Top critical review
55 people found this helpful
on April 15, 2005
The notebook, made by Modo & Modo, a firm created in the 1990's, is fine overall. But the paper quality could be higher-I can clearly see the writing on the other side, no matter what pen I use. I find the elastic band unnecessary and an annoyance upon closing the notebook. The binding and cover are sturdy though. So overall, it's a fine notebook, but nothing exceptional, and thus overpriced. There are other notebooks of similar format with equal or superior quality.
So my friend's enthusiasm for it perplexed me. To hear him, the "notebook" had just been invented; a new tool was available. As if no one had used a notebook before. I soon discovered the trigger for this attitude was the proclaimed "legendary" character of the notebook, with past users apparently including Hemingway, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, and others. The thought of using the same notebook as such intellectual giants was exciting to him, and unconsciously made him unduly pleased with his notebook.
This claim perplexed me, as years ago I saw Picasso and Hemingway notebooks, and my recollection of them was different. Hemingway was well-known for writing on notepads or in "blue French notebooks" and you can find several references to this on the Internet. On the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum web site, you can also see a picture of Hemingway's notebooks, which look just the way I remembered them, and nothing like the Moleskine notebook.
Another claim by Modo and Modo is appearances by its notebooks in various movies. It claims the Grail Diary in "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade" is a Moleskine. In fact, the diary is a prop made for the movie. You can see pictures and descriptions of it on the Indygear Web site. It has a soft, brown leather cover. The elastic band is loose, sometimes used horizontally, sometimes vertically. So the diary has nothing in common with a Moleskine.
The Modo & Modo claim of legendary history is thus deceptive. Their trademark of the word moleskine is also suspicious. Years ago, many notebooks had an oilcloth, moleskine cover, then the cheaper alternative to leather for a durable cover. These notebooks were not superior to what we have today; it was just what was available then. But there are many instances of people in the past, famous or not, using a moleskine-covered notebook. The trademark is a clear intention to be the exclusive beneficiary of this history. It's akin to getting a trademark on the word "leather", making notebooks, and claiming that anyone who used leather-covered notebooks used yours.
Modo & Modo is evidently using a deceitful, manipulative marketing campaign that plays on people's desire to have something in common with the legends. It claims a legendary history to get people unduly excited and affectionate of its notebook, promote sales, and command a higher price. Falling for this deception is certainly not the way to join the intellectual elite.