Notebook nerds that we are, we tend to buy a few each year and hope that they see us through to the next, and many of those happen to be Moleskines. And being notebook nerds, we also keep an eye on a fun little blog called Notebook Stories. Recently, “Nifty”, the author of that blog, wrote a lengthy post lamenting the decline in quality of Moleskines. Nifty writes:
“They’ve obviously made a decision to down-spec their hardcover notebooks and it really shows. The edges are often uneven, the corners stick out, there are big gaps between the cover and spine, and the outer covering isn’t neatly and tightly tucked around the corners of the cover. Sometimes they aren’t quite square, as if they were pushed askew during the binding process. They just feel cheap… .Yes, I’m being nit-picky, but these little nit-picky things are the only reason to choose one brand over another– if all I wanted was any old random thing to write in, I’d buy a 99 cent notepad at the supermarket.”
It is a change in quality that other Notebook Stories readers have noticed, too.
So what? Nothing’s made to last anymore, right?
If you’ve devoted much of your career to creating the best paper pieces possible, you already know the answer to that. Yes, budgets are always being cut, meaning you often have to rob Peter to Pay Paul in terms of the quality of this versus the quality of that.
But the two constants are always the quality of the paper and the finishing, especially when it comes to books of any kind. And if you’re Moleskine, the only thing you have going for you is your reputation for creating quality notebooks. Otherwise, why not just make the Target knockoffs?
(Heck, stop printing those inane little booklets that are tucked into each notebook detailing their history and put the money back into production of the notebooks themselves?)
In the concluding paragraph, Nifty recognizes a glaring irony about it all:
“…it’s just like the Bruce Chatwin story Moleskine made part of their mythology. He thought those nice little Parisian notebooks would always be available, and when it seemed that they might not be, he tried to buy 100 so he’d never run out. But it was already too late– they told him le vrai moleskine n’est plus, because that little family-owned stationery company had gone out of business. Now there may be a giant multi-national lifestyle company churning out a variety of notebooks and other products that are available wherever gifts and office supplies are sold, but le vrai Moleskine n’est plus.”