Network the Markings journals may work well with them, at least with some inks.

My only complaint is that the back pocket seems a bit odd–they may have placed it too close to the outside of the notebook, or maybe it’s just very thick in the corners in combination with the way the cover material is gathered when it wraps over the corners of the cardboard underneath.

The notebook says it “lays flat when open,” and though it’s still a bit stiff from lack of use, it does seem to open quite wide without any separation of the first and last signatures.

The cover texture is a little shinier than a Moleskine– it’s supposed to be made of “bonded leather,” which they say is “80% genuine cowhide fibers and 20% non-leather materials.” I don’t know how that Frankensteinish concoction is assembled, but it looks nice enough on the notebook– a little shinier than most Moleskine-type notebooks I’ve tried, at least in its brand-new state. And it actually has a trace of that yummy leather smell.

All in all, a pretty nice product at a great price– I never thought I’d say this after my own initial impressions and Black Cover’s disparaging review, but I think I’ll try this one as my next daily notebook.

192 pages, branded Markings by C. R. Gibson, made in China. If you can’t find them at your local Target (where they are $6.69), the manufacturer sells them for $5.72 online, and shipping costs for multiple units may work out to be reasonable.

18 thoughts on “Notebooks at Target: Markings and Noted”

  1. I’ve used the Markings notebooks and love them. At heart I’m a Moleskine girl, but these little ditties are mighty close and certainly cheaper. If they only made them a little larger…

  2. my current journal is a Markings. It is lined … I like that the lines are nice and narrow for when I do actually use them.

    I have never seen a graph paper/quad version before! I think a Target visit is in my near future…

    take care n be well :)

  3. I picked up some of those small Noted books at Target a few months ago as well! :) It’s not bad, but yeah you definitely can’t write or draw on both sides of the page unless you use pencil or ballpoint. The back pocket came off though. I need to glue it back on.

  4. I am consistently impressed with the mini notebooks and journals that I regularly find at Target. I order quality notebooks from Vickery and Moleskin but Target really keeps pace, in my book. Just discovered the noted. minis and LOVE the purple…not much ever, in purple! Very nice!

  5. Overall, I thought this notebook was fine if you are using a ballpoint pen or pencil, but I had substantial bleedthrough and showthrough with wet pens. When using a fountain pen, the ink would not sink into the paper due to a coating on the page and my lines were scratchy at best. If you are using the notebook as a container for day-to-day notes and lists that you will one day toss aside, the markings journal will work fine. For writings or art that you want to refer to in the future, I would suggest a Moleskine or Ciak notebook instead for a better build, paper and acid-free materials.

  6. Hitting the deep clearance bins on the school supplies aisle can yield terrific buys at Target. I picked up a bunch of Markings notebooks for less than $3.00 each last summer. I enjoyed giving them away as gifts.

    david boise ID

  7. David, I think you need to send me a photo of your notebooks. From your comments alone, I can tell you’d be a champion “addict of the week!”

  8. I also just bought the Noted notebooks from Target (digged the purple). What attracted me to them were their think size; at 32 sheets, I can actually use it as a book marker for the book I’m currently reading. It’s thin so it doesn’t add any more extra weigh to my bag (so I can carry more books!)

    If you’re worry about bleeding, Target is also selling the Sharpie Fine permanent pen (a pack of three under 5 bucks, either just black, or in black, red, and blue combo). It claimed to not bleed through paper and is smear resistant, water resistant acid free. I am using them on the Noted notebook (8.25″ x 5.25″) I bought and the ink isn’t bleeding through in normal writing, only if you are trying to fill in the squares with colors :)

    I was also tempted to buy the Rhonda graphing notebook (stapled ended) but it was a bit pricey and is too regular size for carrying around, but I may buy them next time to keep around the house.

    So yes, I am always pleasantly surprised at their interesting selections and will sure check in often to see what new stuffs they have.

  9. Just picked up a 3 pack of the 3.5×5.5 red lined to use for school actually. (university). I realized that, except for history, my notes are not worthy of a full sized composition book, or other close to 8.5×11, and these fit in my breast pockets in my jacket or even my shirt pocket! I’ts like a notebook AND a pocket protector!

    Also, while browsing at Target, I found a … MOLESKINE! and yes, someone left it there :-( I thought they were selling them.

    (Of course, I returned it to its local owner, who of course offered me money for its returned, which will be coming out of my pocket to go to charity. Of course.)

    And as for the Frankenstein “(p)Leather” covers on the Markings, although the smell was pleasant, I was completely turned off by the fact that it was 80% leather. I don’t think there’s anything that can change my mind on that one…

  10. I’m a really big fan of these Markings notebooks: fits nicely in a pocket, and the paper is pretty nice, especially if you use a Sharpie fine point or a pencil. I didn’t see them the last time I was in Target, though, so I really hope that they’re still available.

  11. I was severely disappointed by my Markings notebook. It smudged horribly. I couldn’t even finish a line without it smudging!

  12. Who would have thought! I just took a chance to see if I could get some info on this notebook that I bought at Target about 6 months ago. It was in the clearance aisle, no label, no tag, no nothing but a sale sticker. Well, it is the Noted notebook and I love it! I hope it is still available. I’m going on-line to Target now.

    Thanks for your posts!

  13. i just ordered 4 Markings notebooks through C. R. Gibson site. i originally wanted two, but a mishap occurred and my order ended up being place twice.. oh well. theyre having free shipping to continental U.S through 6/25/2010 so good savings.

  14. I LOVE the Noted notebooks! I picked up one of the large graph-lined purple faux crocodile books in 08 to use as a nature journal. These books are perfect since I hate having to rest my hand on a ring binding but I love writing on graph paper (and as you all probably know, most graph notebooks are either legal-style or ring bound). I’ve been looking for these forever but each of the few times I’ve been to Target they were out of stock. Then I stopped in with my mom last weekend and found more! This time they’ve got a raised diamond pattern on them. I grabbed one of the large graph-lined black ones. I LOVE these!

  15. I LOVED these NOTED notebooks, but sadly Target no longer has them. Has anyone found them elsewhere?

  16. I contacted C.R.GIbson and they said all of their journals have acid free paper. I noticed a concern about that above. I LOVE these notebooks. I just bought three yesterday from Tuesday Morning for $2.99. The ones I got are from their ECO line and have 50% recycled content and are printed with soy based inks. They are really lovely!

  17. I have had both Markings and more expensive (moleskin?) for over 20 years. I LOVE these. I could not live without them. I usually use ball point pens, but inky ones do bleed. I have the lined ones. I date the note and circle/highlight items I might need to reference, such as phone #s, addresses, sources, dates, etc. At the end of the notebook I go back and enter this info into contacts, sources for things I want, authors, music, etc. on my laptop.

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