Thursday, April 12

Moleskine Loves Me, Specifically

I bought a pad of Clairefontaine once at a stationery store in southernmost Iowa. The owner recommended it because of the quality of its paper, the consistently high quality from batch to batch. The same could not be said of Moleskine: from book to book, you didn't know whether you were getting a fine grade of paper or something a little off.

Empirically, I had noticed this but I was too in love with the design of the sleek black book with rounded corners and the elastic binder. It looked professional and serious, unlike their ostensible rival, Rhodia, which used Clairefontaine paper. I couldn't get into its hyperextended, No. 2-pencil-yellow/orange covers, and the spines never seemed to fold the way I needed them to. So, Moleskine it was for me.

I began to suspect that Moleskine had identified and targeted me. I found their Charles Schulz commemorative notebooks appealing, their Pac-Man notebooks amusing. When they produced the Star Wars and LEGO notebooks, I was starting to be aware of something significant gathering momentum, but it wasn't until they came out with their Passions: beer notebook that I suspected they were actually reading my desultory blog posts and intermittent fanaticism.

Moleskine messages Postal Pocket Notebook
I thought they should make pencils and pens, and now they do. I thought a line of bags wouldn't be out of order, and they agreed with me. (Because I don't need reading glasses, I didn't foresee their generation of these.) But what is it now that makes me feel like I'm under the attentive gaze of a Big Beneficent Brother?

The Moleskine Messages Postal Notebooks. Do I not love all things stationery? In the main, I do. Have I not made my own folding pages/envelope sets? I have. Am I not impassioned about Moleskine products? To know me is to reconcile with my love of this series of handy, Euro-elegant notebooks.

And now I'm totally on board. If for no other reason than principle, I will not stray. For the most part I hold the concept of branding as misleading or at least tedious and beside-the-point, but in a few cases one manufacturer or service provider supplies a reliable product/service and they deserve recognition and, yes, loyalty. Moleskine does that for me. They are producing things I want, things I already have but with their unique spin and magical sheen, and while I'm not rushing out to buy everything they make, I will not pick up a notebook anywhere else.

As I said, I'm totally on board. Recently I bought a pack of large kraft Cahiers, decorated them with a 1965 National Geographic map, pages from a 1953 copy of German Through Pictures, and some Thai comics featuring troubled romance and ghost stories. I have put these up for sale on the international Moleskine site (they seem to have two main websites: one for the U.S. and one for everywhere else). If people find them worthy and buy them off me, why, I'll just pick up more notebooks and make more of these. I think that would be a pleasant outcome, for me.

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