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Moleskine S.p.A.
Società per azioni
Traded as BITMSK
Industry Paper & Office Supplies
Headquarters Viale Stelvio 66, 20159, Milan, Italy
Area served
Key people
Marco Ariello
Arrigo Berni
(Chief Executive Officer)
Maria Sebregondi (co-founder and Vice President for Brand Equity)
Products Notebooks, Smart-phone & tablet cases, planners, diaries, sketchbooks, albums
Revenue Increase 120 million (2013)"Annual Report 2013". Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
Inside view of a Moleskine ruled notebook; the elastic band is visible on the right, as is the bookmark in the center.

Moleskine SpA (BITMSK) is an Italian company based in Milan, co-founded by the Italian designer Maria Sebregondi.[1][2][3] Moleskine production includes notebooks, planners, diaries, sketchbooks, and albums. Since 2011, products have also included other objects connected to reading, travelling and writing, including bags, reading glasses, pens, pencils, cases for digital devices, booklights and reading stands. Moleskine notebooks are typically bound in coated paper cardboard, with an elastic band to hold the notebook closed, a sewn spine that allows it to lie flat when opened, ivory-coloured paper, rounded corners, a ribbon bookmark and an expandable pocket inside the rear cover, packed in a paper banderole.

The company has registered subsidiaries in France, Germany, UK, Singapore, China, USA and Hong Kong.

The name Moleskine does not have an official pronunciation. The company claims it is a "brand name with undefined national identity".[4] The Italian pronunciation is [mɔleˈskiːne].


Notebooks with features similar to the present Moleskine notebooks were popular in Paris during the 19th and 20th centuries, handmade by small French bookbinders who supplied the stationery shops of Paris. In the late 19th to early 20th centuries similar black notebooks were used by Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Henri Matisse. However, none of them used the present Moleskine-brand notebook since the brand was founded much later.

The present Moleskine notebook is fashioned after Bruce Chatwin's descriptions of the notebooks he used in his travels. The name itself, "Moleskine", is a nickname that Chatwin uses in one of his most celebrated writings, The Songlines (1986). In this book, Chatwin tells the story of his original supplier of notebooks, a Paris stationer who in 1986 informed him that the last notebook manufacturer, a small family-run firm in Tours, had discontinued production that year, after the death of the owner. "Le vrai Moleskine n’est plus" ("The real Moleskine is no more") are the words Chatwin puts in the mouth of the owner of the stationery shop in Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie.[5]

In the mid-1990s, Maria Sebregondi, co-founder and currently vice president for brand equity, pitched the idea of resurrecting the notebooks to the Italian company Modo & Modo. At the time, the shelves of stationery stores were already stocked with blank books,.[1][6] The notebook was officially reintroduced in 1997, establishing the Moleskine trademark; production started with 5,000 pieces. In 1999, Modo & Modo SpA started distributing outside Italy. By the 2000s Modo & Modo SpA had a small staff in Milan and sales of 20 million euros (or around $26 million).[1] In 2004, Moleskine notebooks arrived in Japan, and from there Moleskine started distribution to the rest of Asia. In 2006, the company was purchased by the European private equity firm now known as Syntegra Capital.[1]

In 2006, according to an article in the International Herald Tribune, the company’s small staff was unable to keep up with demand.[7] In August 2006, the French investment fund Société Générale Capital purchased Modo & Modo SpA, and invested in its expansion. The company name changed to Moleskine Srl. According to an article in the German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland in July 2012, Moleskine collections were distributed in 22,000 stores across 95 countries.[8]

In 2011, Moleskine production extended to new categories with the new writing, travelling and reading collections, launched at the Milan Design Week 2011.[9] Most of the objects in these new collections are designed by Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti. They include bags, computer cases, reading glasses, pens and pencils, booklights and reading stands. Moleskine has become a joint-stock company and is therefore now called Moleskine SpA.[10] In March 2013 the company announced that it will go public at the Milan, Italy, stock exchange.

