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Generic Moleskine?

PREFACE: I realize I am risking heresy here, but here goes.

I happened to be at Staples this past week, and noticed a display of multicolored notebooks. One particular size caught my eye, because it looked very similar to the Moleskine pocket notebook, even sporting an elastic strap. I picked it up condescendingly, expecting to scoff at its inferior construction and features.

However, much to my surprise, the notebook looks and feels almost identical to a Moleskine. Even the back pocket looks the same. Click the image for several comparison photos. The UPC label says "Markings by C. R. Gibson" but on the C. R. Gibson website, I can find no information on these notebooks.

The notebook was $5.99 at Staples, cheaper than the $10.00 Moleskine. Has anyone else seen these? My biggest concern is whether or not the paper is acid-free. Does anyone know how I could find that out? If it turns out to be, and you want to save a little cash, you might want to try hitting up your local Staples for this little notebook.

Vramin's picture

I just ran across these...

I just ran across these in Staples this morning. I had not seen them before. They are almost exactly the same size as the pocket Moleskine, maybe 1/8" shorter on each dimension, which might make them more back-pocket friendly. The cover is the vinyl infused paper like the Ru Journals use instead of oilskin cloth. The bookmark is quite a bit wider, polyester instead of silk, cut with a hot wire on an angle, I assume to reduce fraying. The elastic closing strap is as wide as the one on a full sized Moleskine. The back pocket of the notebook does appear to be almost identical to the Moleskine. I use Uniball gels instead of fountain pens, but I have not written in it yet. Touching the paper with eyes closed it's hard to tell the difference between the books - it may be a little coarser.

They have several different colors, with different words on the front of each. The black (really a dark gray) one says "Journal," the orange one says "Thoughts," etc. I recall "Organize," "Plans,", "Ideas," probably a couple more. They all have lined pages, there were no blank ones.

I had to pick one up just because I'm a paper junky like the rest of you. It is a very blatant ripoff of the Moleskine design, but implemented pretty well. For the three or four dollar difference you might as well have the cachet of a real Moleskine on your person, but these would do in a pinch. I mean, I'll go spend $9.99 for a four pack of my favorite microbrew (Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA) and it's gone in an evening, so $9.99 for a notebook I'll carry for months isn't outrageous. These would probably be good for gifts and such if you're trying to get someone into the journaling habit.

If only they had blank pages...




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