What Is a Moleskine Notebook?

Artists and avid travelers have always needed something to make sketches or jot down some notes into. From the days of artists such as Van Gogh to the travels of Sir H.M. Stanley, notebooks have been an important tool. They allow you to capture moments and ideas, to make lasting memories and be creative. Notebooks come in a wide range and there are many companies that manufacture them. However, no brand is as revered as the Moleskine notebook.

What Is a Moleskine Notebook?

Moleskine (pronounced mol-a-skeen-a) is a popular brand of notebooks for artists, travelers, journalists, or anyone wanting to keep personal notes or document their life. Moleskine are more than just sketchbooks or diaries. They are universal in their use and high in quality.


Moleskine are designed for travel. Their sturdy manufacturing includes a stitched together spine so that the book can lay flat open and you don’t have to deal with the pages trying to flip back. When the book is closed, it can be held together by an elastic strap that wraps around the cover. It even has a pocket on the inside that can expand to hold loose notes and pages.

The History of the Moleskine Notebook

The original Moleskine notebooks were produced by a small bindery company in Paris. The made the classic black notebook which was popular with the artists and intellectuals of the late 19th century. The traveler and art entrepreneur Bruce Chatwin favored the notebooks. He praised them for their versatility and always traveled with one. Chatwin was the first to coin the phrase ‘moleskine’. But in 1986, the French company that manufactured the notebooks went out of business and moleskine notebooks disappeared.

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Who Makes Moleskine Notebooks Now?

In 1996, an Italian publishing company in Milan called Modo & Modo started up production of the current brand called Moleskine notebooks. The idea was to bring back a product that was so synonymous with classic artists and idealists.

In 2006, Modo & Modo was unable to keep up with rising demand and sold their company to the French investment firm Societe Generale. In 2007, the  firm changed the name of the division that makes the notebooks to Moleskine srl. The notebooks are still manufactured in Italy and distributed all over the world. Moleskine srl has a branch in the U.S. called Moleskine America, Inc. with offices in New York.

Is Moleskine Really Moleskin?

Animal rights activists can relax. Despite the name, the books are not actually made from the skin of a mole. The covers of Moleskine notebooks are made from a sturdy cardboard material and covered in a waterproof oilcloth. The covers on most of the books are black but there are some different colors for different types.

How Many Types of Moleskine Notebooks Are There?

Moleskine notebooks are currently available in four types depending on the intended use. The different types are folio books, notebooks and journals, diaries and planners, and city notebooks.

Folio books are for writing, sketching, collecting, and being artistically creative. They come in two different sizes: A4 and A3. The quality of paper varies depending on the different uses. The folio books for writing have pages that are ruled. The folio books for creating and sketching are horizontal but the books for drawing are horizontal. The folio books for collecting are the most different with folders instead of blank pages.

Notebooks and Journals are the most varied. Two of the most popular are the Hard Black Cover notebooks and the Hard Red Cover notebooks. These are the classic Moleskine notebooks with the inside pocket and the elastic closure. They also have a Soft Black Cover version of these notebooks.

Other types of notebooks are Volant, Cahier, and Museum. Volant notebooks come in packs of two and a variety of colors. Cahier journals are versatile, come in packs of three and four different colors. Museum notebooks are another type of notebook that were launched in honor of the Van Gogh exhibit in Amsterdam. Museum book covers are silk shantung and come in six different colors.

Reporter notebooks are bound at the top of the book instead of the side. Similar to the traditional notebooks journalists and reporters use to use to take down hand notes, the pages are ruled and the book is small enough to fit in your pocket.

Diaries and Planners and for making schedules and keeping dates for important information and events. All planners have a special insert. The Black Hardcover planner has an address book and 28 lined pages with labels. The Red Hardcover planner has 24 lined and tabbed pages and 224 sticky labels. For the different types, there is the 18 Mont Planner, 12 Month Weekly Planner, 12 Month Daily Planner, 12 Month Weekly Notebook, and 12 Month Daily Notebook.

City notebooks are great fro travelers or city residents. They can organize and keep references about different areas of the city such as addresses of places such as restaurants, shops, friends, or places of interest. The notebook has a map of the city, alphabetical street listings, and a map of the metro and subway systems of that particular city. City notebooks cover major cities in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Where to Buy Moleskine Notebooks

Moleskine brand of notebooks are available all over the world. In the United States, there are stores in almost every major city that carries them. You can find moleskine in most bookstores as well as art supply centers.

You can also

buy Moleskine notebooks at Amazon.

You can also buy Moleskine online directly from the manufacturer or from an online retailer.