Notebook and stationery brand Moleskine, as everybody probably now knows, has built its current rise to fashionable ubiquity on its creative and literary pedigree. “The Moleskine notebook is, in fact, the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin … produced for over a century by a small French bookbinder that supplied the stationery shops of Paris, where the artistic and literary avant-gardes of the world browsed and bought them,” reads the company’s introductory blurb. Since its revival in 1997 by “a small Milanese publisher,” Moleskine has become a staple of the creative and would-be creative, a slightly more artistic successor to the Filofax, with Bruce Chatwin emulators busily using Moleskines as a literary aid. And now the brand has teamed up with Evernote.

Evernote, not above producing its own stationery and chic accessories, positions itself as “the workspace to get it done,” and is arguably well ahead of Microsoft OneNote and Google’s various online productivity resources as the most elegant, polished implementation of the creativity and productivity cloud. “From short lists to lengthy research, no matter what form your writing takes, Evernote keeps you focused on moving those ideas from inspiration to completion,” kicks off its home page under the heading “Write.” And it now has a full joint line of Evernote Notebooks by Moleskine.

As the Evernote how-to guide explains, these books and the accompanying Smart Stickers are optimized to work with the Evernote iPhone or Android apps utilizing the Evernote Document Camera “with automatic edge detection and image optimization”and the functionality “to automatically tag and organize your notes using Smart Stickers” which mirror the function of Evernote’s note-tagging feature. For those who prefer to write longhand, the double solution should in principle allow page capture and organization on the fly – though not yet full OCR conversion of written scrawl into printed text – as well as the capability to incorporate sketches, maps, doodles, etc. into saved notes as Evernote does now, from the Moleskine page.

As Joanna Cabot has detailed before, Evernote is already a highly flexible platform with a lot of add-on functionality, and a lot of attractions for writers. Moleskine, meanwhile, is working by itself on an implementation of the Livescribe digital pen with specially printed notebooks, but the Evernote partnership already seems more mature and in a far wider range of stores.

This kind of solution, with the emphasis on portability like the Moleskine notebooks themselves, may help nudge authors even further away from the old desktop PC towards more mobile writing habits. Also, neither platform is exactly free of pose value and pretentiousness points, and for those would-be-seen-to-be authors who value the look of the thing, the combined implementation may be a double winner on that score. Oh, and their green branding does look nice with TeleRead’s green page design. But how useful will it actually be for productive scribes? Opinions invited.


  1. I bought one of the Evernote Moleskines a few months ago, but it has languished unused in my bag. Truth is, that extra step of getting my phone out and snapping a picture of the note I just wrote seems both awkward and silly. It feels like an intermediary process that, three or four years from now, will look hopelessly dates. Once our touchscreens become as fine-grain in their sensitivity as they are in their display, and once styli become as sharp as pens and pencils, we’ll just write directly on our screens, and the idea of this three-step process (buy a special over-priced notebook, write your note, stick an eminently lose-able sticker on, take a picture of it) will be about as high-tech as sticking in a VHS tape.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail