02 December 2010

New Piccadilly Notebook

I recently finished off a Moleskine notebook (the brand I've used for years) and I decided to give Piccadilly a try as my new notebook.  I have to say there are some noticeable construction differences between the Moleskine and the Piccadilly, but there is also a huge price difference and that may make up for any slight shortcomings.  I always say every notebook has some features I like and some that I don't.  I have never been able to find all the features I like in a single notebook.  Leuchtturm's table of contents, for example, is a great concept, but it doesn't cover all the pages, so its not "perfect."

The Piccadilly I'm using is basically the same format as the Moleskine we are probably all familiar with.  It is 3.5" x 5.0", hard-sided, and black.  Other sizes are available in multiple formats.  I chose the squared pages because I like the size of the grid and the flexibility of writing notes or charts/diagrams.  The paper is acid free and has an off-white or cream tint to it.  The paper color is very similar to Moleskine.  The elastic strap closure, ribbon bookmark, and back cover pocket are all there.  One of the most noticeable differences between the design of the Piccadilly and the Moleskine is the absence of an "In case of loss..." page in front of the Piccadilly.  The lower back cover has an attractively understated, embossed P logo in laurel wreaths.  The ribbon marker is pure black (as compared to Moleskine's dark purple), and is a thinner silk fabric, where Moleskine's material is a heavy braid.  The page and cover corners of the Piccadilly are rounded, the binding is sewn, and the spine in noticeably more squared than the Moleskine.  The lack of any arch to the Piccadilly's spine is attractive, but may inhibit the ability of it to lie flat when opened.  It seems a little stiffer than the Moleskine now-- we'll see if that changes with use.

My main complaints with the Piccadilly concern the materials used.  I am tempted to say the Piccadilly's materials are "cheaper" than the Moleskine, but I'll hold off for now.  My opinion may change as I get more accustomed to the new feel.  I think the cover material and the paper of the Piccadilly are noticeably rougher and scratchier than the Moleskine.  The paper seems to have a visible grain to it and seems dryer and crinklier.  I have not noticed any bleeding of ink or more show-through than with the Moleskine.  I am devoted to my black Sharpie Pen, so I don't use anything fancy like a fountain pen.  A Sharpie is fairly heavy, though, so I'm confident the paper stands up well to dark ink.  I do think the Piccadilly ribbon is of disappointing quality.  It seems papery compared to the, loose, limp, heavy feel of the Moleskine's.

All in all, I think I may be a convert to the Piccadilly.  I have some small criticisms of it, as I have for every notebook, but the price is hard-- or apparently impossible-- to beat.  It is listed at $6.95 on Piccadilly's website, but is available at Borders for $3.99 list.  When I checked out, it was on deeper discount for $2.99.  At $10.95 online for Moleskine, I can put up with a slight difference in "feel."  I often say that one shouldn't quibble about Moleskine prices, since even an expensive notebook is still affordable.  That's a big discount, though, unless there is a HUGE difference in quality.  It seems the Piccadilly in only available in bricks-and-mortar Borders stores.  Also be aware it is NOT stocked with the other notebooks.  It is exiled to the sale items, so you'll have to hunt for it.

I will update my review after a few months of wear and tear.  The big question for me is, will this notebook stand up to lots of opening and flattening, tossing into a bag, dripping water (or knowing me scotch), etc.  Please comment if you have experience with these notebooks or particularly if you have different opinions about this product.  I always like to hear different takes on notebooks and accessories!