‘Mitation Mutation


"I am not shocked to see, with the current popularity of the Moleskine,
that someone has finally gotten the idea of producing a knock off. The faux-skine is a dead ringer for the trusty black books except that the cover is
sort of slick like wallpaper, and the elastic band is attached on the
inside of the back cover rather than the outside. Apart from
that…well I thought it was one of the new Moleskines–it even has an
expanding pocket in the back."

Leslie Russell
Link: PaperBlanks Back Pocket Mini


"I was shopping in TJ Max today when I saw a brightly colored journal that
resembled a pocket Moleskine. Upon picking it up, I noticed that it had the
elastic band, page marker, and back pocket that are all trademarks of
Moleskines. Unfortunately, I could instantly tell that the quality of these
notebooks was nowhere near the quality of the Moleskine in my jacket pocket; in
fact, I took mine out to compare. The knockoffs were from a brand called Kolo
(kolo.com). I took a picture with my phone because they looked so similar. Also,
the paper wasn’t that good, and the binding didn’t lay flat. And at $5.99, it
wasn’t nearly worth it.  Have you seen or heard of these before?"

Sam Dodge
Original image


14 thoughts on “‘Mitation Mutation

  1. German company “Brunnen” (http://www.brunnen.de) made a real good knock off on Moleskine called “Kompagnon”. Not only does it feature high quality paper, the elastic band, a page marker and the back pocket, it even has one thing I am missing on Moleskine ever since: a very convenient holding strap for a pen.

    Unfortunately, the Kompagnon is available in plain and squared and as an adress-book only.

  2. I’ve seen these at Barnes & Noble. They’re photo albums/scrapbooks, not notebooks. And the retail price is at least twice what T.J. Maxx was charging. They’re OK, but nothing special.

  3. Yeah, B&N has almost a whole wall of knockoffs now, if a person didn’t know any better they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

    Until they open it and begin to write that is…

  4. Kolo journals and photo-albums are AMAZINGLY popular right now. They’re made from all acid-free papers– so they’re perfect for scrapbooking, etc. They’re also ridiculously cheap. They’re made in China– so they’ve become (along with UMBRA products) the most popular albums on the scene. Sometimes the quality seems so good– its amazing they’re so cheap. When we get them in our store they’re gone in a matter of days. They also make archival boxes for photos, letters, etc.

  5. The elastic is attached to the *inside* of the back cover? Betcha it rips out easily. Much better the way Moleskines have it (firmly) attached so it wraps around the back cover.

  6. That was my first thought on the elastic, Meg. But the Paperblanks paper is really, REALLY nice. Different from the Moleskine pseudo-onion-skin, but tres nice.

  7. I mentioned the Paper Blanks “back pocket mini” a while back in one comment or another — I like them. The creme-colored paper is archival, the elastic stays put (I’ve used three, so far, and no elastic issues as yet. Meanwhile, the elastic came out of my first moleskine sketchbook, but it was a high mileage item, so I’m not complainting), and the faux leather covers are nifty (with extended use the corners rub down to white cardboard in some spots, but the binding holds up well). Actually, I use a back pocket mini for writing and a moleskine sketchbook for drawing, thereby instantly overcoming the “which identical little black notebook are you” when I fish something out of my bag.

    I’m actually a fan of the whole Paper Blanks line, with the major exception of the wrap journals because the flap is held by magnets and there are simply too many electronics in my life to go toting magnets around.

  8. I would expect the closure band and the back pocket to be not only trademarks but copyrights of Molekine, wouldn’t you? Now the page-marker is widely used in diaries, etc, so I left that out. TJ Maxx, eh? I may have to go check that out.

  9. Every stationery company is ripping of the Moleskine design. It is hard to find any journal now that doesn’t have the pocket, lacker band and the faux look. Its good and not so good. Some of these copies are cheaper which is good but at what cost of quality? I feel for Modo e Modo because they make something we all love so much and now their product is being overwhelmed by a glut of copies. Cost or no, I still love moleskines.

  10. I love Kolo’s products. They should stick to their original line, or avoid doing cheap knock offs. It ruins their elegance.

  11. I love KOLO’s product, the quality is very good as photo album. I also love the bright colors of the series, including journals, the good thing is that they have a photo window good for customizing your journal, change picture once in a while. Too bad they’ve already decided to discontinue the journals and admitted that its not their strong line. I’m currently selling KOLO in our stores and the responds from our customers are good. It remains a high quality present (wedding etc) and their boxes are great for storing/archiving photos. http://www.moleskineart.com/MAexhibition2.jpg (you can see the full collection here)

  12. I would expect the closure band and the back pocket to be not only trademarks but copyrights of Molekine, wouldn’t you?

    Um, no? Given that the Moleskine is an Italian imitation of a defunct French original, which itself was a more-or-less generic format. It’s like suggesting that a foreign company could trademark/copyright/patent the faux-marbled front of a composition book — something that isn’t seen that often outside the US.

    I feel for Modo e Modo because they make something we all love so much and now their product is being overwhelmed by a glut of copies.

    I wouldn’t shed too many tears for them, given the number of years they’ve been able to take such a huge markup on their product line.

    Sheesh. I have half a dozen Moleskines, but I’m not so naive to think that it costs anywhere near $10 to make the damn things.

  13. Was at Target this evening and they have a line of products that
    *somewhat* resemble some of the Moleskine line. Notebooks with a
    black elastic band with pen attached. “Coupon holder” that looks like
    the folder from Moleskine. Quality isn’t even close to the same but
    the inspiration seems to have come from Moleskine.

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