Sorry, I do most of my note taking on tablets like god intended.
Neither of those are actual answers to the question. Why indeed would someone spend 5x the money for something that doesn’t do any better of a job of holding onto ink or carbon than something from the dollar store? My first guess is pretentiousness.
That said, I do own a Moleskine, with a custom engraved leather cover, one of only a handful that were made, which I received as a gift from an organization for which I do volunteer work. After using it a few times, it found its way into a drawer, never to be used again, because it’s far easier to save notes on my phone, where they’re automatically replicated to my laptop, and can have alarms, pictures and freehand drawings attached to them.
“cahier journals” sounds funny to me - like “atm machine.”
I can’t speak for Mark & family, but I usually use a Moleskine, so maybe I can take a stab at it.
It’s similar to any “premium” product: the premium product will have nice touches and flourishes that make it somewhat better than the lower-end products. With the notebooks, for example, it’s things like the pocket for holding loose paper, nicely laying flat, a good quality paper that works well with the pens I use, a built-in ribbon for a bookmark and an elastic band for keeping the book shut when it’s not in use. One can also get ruled, quad-ruled, or unruled paper, which is a nice touch, depending upon what the intended use for said book is.
Now, do these touches and flourishes make it worth the extra money? From a purely practical standpoint, no. As you point out, even a cheap-ass notebook can be a notebook. As far as I can tell this is true for any premium product; they’re never a “deal.”
So there is definitely an intangible element to the purchase.
Is it pretentiousness? That doesn’t seem to be the closest take on it, as it implies that there is a component of trying to impress people, and a notebook isn’t going to impress anyone (other than another Moleskine fan, at which point you exchange the secret handshake and reaffirm your membership in the Society). If pretentiousness can apply to impressing yourself, then maybe it has a bit of it.
Honestly, I think it just comes down to the human predilection from taking pleasure in the thought “I have a nice thing.” In my case I try to live a simplified life by keeping the number of things I have to a minimum, and it’s nice to feel that the few things you interact with are nice.
So perhaps its not a good use of money, and perhaps it’s a bit pretentious. But only buying a few a year I don’t really beat myself up for it. I just enjoy the silky feeling of my Signo 207 sliding across the page…
What? A 12-pack for $5 pen, instead of a Blackwing 602, hand sharpened with a bespoke Peruvian pumice stone by an artisanal scrivning honer?
The choice of writing implement is critically important!
The last time I was at the office supply store I noticed an updated Uni*Ball – I believe a 208 – and excitedly purchased a pack. When I got home I sat down and with excitement (and a bit of trepidation) ripped open the pack, setting pen-point to paper…
… and threw up a little. A disgusting glob of ink, at least a millimeter high, sat there, mocking me. Thank god that, in my haste, I had picked up a random piece of paper and had not bespoiled my Moleskine.
I appreciate your enthusiasm for keeping Sumerian techniques alive in our modern times even if I can’t fit a kiln in my own house to fire them when I’ve completed the tally of my grain (current tally … three bags of flour; I also don’t have enough land to grow wheat on).
It kind of depends on what you’re doing with the notebooks but if you’re using a fountain pen, you don’t want one of the dollar store notebooks. Same for doing drawing though the basic craft sketchbook paper isn’t great for ink either.
I feel like Moleskines are so ubiquitous as to have lost any pretentiousness. Remember when people used to think Starbucks was pretentious? (Coffee costs more than 50 cents!) Now, it’s just where you go for coffee. I certainly don’t buy them in the belief that they will impress other people. I like writing in them because it’s good quality paper and it doesn’t have the problem that I encounter all too often with a Five-Star notebook while taking classes: The ink doesn’t bleed. I don’t use them for classes because I’m not made of money and much of my note-taking is redundant, but when I’m out and about the small “Cahier” notebooks (that’s just French for… um… notebook, and if you speak French it loses all of its pretentiousness value, believe me) rides in my back pocket where unlike other small notebooks, it won’t fall to bits over the course of time it takes to use it up.
Meanwhile, if you want a decent notebook that doesn’t have the “pretentious” factor, Clairefontaine and Rhodia make some great ones too. But I like the pocket. I put coupons* in it. Because it’s about as pretentious as Starbucks.
*Okay, so I don’t put coupons in it anymore, but only because I acquired an excellent wallet that does that particular job really well. It still holds ticket stubs, love letters, and assorted scraps.
Oh, I don’t know about that. I was going to do a silly post about how wonderful the 207 is, and it seems like the pen aficionados really like the Rhodia!
Maybe it’s just so hip that only office supply hipsters are keen on it yet!
Heavens! I do hope you had your smelling salts at hand, and weren’t too far from the fainting couch.
I used to work at an office supply store and the 207 somehow managed to be better than the 208. We used to get people asking if we still had the 207 in stock. The 208 just felt cheaper somehow. I wouldn’t call it silly. I think quality just went down like it does sometimes. That’s what happened to Parker Jotters when they were acquired by Rubbermaid.
I have a Blackwing graphing notebook and I absolutely love it. Lays flat, little to no bleed-through, and yes, it has an envelope on the inside back cover.
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