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Simple Question: Any reason I CAN'T use any Moleskin?

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I've searched the forum and haven't yet found a straightforward answer to my question: is there any reason I shouldn't switch from the Evernote smart moleskin notebook to a regular moleskin notebook of my choosing? Every other post caters to the opposite question of why one should use it and the features it provides, and they're all at least two years old or more.

Before selling me on the merits of the Evernote Smart Notebook, save the effort. I am already a longtime user, and I am fully aware of its features. I discovered Evernote itself when I went back to school 7 years ago, and I wouldn't be able to do my job (environmental engineering) nearly as well without it. To date, I have about 9,500 notes utilizing one or more of 732 tags across 63 notebooks. Many of these are digitized meeting notes from my Evernote Smart Notebooks, all of which I retain as a hard-copy archive (about a dozen or so on the bookshelf) once they fill up. Whereas Don Draper has a drawer full of still-wrapped dress shirts ready to go, I usually have several still-wrapped Evernote Smart notebooks ready to go when the previous one fills up. I use (and prefer) the 8-1/4 X 5-1/4 inch version with grid paper. It most closely meets my needs, and I am disinclined to switch (among the Evernote-branded offerings) unless absolutely necessary.

So, I understand well the merits of the smart notebook, the extra months of Premium membership, the smart tags (which I never use, since they are so limited in type), etc., and I am a huge fan of (and evangelist for) Evernote.

However, I would really like to switch to a different, but similarly sized (non-Evernote-branded) moleskin for the reasons below. I'm seeking feedback on whether any of my observations are incorrect (entirely possible).

  • Speaking only for myself, I find the existing embossed cover design to be hideous, like cheap mid-90s clip art. It simply is not a professional-looking notebook for my industry. I'd be fine with just the Evernote logo by itself, but the rest of the collage looks more suited to a tech startup or college dorm. Just my opinion. Apologies if you feel differently, but seasoned professionals need something different. 
  • I understand that the dots make it easier for the software to correct for skew and other issues. However, I successfully capture all manner of documents (utility bills, store receipts, scribbles on a cocktail napkin, etc.) all the time using the same iPhone camera I use to capture notes, all printed on plain paper or some other medium that isn't the Evernote-moleskin-specific paper. I get similarly satisfactory results, and I fail to see how using a different notebook would be any different from the other plain-paper documents I bring in. 
  • I never use the smart stickers. They are too few in number (both kind and quantity) to be of any use to me. Most of my notes have many tags, and any one tag might be required by dozens, even hundreds of notes. The smart stickers are a great tool, but they don't scale up to my use case. 
  • I do appreciate and use the extra months of Premium membership, but it is something I can live without in favor of a notebook with cleaner cover aesthetics. I'm already hooked on Evernote; I'm not going anywhere and don't need the extra enticement to pay for my membership.
  • I believe the technical limits of the handwriting OCR are stressed more by my crude chicken scratch than the paper on which it is written. I doubt I'll see a huge drop off in ability to search my notes (in line with the second bullet above). I'm open to the distinct possibility that the drop off is there, but I haven't yet observed it. 

And yes, I realize that in the time I've pondered this and written this note, I could have just gone out an bought one to try out. I preferred to ask first instead. 

Thanks in advance. 

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10 hours ago, TampaEvernoteEvangelist said:

I've searched the forum and haven't yet found a straightforward answer to my question: is there any reason I shouldn't switch from the Evernote smart moleskin notebook to a regular moleskin notebook of my choosing? 

@TampaEvernoteEvangelist Thanks for starting this discussion.  I'm also interested in any response you receive.

Personally, I have not used the smart notebooks or any special notebook. I've been satisfied using the document camera on any paper I use for notes, then I discard the paper.  I don't have any hardcopy archives.

I thought the tag stickies were gimmicky, and wouldn't be of use to me.  

I did wonder if the OCR would be better with the smart notebooks.  I find it totally useless for my handwriting; but this is more a criticism of my handwriting quality

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Personally, I like the Evernote smart notebooks a lot, and I think it was a really cool move to team up with Moleskine. I was in SF at their annual conference when they made the announcement (they don't do these conferences anymore). It was pretty enjoyable, especially after visiting Evernote headquarters the day before and having great talks with the developers and staff there. What a wonderful team of people doing exciting stuff. The notebooks are just one example of their innovative experimentation.

Over time, I wish that they had developed the integration even more, and there are improvements to the OCR that I'd like to see, but overall, I think it is great. More to your point, I have a detailed post comparing the OCR results to other paper. If you don't want to read it, the short answer is: it doesn't matter what you use. It's more of an aesthetic thing (this is important, in my opinion, but other people might not value it so much).


I also have a comparison of scan settings, for anyone who scans their stuff with a scanner.


I love paper and writing utensils, and as a calligrapher (Japanese calligraphy), I use them everyday (I think there are going to be people for a long time who find paper opens up a different kind of creativity they just cannot access any other way). But, do I use regular paper for my notes? No. Moleskine? No. I was easily converted recently to the Apple Pencil. Finally, I feel like I've got the best of both worlds, the ability to naturally write by hand, and the ability to keep everything digital.

Evernote's Apple Pencil support exists, but is sub-par, in my opinion. Apple Notes is far better. The best I have found so far, though, is GoodNotes, which does an excellent job (so far as I can tell) of OCR. I tend to use Apple Notes (no OCR) for other reasons (convenience, encryption, etc.), but if you are looking for digital + handwriting + OCR, the GoodNotes is worth a try. That said, I haven't done much with Penultimate (again, the security thing). Take a look at that as well.

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  • 7 months later...

I do enjoy the Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, as I do capture several of the pages, almost always using the smart stickers for the handwritten notes I intend to capture. I am enticed to always get free stuff, particularly free stuff I enjoy and use very frequently — like Evernote or stationary. Lol

i will admit I have used non-EN Moleskine notebooks and even amassed a collection of unused smart stickers to use for that who book and this present book I am using - not all in  consecutive order. This present book is not a Moleskine either but just a promotional item from my company. I am hoping it is to blame for the poor performance of the recognition of the smart stickers. 

In short - switch. You clearly don't need the stickers, the points, and the only other reason I can use is it's green accents. Lol (I happen to like the green)

As for the 90's clip art - hilarious!  I actually keep my Moleskine in a cover by Inkleaf and my colleagues love it. https://www.inkleafleather.com/shop/moleskine-cover

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