These Journals are supposedly available at Borders Book Stores, but the two that I went to didn't have them. Apparently the books fly off the shelves pretty fast. Considering that these are about 1/3rd the price of a Moleskine but look almost exactly the same. They are located in the "Bargain" books section in the bookstore, which I was told is between the double doors at the store entrances. Stock may vary at each individual store, maybe it would be prudent to call ahead and see if they have some available.
Large 7.25″ x 9.75″ 240 pages
Medium 5″ x 8.25″ 240 pages
Small 3.5″ x 5.5″ 192 pages
- They come in Ruled, Plain, Squared (Graph) paper.
- Expandable pocket, Elastic closure, Satin bookmark
Since I couldn't find mine in a store, I gave in and purchased them directly from the Piccadilly website. They also have a discount if you buy in quantities of 10, 25 and 50 at a time. I had no trouble using their website to purchase my notebooks. But I had placed my order on Feb. 16th and I had to send them an email on the 27th to ask if my order had been shipped, to which they replied with a tracking number that had just been entered into the system that day. I received my notebooks on March 4th. I figure my order had just slipped through notice until I had questioned about it. I am happy to get them. =)
Obviously since they look so much like a Moleskine it's natural for me to try and compare the two. The notebook with the green label is the Piccadilly, and the other without a label is the Moleskine (sketchbook version). They look almost exactly alike sitting side by side. But there are subtle differences when you feel them in your hands. The texture of the black cover looks the same, although feeling it with my hands it feels as if the Piccadilly notebook may have a little bit thinner of a skin and the inside cardboard of the cover might be a little softer. The reason I say this is because the elastic of the notebook has left a very defined imprint on the notebook cover. I didn't think to get a picture of this. Even with the little differences the notebook still looks great and feels great in the hand.
A few of the main differences of the two notebooks to me is the ribbon, the elastic band, and the pocket. Both notebooks have all of those and they all look quite similar. Except, the Piccadilly notebook ribbon is satin and to me it feels to be better quality. On the other hand, the elastic on the Piccadilly is a lot thinner, it feels as if it will stretch out even more easily than a moleskine would and I really do not like that. The expandable pocket seems to be a little bit less sturdy feeling than the Moleskine pocket.
They both have rounded corners. The moleskine notebook edges are almost flush with the paper edges, and the Piccadilly overlaps just a very little bit. I actually like that because it seems it would protect the page edges from wearing better.
Here is a picture comparing the imprints on the back sides of the notebooks.
I purchased Large and Medium plain notebooks, and a Medium Ruled notebook. I like the Large size notebook and as far as I know Moleskine does not have one available in that size. I do prefer the medium size for ease of carrying around.
Size comparison between the medium (moleskine size) and large.
First I'm going to talk about the Plain Notebook (unruled). When I wrote with various fountain pens and a couple of non fountain pens I really liked it. The paper is smooth, but not too smooth. There was very, very little feathering or spread, in the pictures you might be able to see it. It was very minimal. The bleed through in this notebook and the page I tested was non-existant. I saw no dots of ink coming through at all although the paper is thin enough to see through to the other side of the page. Overall, I really like this paper and this notebook! I feel bad now that I didn't try to use watercolor or my Pitt artist pens in either of the notebooks to see the results.
Here's a 100% crop of the scan I took of the writing (front and back side of the paper)
I also decided to take a picture of the way the light shines through the paper to compare with the ruled version of this notebook.
Now here are images from the Piccadilly Ruled Notebook. I haven't really gone to any length to test the paper, but I did want to see how it compared to the plain notebook. At first I thought maybe the paper was a little bit thinner and the texture a little bit different. But looking at the pictures comparing the two, they do seem fairly consistent. But there was little bleed through pin pricks of ink showing on the opposite side of the paper. The Pelikan M200 is the wettest nib I have and it lays down quite a bit of ink. The VP Decimo is a fairly wet writer as well and there was no bleed through with it.
And the way the light shines through the paper. I had to adjust the contrast a little on the two shots like this to make the pattern stand out more.
I am really impressed with these notebooks! I wanted to see how they stood up myself after reading all of the great things that people have been saying about them. I just wish it wasn't so out of the way and hard for me to find them in the bookstore. I doubt I'll ever buy another overpriced Moleskine again with these notebooks available (maybe, with the exception of the Moleskine sketch/watercolor books unless they ever come out with their own version of those). They are the right value and the paper is great for writing with fountain pens, or non fountain pens.
But I don't think I'd use them as an art journal except with just a pencil and maybe a basic pen, until I can test them out with watercolors and more pigmented artist pens. (I will edit this entry when I get a chance to play around with watercolors)