Archive for January, 2008

The moleskine phenomenon has been very strange. They’re an extremely popular notebook, often for very silly reasons. I won’t go into the company’s largely bogus claims that its product is the same kind of notebook that Chatwin, Hemingway and a bunch of Left Bank poets used. The very clever marketing of Modo & Modo, the company that brought the notebook (or something very similar to it) back in 1998 after a 12-year hiatus and — most importantly — bought the rights to the name moleskine, has given people the impression that if they get one, they’re tapping into some tradition of creativity.

They are, however, good notebooks, and anything that is a pleasure to write in increases creativity. But there are a number of very common complaints. They are that the covers are not durable enough, especially at the top and bottom of the spine. Another is that the paper is not very good for fountain pens. Flexible pen nibs will result in feathering and will bleed through to the other side of the page. Another complaint is the price. Here in Greece, the small one goes for about 12€ and the large one for 16€.

There are a lot of imitation moleskines by companies trying to cash in on the craze, but they almost always fail to capture all the advantages that moleskines have.

But yesterday I found one that’s even better than the “original”. It’s by GREENAPPLE. More on that later.

It has everything the moleskine has: the elastic band, the pocket at the back, the bookmark; the only thing it doesn’t have is the form on the inside cover to write your name and address, which is hardly necessary anyway. The cover is much more durable, since it’s not oilcloth, but a sort of fake leather, and the binding is much stronger. Even the elastic band is better. If it has any disadvantage it’s that it opens up only slightly less flat than molelskines do. But only very slightly less.

The paper is the same cream colour, and is perhaps a little thicker. Unfortunately, it’s not any better for fountain pens. I inked up my old Waterman Ideal, which has a very flexible nib and a very wet line, and it feathered and bled through. I used my Lamy AL-star, which is an ideal fountain pen for moleskine paper, and it was fine. In the picture it seems to have bled through, but it really hasn’t.

Now, here’s the best part: the price. The small notebook was a mere 3.80€ and the large one only 6.80€. They come in different colours, too. There’s a blue one, a dark brown-nearly black one, and a nice burgundy coloured one.

And here’s the worst part: I can’t find them online anywhere. I’ve been able to find a company that produces Green Apple notebooks, but they don’t seem to have this particular notebook. I’m not even sure if it’s the same one. The logo doesn’t seem to be the same.

If anyone knows anything about this company or this notebook, please let me know. They produce a very good product for a very good price, and deserve to be more widely known.

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