Moleskine production[edit]

Moleskine notebook

Moleskine items are designed in Italy. Most of them are printed, assembled and stitched in China. Since 2008, large formats for Volant, Cahiers and Folio hard cover collections have been manufactured in Turkey. Watercolour paper is supplied by a specialist French manufacturer. Since 2012 some production has also taken place in Vietnam. Moleskine SpA claims to invest considerable resources in the research of ever-new potential suppliers, according to criteria of quality, price, logistics and fairness.[11] Details printed on the external label band indicate production details. Each item has a quality control number connected to a specific production lot number. The localization of production in China has been criticized by members of the community of Moleskine users.

Moleskine notebooks are made with acid-free paper. Paper for Folio Collection is Forest Stewardship Council certified. According to Moleskine SpA all suppliers are selected after careful screening about quality standards. Labour and environmental fairness criteria are included in specific clauses of all suppliers’ agreements. [12]


Moleskine is a brand supported by worldwide communities of enthusiasts who write, sketch, paint and draw on Moleskine notebooks. These communities often share images of decorated pages through blogs, social networks or photo and video sharing sites. These communities have grown independently from Moleskine srl, even though they are becoming a growing focus of attention for the company, as Business Week reported in May 2007.[13] According to Maria Sebregondi, VP of Brand Equity and Communications at Moleskine srl, Moleskine highly values the opinions of Moleskine users, replies personally to everyone through customer care and is in direct contact with various Moleskine communities.[14]


According to VP of Brand Equity and Communications Maria Sebregondi, Moleskine collections straddle the gap between analogue and digital by giving users a blank space to facilitate creativity online and offline. The company believes that analogue and digital are not mutually exclusive.[15]

iPhone, iPad and Samsung device covers emulate the trademark look and feel of the notebooks.[16]

In August 2012 Moleskine partnered with Evernote to produce a digital-friendly notebook with specially designed pages and stickers for smartphone syncing.[17]

In October 2012 Moleskine forayed into print on demand with Photo Books, a collaboration with publisher Milk that lets users upload their own photos into a Moleskine notebook-style album.[18]


Made in China production has generated criticism among some Moleskine users.[19] According to official statements by Moleskine SpA,[20] production is mostly based in China because of quality and tradition in the Chinese paper industry, coupled with the appealing economic cost resulting from the combination of automated and handmade manufacturing.

After concerns were raised in 2008 about the presence of PVC in some notebooks, all items are now PVC-free.[21]

Since August 2010, all new Moleskine products offered to retailers in California and throughout the world are Prop 65 compliant.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d Martin, Claire (2015-04-18), "Moleskine Notebooks Adapt to the Digital World", New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  2. ^ Miller,Tessa (2013-07-31),"I'm Maria Sebregondi, Co-Founder of Moleskine, and This Is How I Work",LifeHacker. Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  3. ^ Raphel, Adrienne(2015-04-14),"The Virtual Moleskine", The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  4. ^ "How to Pronounce the Name Moleskine". 
  5. ^ Chatwin, Bruce (1988). The Songlines. Penguin. p. 161. ISBN 0-14-009429-6. 
  6. ^ Harkin, James (2011). "How an Iconic Notebook Was Rescued from Obscurity and Became a Global Phenomenon". Newsweek International. 
  7. ^ Horowitz, Jason (2004-10-16), "Does a Moleskine notebook tell the truth?", International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  8. ^ "Moleskines Mailänder Börsennotiz"., Financial Times Deutschland, 31/07/2012.
  9. ^ "Moleskine expands into reading and traveling, presents new bags and stationery in Milan". The Independent. 14 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "About us".
  11. ^ "Moleskine Quality"
  12. ^
  13. ^ Walters, Helen (11 May 2007). "Moleskine Blogs the Little Black Book". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Inspirational Owners: March 2007: Moleskine". Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "The power of brands", 1 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Moleskine Provides the iPad Cover Up With its New Tablet Case", 2 July 2012.
  17. ^ "Evernote Moleskine notebook review: When digital and analog elegantly collide", The Next Web, 20 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Moleskine and Milk’s Personalized Photo Books Are Unsurprisingly Sleek", 2 October 2012.
  19. ^ Various. "Moleskinerie: Moleskines made in China". Google Groups. 
  20. ^ "Moleskine Quality". 
  21. ^ "Moleskine Spring 12 Catalogue"
  22. ^ "State of California Proposition65 Labeling Law". Retrieved 29 April 2012. 

External links[edit]