Photo courtesy of Paul Posadas

After posting twice last week about Moleskine notebooks, I got several comments complaining about the high price of the notebooks and their perceived pretentiousness, with one person even asking somewhat accusingly if we’d made some sort of business partnership with the notebook company (we did — we’re promoting their contest and exhibition, which is why I thought it would be neat to write some posts about Moleskines).

They’re fair questions: a pocket-sized Moleskine notebook runs about $12 US and the larger ones approach $20 US. Why would you pay that kind of money for a pad of paper, when a spiral-bound pocket notebook can be had for less than a buck at most stores?

Before I give my reasons, I should say that there are plenty of worthwhile alternatives to Moleskines (but a spiral-bound notebook isn’t one of them — sorry, Charlie!), some accurate-enough knock-offs and others taking a different approach to notebook design. I’m not as much wed to the brand as I am to the design — but the Moleskine brand is the one consistent supplier of that design. Most of what I say about Moleskies, though, can be applied to any other “luxury” notebook of similar style.

So, here are 5 good reasons to shell out your hard-earned dough on a double-digit priced notebooks:

  1. Moleskines are durable. With their semi-hard, vinyl covers, Moleskine notebooks stand up to the rigors of back pockets and overstuffed bags better than most other notebooks — and far better than anything spiral-bound. Though there is a limit to how many times you can sit on your Moleskine before it permanently assumes the curve of your backside, it is generally quite easy to keep a Moleskine functioning for six months or longer. Spiral-bound notebooks unravel (and the wire gets caught on everything); paper-bound notebooks fall apart from moisture, friction, and general wear.
  2. Moleskines are book-bound. Because Moleskines are bound like books, they are easy to store on a bookshelf for easy reference, or to stack for storage. Plus the rigid covers give a strong supoprt against which to write, no matter where you are.
  3. Moleskines are expensive. That might not seem like a plus to you, but hear me out. Because Moleskines have a large-ish pricetag, compared with cheap spiral notebooks or staples notepads, they tend to be taken care of more — which means that when you need it, it’s not under the sofa, out in the car, or lost who-knows-where. Instead, it’s right there in your bag or pocket, where it belongs. The perceived value of Moleskines makes it easy to integrate them into a daily routine that keeps them handy. Plus, some of that perceived value spills over onto whatever you’re capturing in your notebook — it must be important if you’re willing to spend so much on it!
  4. Moleskines feel good. Moleskines just feel good to use. The paper takes ink nicely, and is a pleasant cream-color that’s easy on the eyes and lends a richness to yourwriting. The covers are smooth and just soft enough. All these things are important, if not purely essential — just like the heft of a good hammer is worth good money to a master carpenter who could build a bench just as easily with a cheaper one.
  5. Moleskines are actually kind of affordable. Don’t forget that Moleskines come in all different styles, including specialized notebooks for sketchinig, watercolor painting, and otehr specialties. A small pad of watercolor paper can easily exceed the price of a decent-sized Moleskine Watercolor book! Moleskine’s storyboard pads and pocket accordions are virtually unique — I don’t even know where you’d find them if Moleskine didn’t make them!

Like any product, Moleskine or similar notebooks are not necessarily for everyone. But for many, they fill a pressing need with style and functionality, and that’s no little thing, no little thing at all!

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