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Ryman Softcover Notebook (Pocket) vs Pocket Moleskine

November 6, 2011

Ryman are a UK stationers, with both High Street stores, and an internet shopping presence.  The notebook featured here is also available in an A5 size, which costs £5.99 (and is included in the current 2 for 1 offer, making the A5 book effectively £3).  

Ryman’s pocket notebook (as tested here) currently costs £4.99 (although with their buy one get one free offer they are effectively £2.50 each).  A pocket Moleskine costs between £6 (Amazon) and £10.

Both pocket and A5 Ryman books come in Purple, Red, Brown and Black covers, each having 192 sheets of cream paper.

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Side by side – hopefully you can see that the Ryman notebook (right) is just slightly larger.  The Moleskine here is a hardcover, although comparison with my softcover Moleskine planners suggest that the Ryman cover is somewhat stiffer than the equivalent Moleskine softcover. 

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Both books have 192 pages (96 sheets).  As you can see, the Ryman book is slightly thicker, indicating a heavier weight of paper.  This is borne out by the feel of the pages – the pages in the Ryman are smoother, and do seem thicker.  The ruling is darker than in the Moleskine, and spaced at 6mm.

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The rear is stamped with Ryman’s logotype. Neither this, nor the smooth cover look quite as nice as the Moleskine logotype & cover.  The Ryman book has an elastic closure, a woven ribbon as a placemarker, and a pocket at the rear cover, just like any notebook of this type.  (The brown is actually darker than it appears here).

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Ink Tests

In all images, the top page is from the Ryman book, the lower from the Moleskine.

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Bleed through test – the reverse of the pages after being written on.

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Show through test – how visible the writing is when underneath a blank page.

The Ryman beats the Mole on showthrough (can you see writing through the facing page) and is slightly better (I think) on bleedthrough (can you see what you’ve written when you look at the back of the written page) although neither is great in that respect.

The Ryman loses on feathering for some inks (Waterman Havana Brown, Diamine Amazing Amethyst, and J. Herbin’s Pousserie De Lune), although the Mole feathers more consistently (weird, tendril like growths from the letters, as though the ink is following the paper fibres.  The Moleskine is definitely better at handling J. Herbin’s Pousserie de Lune than the Ryman book.

Some closeups – Ink in the Ryman;

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And the same inks in the Moleskine;

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The top set from the Ryman;

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and the Moleskine;

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Neither book is a patch on Ciak, Rhodia or Quo Vadis products, which have far better paper – and to be fair, neither Ryman nor Moleskine position themselves as “fountain pen friendly” notebooks.  However, the Ryman notebook, despite being cheaper, performs better than the pocket Moleskine for all but a couple of the inks I tested.  The Moleskine is worse for show and bleedthrough than the Ryman product. 

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