Lower quality of Moleskine’s paper ?

On Friday I finished my last Moleskine which I bought in summer and started to write in a new one, bought in november (a sample with stickers) but I am angry and deeply disappointed about the bad quality of the paper. It is remarkable!!! Ink leaks out so that the other site of a sheet looks dirty!!! I only write with a fountain pen but with the former Moleskine ( I have filled some of the large ones only in the last year) there were no problems. I have to think carefully, if I’ll go on using Moleskine if they will not approve the quality of a paper. This paper reminds me of blotting paper!!! I think not too many people have already  realized that problem because most of them use pilot pens as I read on Moleskinerie and not fountain pens. Please could you influence Modo & Modo to approve the paper!!! Otherwise I have to turn back to BRUNNEN paper. Moreover BRUNNEN produces books similar to Moleskine, which could be an alternative to the worsening paper on the Moleskines.

I hope you can reach something.

About an answer I would be thankful.

Yours sincerely

U  von F, Germany

Image: Fabstyle

I have forwarded your email to Modo e Modo. Am posting it here for readers’ comments.

49 thoughts on “Lower quality of Moleskine’s paper ?

  1. I think there is a difference in quality between the sketchbook moleskeine and the blank/lined/squared. The sketchbook one has thicker paper (I only buy the squared one if I sound vague) so this might account for the quality difference.

  2. I had the same experience with my recently bought moleskine. It’s a ruled pocket notebook, and even with the Pilot G2 I have to wait for the ink to dry, and sometimes it leaks to the back page. None of this happened with older moleskines.
    Another diference is the width of the elastic band, wich is much thinner and ‘soft’…

  3. I must agree with them. I bought last month one musicnote Moleskine. The elastic band is so much thiner and the paper too. My Fabercastell finepen had break the paper. And the quality of the cover is worse too. I don’t know if that is so only in Germany.

    Jesus Fernandez Alvarez.
    Jena, Deutschland

  4. Not just a European issue. I actually wrote Modo e Modo regarding the thinner elastic band and have yet to receive a response (after about three weeks).

  5. I have noticed the same problem with my “pilot” type pens as well. I am now using the Zebra F-301 series pens. The fine point makes it easier to write in the pocket size journal Moleskine and the ink dries fast enough that I do not worry anymore about ink problems.

  6. It might be more effective to contact the major retailers/importers [Kikkerland, MoleskineUS, etc.] with concerns. They have a vested interest in product quality.

    Hope this can be resolved!


  7. I am seriously considering if I will continue to use Moleskine.

    I only use fountain pens. With my medium nibbed Mont Blanc the bleedthrough to the page behind is terrible! I use a Namiki Vanishing Point with the equivalent of a fine nib and the bleedthrough is acceptable. My latest squared small book has paper so thin it’s almost transparent and the thinner weaker elastic band makes it feel cheap.

    At the prices we pay for these things they must be making a decent profit why have they got to screw the costs down a few more pence?

    Companies never seem to realise that it is at the expense of the product and the brand. We buy these notebooks because of the quality and they are destroying that – so waht reason is there to buy them?

  8. Well it’s good to know that I’m not the only one that has this problem. I’m pretty new to the moleskine brand and saw that several people suggested the Pilot G2. Since I already had several, I gave it a whirl. Imagine my surprise that there was smearing on the opposite page.

    Maybe if we each write the company they’ll get the idea.

  9. I have also noticed the bleed problem with the Pocket note books, however I have only been using these books for about a year. I have considered going to the sketch but because I get too much bleed from my Lamy swift rollerball.

  10. Ouch, I just got started with Moleskine. Perhaps the store had old stock?, because my blank notebook works well with my fountain pens and takes a serious beating with repeated drawing using coloured pencil {you can see recent results on my blog on about the past seven or so posts. The elastic on my pocket sized is about 6mm or 1/4″. I know the cost is a factor so given what you folks are noting here’s hoping Modo finds its mojo soon. ::thrive!, O

  11. They must be having some wider quality control issues. I ordered two sets of Volants back in the fall from my regular U.S. supplier (shiptheweb). Both sets arrived with the individual notebooks covered with a fine gray dust *inside* the shrinkwrap. Both sets also had a couple of notebooks that had glue smears on the outsides of the covers, and the perforated pages were scattered throughout the books, rather than all being the last 16 sheets.

