While many excellent notebooks pass through my hands on a regular basis, you can only use so many, forcing you to make some hard choices if, like me, you have a never-ending (and ever-growing) stockpile/backlog. That said, I think that the new MOO Notebook is going to make the decision on what I'm using next pretty easy.
MOO is a stationery company perhaps best known for their high-end business cards and other business stationery. They recently released their first notebook, and were kind enough to offer me one for review. How do I like it? Well, I've already purchased two more (along with a swanky leather business card holder).
First things first: this is a classy-looking hardcover notebook, starting with the packaging. The notebook that I received came packed in a black gift box, and included a matching slipcover and pencil. The notebook itself is hardbound in charcoal/gray cloth, with lime green highlights on the inside cover to make things interesting. The notebook also came with an embossed MOO pencil! If you're looking for a gift for a notebook lover this holiday season, look no further - the Moo Notebook will impress. NOTE: (Please see my update at the bottom of this post about retail packaging compared with what I received, which is apparently a promotional bundle.)
So what about the paper? It's fairly heavy Munken-Kristall (Swedish) ruled paper that is suitable for most pens. None of the pens that I tested bled through, including fine and medium nib fountain pens, though I suspect that if you took a super wet stub or broad nib to this paper you might have a different experience. For the vast majority of people, however, this paper will do just fine. I personally would prefer a narrower ruling (or even graph or dot grid), but I can - and will - use this paper without an issue.
A couple design features make the MOO notebook unique from anything else I've seen on the market. The first is the binding. MOO uses a coptic-style binding, with a cover that separates from the spine in order to allow the notebook to lay flat more easily. The second is the inclusion of a seam of blank light green paper in the middle of the notebook that you can use as sketch paper, or even as a divider to break the notebook into different sections.
I worry that recently I've sounded like a bit of a broken record, giving high marks to most of the notebooks I've reviewed. After thinking on it, however, it's because much of what is coming onto the market these days is just that good. I love the fact that the majority of new notebooks that I've had the opportunity to try have been fountain pen-friendly. It finally seems that notebook manufacturers are starting to "get" what stationery enthusiasts are looking for, and realize the extent of the demand out there for nice-looking books with good paper.
Price Point and Where to Buy
You can buy these notebooks directly from MOO online, and you all are lucky! Until December 5, 2016, you can get the MOO notebook for $13.99 (!!??!), which is 30% off the already reasonable retail price of $19.99. I did a double take when I saw that one, then promptly ordered two more. Most of MOO's other goods are on sale as well. It's probably safe to say that you won't find a better quality notebook at the $13.99 price point, provided you like the aesthetics.
Even at the regular price point, given the overall quality of this product, $19.99 is a steal. When I first opened the box and saw the notebook, I would have pegged this as a $30 product, easily. Kudos to MOO for putting this out there at an accessible price. The MOO Hardcover Notebook should do well, and I look forward to seeing whether or not MOO introduces graph or dot-grid versions in the future.
I heard from the folks at MOO, who let me know that the Black Box and Pencil are special promotional packaging for the notebook's launch. Notebooks purchased from the MOO website will include just the hardcover notebook and the slipcover. My apologies for any confusion, but at the MOO Notebook's attractive price point, the packaging issue doesn't change my opinion that this is still an excellent deal and would make a nice holiday gift!
Disclaimer: I received this product from MOO free of charge for review purposes, though I have since purchased additional books using my own funds. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.