More On The Moleskine Alternative

By | January 19, 2005

I just heard back from someone in the Scottish company that makes the Alwych notebook, an alternative to the Moleskine, which I posted about a few days back. Ian J Johnstone of the J. R. Reid Print & Media Group Limited (careful: the link doesn’t seem to work well outside IE) kindly emailed back a bit of background on the company’s notebook, which I pass on here for those of you looking for an alternative to the Moleskine:

We have supplied these notebooks for many years. Their unique selling point is the “All Weather Cover” which has made them popular with many individuals and organisations which require a durable notebook that can stand up to life outdoors. We supply them to, among others, the British Armed Forces and the British Antartic Expedition and, as you mentioned in your e-mail Michael Palin is a fan – and our unpaid ambassador – mentioning them wherever he goes to talk about his adventures! We always know where he is in the world from the internet orders he generates for us.

The book comes in various sizes and internal layouts. We sell lots of Alwych Books to Bird Watchers, who use them to record sightings and often to sketch birds, Fishermen, to record their catches and Archeologists, for recording their findings at “digs”. We are currently developing a “Super Alwych” which will address our customers desire for a fully waterproof notebook and we hope to launch this book in the second half of 2005.

So there you have it. I don’t see any specific reference on Palin’s site to the Alwych, although the keyword ‘notebook’ throws up some interesting little nuggets, like this one from Dhaka, Bangladesh:

When I get out my notebook, a curious crowd presses against me. The Lonely Planet Guide devotes a whole column to ‘Staring’: ‘The Western concept of privacy is not a part of the culture in Bangladesh,’ it warns, and I can see what they mean. I find it as much comical as threatening, as 20 or more people all peer over my shoulder to try and see what I’m writing in a very small book. When I stop writing, all eyes turn to my face, watching expectantly. When I resume, they go back to the book, following every line and curve with the utmost concentration.

I like the look of the Alwych though I haven’t tried using one yet. It’s without the band and pocket, and the All Weather Cover is bendy, if that’s not getting too technical. It’s also slightly taller than a Moleskine, as I’ve compared here:


Anyway, definitely worth trying out if everyone on your block has a Moleskine and you want to look different. Are there any other candidates out there?


6 thoughts on “More On The Moleskine Alternative

  1. Greg

    Recently purchased the Alwych small pocket notebook. Ordering was as easy as sending an email to the company; they called me to get all the details – no international telephone charges! Service was fast and friendly and it is a sheer joy to hear the Scottish brogue on the phone. The Alwych paper is much more fountain pen friendly – thicker, smoother, and no bleed-through – than the Moleskine, which I’ve used for sometime now. The drawbacks are paperback book covers, no page mark, no elastic band, and only ruled-sheets are available. However, for a fountain pen user, the paper more than makes up for the lack of such features.

  2. Prentiss Riddle

    For any other price-sensitive Moleskine users out there…

    My current notebook is not a Moleskine but a knockoff labelled “Design Ideas”. The quality seems comparable to Moleskine and it cost me quite a bit less. What I really like about it is that it’s a bit smaller and so more comfortable in my pocket: 3×4.75″ instead of 3.5×5.5″, with roughly as many pages.

    However, the store where I bought the Design Ideas notebook no longer carries it and I can’t find any reference to the brand online (possibly because its name is a pretty common phrase).

    So… Anybody else seen these Design Ideas notebooks? Or know of any other Moleskine clones at a friendlier price?

  3. Martin

    Greg, just wondering what fountain-pen ink you used. I really love the Alwych, but found the paper to repel the inks I’ve tried.

  4. Pingback: Sports Pocket Watch With Stand

  5. Robert

    Where can I possibly get one of these? By the way, I’m currently developing a site for men and I hope you can drop by. I have lots of cool stuff like business card cases. Let me know what you think.


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