    However, I received two sets of Cahiers last week (from ninthwavedesigns) that were clean, perforated correctly, and the quality of the paper seems satisfactory. Maybe Lisa checks her incoming stock and sends back the rejects but Ship The Web gets too much in at a time to do that? Or maybe the Cahiers are made in a different location. Who knows? I do think that M&M may be looking to phase out the Volants in favor of the Cahiers (cheaper to produce), which is too bad — the Volants are much more durable, which is important to me.

    I bought a big batch of the pocket Moleskines several months ago, I might order a single one before my next reorder to see how the paper and construction quality are doing before picking up a whole case again.

    Do you suppose M&M, Ship the Web, and the other Powers That Be read these comments?

  12. Bill, I think you’re right. I’ve heard that the Volants are being replaced by the Cahiers, but I don’t remember where I heard it. I’m glad, since the Cahiers seem like they’re practical, which I never really thought the Volants were.

  13. Greetings All – I see several different threads here being discussed around concerns for changes in quality for the various Moleskine notebooks. I would like to know as much as possible about changes in quality in these products, but am most concerned with the issue of the original post – changes in paper stock in the standard Moleskine notebooks.

    So here are my questions:

    Are most of you responding to immediately noticeable recent changes in paper stock, specifically issues with bleed through (ink leaking through the page to the other side)?

    Or is this more a concern with smearing of gel ink, or bleeding with fountain pen ink as discussed previously on the pen thread?

    What I would most like to know is if this is a new problem due primarily to changes in paper stock. I have not seen a change in paper stock in the notebooks I am currently carrying – and so am trying to establish if this is a new issue that hasn’t yet shown up in the notebooks I have – or if this is a larger issue of ink compatibility with the Moleskine paper.

    I am not a fountain pen user, so I have less experience with fountain pen inks in Moleskine notebooks. It is my impression from what I have read in the pen thread that not all fountain pen inks – or even gel pen inks – work as well in Moleskine notebooks. I just wanted to be sure of what is being discussed here, so that I can keep on top of this issue.

    Please email me directly if you prefer. Thanks! – Lisa

  14. Also – yes – the Volants have been discontinued, replaced by the Cahier. I personally have always loved the Volants, but the Cahier notebooks have their own charm. Primarily the issue with the Volants was quality control, so the simpler design and binding process eliminates the issues Bill mentioned. The Cahier is no where near as nerdy as the Volant, which is exactly why I will miss them !^)

  15. I went back and looked at Moleskines from those bought in 2001, onward to those bought in 2004, plus Volants bought late last year (all the Moleskines and Volants were from Ship The Web) and Cahiers bought from Ninth Wave this month. No bleed-through on any of them, for the most part. I use various fountain pens, gel pens, ballpoints, and roller balls. The only bleed-through came from my Parker DuoFold with black Pelikan ink (it lays down a very wide, wet, line), Lamy Safari with blue Parker Penman ink, and a roller ball from Levinger that uses fountain pen cartridges (blue ink). No other pen — Parker Sonnet, Hero 329, Parker 45, any of the ballpoints, etc. — bled through. Period. Including the new Cahiers.

    So the only gripe I had was the dirt and sloppy glue on the Volants bought last year. Maybe the bleedthrough problems have to do with specific pens and inks.

    Hope this helps, but I have the feeling it’s only going to add to the confusion.


  16. Oh — on other quality matters. I don’t see any discernible difference in the elastic bands across all the Moleskines I have bought from 2001 onwards, except that in the batch I bought in late 2002 there were three on which the elastic came unanchored on one end during use. However, this is probably more due to the abuse my Moleskines go through in use (riding in the back pocket of my trousers, including when I sit down or drive). My typical Moleskine looks very tattered after a few weeks. Which is why I use them, in spite of the price — no other notebook survives at all. I really have no complaints about the quality of the Moleskine pocket notebooks.

    I am not happy about the Volants being phased out. The little notebooks also have a hard life with me and I don’t think those paper covers on the Cahiers are going to make the grade.


  17. All of our pompous ego-stroking pontifications aside, the real reason I write in a Moleskine is the quality of the notebook. I have a secret stash of about 50 of them that I bought a few months ago. I haven’t tried any of the new ones with the new packaging.

    Is it the ones with the new packaging (the wider packaging banner and the new color scheme) that is having the quality control issues?

    I normally write with a Lamy Safary Ex Fine Point and a Waterman Expert Fine point both loaded with Noodler’s Ink. I also write with a Pilot .7mm black G2. None of these pens bleed through the paper to the other side but all of them require blotting on the written side or they will mirror over to the ajacent page when I close it. I prevent this by tucking a sheet of paper between pages like a second book mark.

