The Importance of Mole Skins – Alyson Atondo

What Can Moleskins Teach Publishers?

By admin– Alyson Atondo

Moleskin notebooks fit both a hipster and practical analog agenda. Their black cov

ers, crisp blank pages, and sturdy elastic bands satisfy the dogged devotion of moleskin lovers (as well as digital non-believers). They have monopolized on what they can do best: an analog, notebook niche. But what value can moleskins give to current day publishers?

To Macro Beghin, the President of Moleskin America, “…the brand epitomizes the concept of mobility” (Publishing Perspectives). Hell, Beghin himself is a busy man. He commits to sit “…no more than an hour a day (yes, you read that right), so he thinks about the ease of moving around, both physically and mentally” (Publishing Perspective). This constant state of motion has transferred to the way that he conducts his business.

The moleskin is an iconic symbol across the modern day generation. It’s mobile, something that Beghin emphasizes is important when choosing and designing a product. For example, one does not want to carry around something the size (and weight) of a textbook. This seriously limits the mobility and hinders the user from performing their necessary tasks. One basic example that a person can think about is travel writing. A small, pocket-sized notebook is easy to manage and carry around. This allows for the individual to quickly take out their notebook to record in-the-moment tasks that would otherwise be quickly forgotten.

But Beghin isn’t completely against digital. Even though he stands behind his basic moleskin design, his company is making a digital, sharp right turn. Unveiling the Evernote Smart Notebook, Beghin hopes to sync (and ultimately fuse) the analog and digital worlds together. Beghin states, “Everyday, people live in a hybrid analog/digital world. People move seamlessly from low-tech to hi-tech, analog to digital and notebook to smart phone” (Moleskin).

Key the drum beats as the Evernote Smart Notebook is introduced. So what makes this different from other things, notebooks, tablets, and apps? Evernote allows you to jot your thoughts onto paper and, with a click of your Evernote Page Camera (in lay terms, an app with a camera), make your notebook instantaneously digital. Once you have a log of your (now) digital notebook photos, you can easily find them by searching for basic keywords or tags (Moleskin).

This is a huge move for the moleskin brand, because, until now, they have never really dipped their feet into the digital waters. By teaming up with Evernote, a company comprised of many different applications to help people stay organized. Together, Moleskin and Evernote have “…optimized on each of their symbiotic brands to create an analog/digital continuum for mobile humans who understand that their creativity is based largely in the pen and paper process” (Publishing Perspective).

But what lesson can Moleskin provide to people in the publishing world? Beghin emphasizes the fact that companies need to throw out the notion that consumers automatically line up for “Team Paper or Team Digital”. When considering the development (and overall success) of a product, companies need to remember that readers do not have stagnant desires. Those, just like clothes, change frequently and at any given moment, “…depending on the nebulous nature of lifestyle and mobility at any given moment” (Publishing Perspective) because, after all “Team Digital still carries Team Paper in their backpack, in their pocket, and continues to stack their bookshelves and pile high their desks” (Publishing Perspective).

It is important to note, however, that digital and traditional outlets are mutually exclusive, that is, one cannot simply exist without the other. Although analog ideas have now become digitally transplanted, there is still a need for the “traditional” aspects.

Evernote Smart Notebook image courtesy of

Evernote Smart Notebook image courtesy of

As previously noted, analog ideas have helped ideas become digitized. Without a traditional sense of imagination, some digital ideas may never have become created. For example, exactly what I’m talking about, the Evernote Smart notebook. People are constantly coming up with ideas all of the time. However, our memories aren’t exactly the best at all times. The Evernote allows people to tap into the analog aspect, by writing down ideas into a physical, hardcopy of a notebook. People can translate these thoughts quickly and coherently into a small notebook that they could have otherwise lost while trying so hard to remember them. Yes, I know that we all have smart phones and the question ringing through your head is something along the lines of “But I have a smart phone. I can easily tell Siri to take notes for me.”

So you can. But maybe thoughts are better translated with by way of paper and pen. And besides, what if the piece doesn’t save? Although smart phones are indeed “smart” they aren’t immune to making mistakes.

Shifting back to the Evernote, one can then take a picture of their physical note copies and upload them with an iPhone or Android device. This helps to prevent any technological disasters and allows the writer to have multiple copies of their written work to prevent it becoming lost.

Okay, so, why do they need to be tied together and what is the importance? One main reason is to appeal to all demographics of people. Another is to help guarantee that work will not become lost (as you have a digital and hardcopy of the work). The last, and perhaps the most important, is to drive the point home that, without what many would deem “boring” or “stone age” we would not have its digital counterpart.

In reality, Moleskin has reached an awesome digital balance. They do not need to surrender what they have been branded for (the analog pen and paper); however, they have allowed themselves to reach out to a greater, rapidly changing market that will allow them to expand as a business. They have capitalized on their niche and will only continue to do so as they forge forward into an uncertain, digitally scary future.

The blank page beckons….

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