Several years ago, The Pen Addict reviewed a Piccadillly Notebook and I have wanted to try one ever since. Last weekend, while browsing the shelves at our local Half-Price Books, I found that they carried a large collection of blank books and journals, not to mention a huge wall of stationery, notecards and postcards. Half-Price Books is an untapped resource for paper junkies, for sure! What I was pleased to find was that they had the Piccadilly line of notebooks.
I purchased a plain black, lined, medium Essential Notebook which is about 5×8″ in size and comparable to the Moelskine large notebook. The book, for all intents and purposes, looks exactly like a standard black hardcover Moleskine with the black elastic, black leatherette cover, black ribbon bookmark and manila gusset pocket inside the back cover. But there are some notable differences:
- bookmark is sealed so is does not fray
- book contains 240 pages of 80gsm off-white acid-free paper. 80 GSM!
- Piccadilly’s suggested MSRP? $4.99
A Moleskine at the same size is now selling for $13-18 depending on the retailer mark-up so a notebook with a hardcover for $5 is a great deal. Based on price alone, if the Piccadilly notebook had the exact same paper as Moleskine, this would be a no-brainer. BUT… the paper is SO much better! And for me, the paper has always been the sticking point with Moleskines. Ink feathers and bleeds through. I can seldom use boths sides of the page for this reason and must limit myself to using pencil and very fine gel pens.
When I started putting pen to the pleasantly-weighty 80 GSM paper in the Piccadilly, I was thrilled. There is just enough tooth to the paper to keep my pens from sliding across the surface and nary a hint of ink feathering. The lines are light enough that even the lightest ink colors still stand out.
From the reverse of the pen tests, there is no bleed-through and only minor show-through. Once I completed these tests, I immediately started using the notebook as my go-to book. The more I use it, the more I like it. I have always appreciated the simple aesthetics of a Moleskine — the plain black cover that belies what your contents might be. In an office environment, I can be a little self-conscious of carrying a particularly elaborately decorated or designed notebook (floral covers or Hello Kitty might undermine my professionalism) so the Piccadilly is perfect. At $5, there’s no reason not to pick one up and write it all down.
Piccadilly Essential notebooks are available in 3 sizes and come in black as well as a variety of brightly colored covers. Essential Notebooks are available in plain, lined and grid. Check out your local Half-Price Books, search Amazon or check out the Where To Buy section at the Piccadilly site..
- Gourmet Pens reviews the soft-cover edition
- No Pen Intended reviewed a small grid notebook
- DIY Planner tried a small graph version
- Biffy Beans did a thorough write-up of a medium notebook (but I think Piccadilly must have changed the lines since then because my book had lines that seemed lighter than a Moleskine)
- Black Cover calls marketing on Moleskine when compared to the Piccadilly