    I’ll take a look at the newer packaging to see if I can see the thinner elastic band. If I can find that, I’ll buy the notebook and try it out to see if there is really a change in quality.

    If Modo Modo did decide to lower the quality of the notebook in order to increase profits (or offset cost), that is a real problem. I don’t really care that it looks like a notebook Van Gogh used to sketch naked women in; I like Moleskines because I can beat the crap out of them and they still last a year in my pocket.

    My hope is that this is a misunderstanding and that the original writer had a sketchbook and then switched to the normal pocket notebook. My hope is the bleedthrough spoke of is actually the inkblot problem we talked about earlier. I love these notebooks and I don’t want to have to hoard my remaining pile of good ones.

  18. I compared the moleskine address book I bought 2-3 years ago with the 2005 datebook I was given for Christmas and I can see no discernable difference in paper quality or the elastic band. I use pencils, fountain pen with .whatever ink cartridge I can get at my local stationers, but mostly my Sakura pigma felt tip pens which are permanent, archival and never bleed through and dry fast enough that there is no smearing on the opposite page.

    I also really like Exacompta blank or datebook refill notebooks. They are stitched, clothbound spine, the paper is thinner than my moleskine’s but there is no bleed through for me. I do not see anything about archival qualities but my oldest one, six years old, shows no signs of yellowing or other deterioration of the paper quality.

    I also like Clairefontaine notebooks but I have a hard time finding blank ones which I prefer to lined.

  19. Someone sent me a link to this Lee Valley Everyman’s Journal. It costs about $13, or $18 with shipping but its a lot bigger than a Moleskine. It has 400 lined, acid-free, threadbound pages. I figure I could pack somewhere around 120,000 to 160,000 words into this.

  20. I think that the quality issue began AFTER the 2005 datebooks were released. My 2005 mini datebook is fine– plus they shipped to our store in October of 2003. Our next big Moleskine shipment wasn’t until Janurary. The notebooks used to come in these black display boxes. Now the boxes look similar– but they’re white. I’m wondering if the change from black to white display boxes migh coincide with a change in materials?

  21. Here’s an email I received from Kikkerland’s Jeroen Kuiper today:

    “I received a response back from the factory on the paper Quality question you emailed me last week. They tell me the paper has been the same since inception.

    Kind Regards and continued success.”

  22. That sounds like good news. Lets do some checking ourselves (first hand experiences only) and make sure; but lets not start a rumor with nothing but speculation.

  23. Eric & Others – The white display boxes coincide with the new packaging concept – wider bands, brighter colors, and “Writing” promotion stickers/post cards/labels included with notebook. There was a link here on Moleskinerie back in January (???) to a flash animation by the design firm on the new look for M.

    I have noticed no perceivable change in quality of paper with the notebooks coming in the new package designs. I opened a notebook from a case I just received last week and tried every type of pen I have on hand, and can see no change in paper quality or issues with bleed-through.

  24. I know what ya’ll mean about the thinner paper and the thinner band.
    But my 2005 diary has a great elastic, and the Cahiers I ordered last week seem to have exceptionally nice paper. A great texture, with less ink bleed through than any other Moleskine I have ever had (except, of course, for the sketch book).
    Large and heavy writing with a bold point Uni-Ball Vision Elite doesn’t make it through the paper at all, and neither do the micro version or the Pilot .07 G2.
    It’s like a new heaven.

  25. John:

    When I use the Uni-Ball Vision Elite fine point with a light hand, I get read-through. Weird.


  26. Joy, me too, but not with my new Cahiers:)
    I was sad before, because the Elite and the normal Vision are really nice pens, and they just plain worked like crap on my 2005 diary. The Uni-Ball Gel RT (not the Impact) was pretty good, like a less messy G2. But no cap and therefore not pocket-worthy.
    The paper in my large-format journal and my 2005 diary seems visibly different from my lined Cahier. I hope it’s not a freak thing and that the paper is getting better. I imagine it would take a fountain pen or art pen very nicely.
    Of course, this could all be in my head ;^P

  27. I just tried my Rotring Art Pen on my pocket diary–read-through, same as with the notebook.

    I’m sticking to the Pitt pen.

  28. I bought my first ever moleskine pocket notebook last month – expecting great things of this highly regarded (and I have to say over hyped) notebook -only to be crushingly disappointed by the rather nasty thin paper inside. About which I felt strongly enough to document with pictures of the show-through problem:
    and blogged about:
    frankly I can’t help but feel a bit cheated.

  29. Does this mean i should forget about buying one? i don’t draw(possibly only sketches) and use a ballpoint or ever-so -rarely a felt tip pen.

