Are Moleskines Worth Their Costs?


"…To my unpleasant surprise the sucker cost a whopping $14.95.


That is a lot of money for a 240 or so page notebook. But, I am a sucker for trends so I bought one anyway. I opened it up in the car as I usually do when I buy something that I am really excited about – why wait till I get back to the office? As I flip the book open and thumb through the crisp pages, I think to myself, “Wow, this is really nice!”. The book is sewn bound like a high quality book would be, the cover is nice and firm but lays out nice and flat. The pages are not thick (although the Artists sketchbook is) and the inks don’t smudge easily. It also has a handy elastic snap band and an attached ribbon bookmark. In the back is a small, accordian pocket for storing various bits of paper or maybe a few photos…"

"Are Moleskines Worth Their Costs?"
Aaron Meck


Image: Shandara @ Moleskinerie/FLICKR.
© All rights reserved. Used with permission.

13 thoughts on “Are Moleskines Worth Their Costs?

  1. Fascinating article… I followed the link to the original site, and notice in the comments one who criticizes anything analog, but because of their handwriting. Is this really a valid excuse anymore? When I worked on Bay Street (the great white north’s version of Wall Street), I developed a death grip handwriting style, mainly because information came at you so fast, you had to scrawl to catch it all. After a few years away from it, I’ve returned to my old pen hold and mixed style of copperplate and spencerian. It’s not that hard, I’ve taught numerous people in an hour an easy way to improve their penmanship. And, like the author, I ditched my PDA in favour of my Moleskine notebooks. I had a drawer full of old units, from the original Palm Pilot up to the latest Pocket PC. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I can still find what I am looking for faster on paper, than I ever could on whichever PDA I was using at the time.

    I got hooked on Moleskine notebooks from an article in The Globe and Mail last year titled “The Hipster PDA” where Moleskines were mentioned prominently. I hit the internet, did a search, and found this site. After reading about 10 articles, I was convinced that I just had to have a few. Headed down to my favourite stationery store, and lo and behold, there were shelves full of them. The owner told me that he wouldn’t carry them unless they were of the best quality. I’ve filled about 5 large and 10 pocket notebooks to date, and have just started a new reporter and large size. Combine one of them with one of my favourite fountain pens, and I can write for hours. I regularly give them as gifts too. I have even convinced a former employer that I now do consulting work for, to ditch the cheap little notebooks they gave out during one of their seminars, and replace them with a pocket Moleskine.

    I firmly believe any new Moleskine user will be pleased, and will find multiple uses for their books as I have. And Modo & Modo are outstanding with the customer service aspect. I’m very pleased to see more stores in Toronto now carry Moleskine notebooks. So, are Moleskines worth the cost? I vote YES!

  2. I love Moleskines and have far too many of them, but my answer would have to be no. They’re horribly overpriced. But I’m willing to overpay because there’s nothing else as simple, elegant, and as high in quality.

    For many, they’re like luxury cars–much of the price tag is for a status symbol that plays into artistic pretentions. I personally have no interest in anything other than the quality and efficiency. My life and work are centered around collecting ideas, and there’s no better tool for that than a Moleskine, so I buy them.

    The good part is this is one luxury item I can afford if I eat like a starving student/ starving artist whenever I need a new notebook. I’ve been either one or the other my entire life, so for Moleskines, I just starve a little more than usual. No big deal, especially when using Borders coupons.

  3. Where I live they are over priced but I think it’s the fault of the place I get them from. I live in Windsor Ontario and the only place to get them here is at the local Art Gallery Store. The smallest ones go for $20 there if I remember right. The larger journal was selling for around $40 if I remember right also. Maybe even higher. I thought it was insane. I’ve been writing in journals and making my own for years. I’m new to these though. As long as they’re well made and don’t fall apart I’ll be happy.

  4. Here in my area $15 for pocket $20 for Large, and I think $30 for the x-large cahirs. Buzz doesn’t come cheap.

    I’m more interested in Jim’s tips for better handwriting from above.

  5. I agree with Brian’s answer: “If you buy them, then yes. If you don’t, then no.”

    Are they physically worth the money? Mmm, probably not. Are they “worth” it? To me, definitely. No other notebook has encouraged me to write like the Moleskine has. No other notebook (that I’ve found, anyway) is as well made and has the perfect features I look for when I write (you can’t beat the simplicity, and the helpful features like how it lays flat, and there’s no spine in your way, and it has the built-in book mark, and the pocket in the back, and the elastic band…)

    They’re worth the price to me. Artists spend a lot of money on canvas and paints. Musicians spend a lot of money on their instruments. Writers get paper and pen. Words are important to me, and at least I only have to buy one of these occasionally. 😉

  6. A pocket is the price equivalent of about 2.5 Frappacinos/Javacoola/fancy coffee drink. Those are overpriced. Considering I use my Mole several times daily, and it will stay with me forever, it’s not too expensive.

    I’m a ‘cost per use’ person.

  7. I don’t mind the price, really. I use my Moleskines all the time, and I like the ambience of my little notebooks. And they’re usually available at a discount through Dick Blick, anyway…

  8. Are Moleskines worth the price? No, in all fairness they aren’t. As long as you can purchase a 9×5 sketchbook for less than half of what the useful moleskine costs, then I will buy them. To replace the pocket sized moleskines I keep 3×5 cards in a clip much like the hipster pda and then file each note in a coupon file as it comes in. Are these as sexy as the Moleskine? No. Do I wish that I could justify the purchase of the black moleskines? Yes. Will I keep mining Moleskine blogs for suggestions that make my journaling and notetaking more effective? Yes. I think you folks are wonderful and have great ideas. You even led me to the Kaweco inkball and the Lyra Calypso inkball pens that are my current favorites.

  9. I think that they are worth every penny, for me. To me it’s like a productive hobby. I wouldn’t spend 15 bucks on a M just to collect them. But I have a variety and use them all- I have the memo pocket, in my car, for reciepts and punch cards. I have a planer for planning(duh), sketch book for sketching, and various pocket sized M’s for jotting things down. Then at the end of the day I line ’em up. When your hobby is productive it’s the best of both worlds. I love ’em, and they’re fun.

  10. I qown a few but I won’t get anymore.

    I know people swear by them but honestly I have found more satisfaction with similiar (maybe not as good but nearly so) and cheaper journals ($10-15 is the treshold of reasonable IMHO).

    I do go through a lot maybe if I had only one journal at a time.

    Take the “status” away and you might get a more reasonably priced item.

  11. In my country (Chile) this Moleskine cost twice what you pay for: $30 USD (About $15.000 CLP) And people still buys it!!.

    A mayor local company release a set of notebooks based on the Moleskine model with a lot of similarities en form and quality. The price: $7 USD (about 3.500 CLP) so, I love Moleskine notebooks but a rather have the local “Copy” of it.


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