    Should I still buy one?

  30. I have noticed a difference in the elastic, the paper and the cover. All are of lower quality to my 2004 diary . Is there any confirmation yet on what modo and modo have done with their manufacturing? Have they made changes just to be able to improve their bottom line?

  31. Thanks bill. I’m going to get one as soon as i can. I just feared that the ink bleed would be too big, and concidering their price, i was checking.
    thanks again.

  32. I bought my first Moleskine back in May and was disappointed with the thin and cheap quality of the paper. And I went back today to buy another…and the quality is still horrible! Perhaps if I order them from the U.K., the quality’ll be a little different.

  33. I’m considering on getting my first ever moleskine and I was wondering if this paper issue has been resolved for the 2006 planners? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thanks! 🙂

  34. I have several pocket notebooks that I bought in 2004. Three of the plain pocket notebooks and one of the ruled pocket notebooks have a slightly wider elastic and all of these are in the old packaging. Of interest to me is that another one of the plain ones has the thinner elastic but the old packaging. All of the notebooks with the new packaging have the thinner elastic. I am wondering if there has been any new word about the paper quality issue. Personally, I like the thicker elastic and have been holding onto those notebooks in order to “treat” myself to their use when I feel the need. 😉 I am interested that this thread has gone on for nearly a year. I just discovered it today and it seems that the issue is still unresolved. Any new information would be appreciated. I am hoping that the Moleskine notebooks will go back to the wider elastic as it seems (to me) to be of higher quality. I have not really noticed a huge paper quality issue myself, but after filling 6 of the “new” variety notebooks (new packaging/thinner elastic) I plan to open one of the older ones in about a week and I will comment on any differences I note. I await more news about this topic.

  35. I recently changed over from using a Uni-Ball gel pen (0.38 tip) to a fountain pen, Lamy Safari FP, 1.1 mm cursive italic. I’ve not noticed any significant bleed through at all. Am enjoying writing more now than with the gel pen which is sorta like writing with a needle. I bought a box of 20 Moleskine pocket-sized, squared notebooks(w/ the 9-labels) earlier this year, which I am using now. I don’t see much difference in the quality of paper from Moleskines that I bought two years ago. I do notice how much thinner the elastic band has gotten. Sorta chintzy. Gets the job done ok, but not nearly as definitely as the older, thicker elastic band.

  36. Having used my “older version” Moleskine (plain pocket) for a few weeks now, I am reporting back that I am not really noticing a whole lot of difference in paper quality. If anything, the older paper seems slightly more absorbent – the bleed through is a little more noticable but not to the point of being annoying. I use a variety of gel ink pens – G2, Uniball Vision Elite, Pilot Precise Grip. I do enjoy the wider elastic band and maintain that I wish the manufacturer would consider going back to that style.

  37. I just bought a ruled pocket M. notebook and like others here, am amazed at the amount of bleedthrough. I use fountain pens exclusively and experimented with a variety of different inks. The only one so far that works well is Aurora Blue, which, amazingly, makes *zero* bleedthrough. It’s not a permanent ink, however, so a little water could wreak havoc.

    Is the paper in these little pocket notebooks different from that in the larger versions?

  38. I wonder if some of these problems could be from fakes – cheap imported copies from China?

    That might also be the reason behind them changing the packaging.

  39. Does anyone know why the black “oilskin” cover on the newer Moleskines is so much more silky – or slippery feeling than the older ones? I still have a stock of the older ones and the covers are just more… grippy. The texture is just a different feel. Does anyone else know what I mean, or am I just being picky?

  40. Moleskines paper is below standard for the price charged. Not suitable for fountain pens and even bleeds with a gel pen. I have swiched to CIAK which has the best quality paper I have ever encountered.

  41. I agree. I used Moleskines for a few years, ruled and graphed. The paper is flimsy, bleeds through, is not resistant to moisture/humidity (warps), and the elastic band is thin, weak, and does not last. I believe Moleskine that the paper is the same, I think I just notice more now that I care about my notebooks and writing instruments.
    I Still like the design so much, but there are better products appearing all the time. I recently started using Riteintherain because the paper will last essentially forever. The tactical series are more sedate than the yellow covers.
    My writing instrument is a Fisher Space Pen or a No#2 ‘Natural’s pencil, which I suspect will last longer than the Fisher ink!

  42. I’ve notice the lower quality too.
    In particular in the cahier notebooks, there are fewer stitches, the cover is a different material, and the corners are less round.

    I’ve contacted them about this, we’ll see what happens.

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