Breaking the Laws of Branding

It’s always a little disappointing when a great brand decides to water itself down.

Moleskine Bags in Hyper Stop Motion from Moleskine ® on Vimeo.

No doubt, Moleskine has become a brand to reckon with among notebook enthusiasts. And getting into messenger bags isn’t the worst brand extension in the history of capitalism (vaseline shampoo, anyone?). But this just reeks of a successful business moving into a space it has no business being in for no real purpose. It’d kind of be like if, say, Open Letter suddenly decided it was going to sell really high-end bookcases.

For the record, I got through with my Moleskine phase years ago. They were quite fun for a while, but I eventually got to the point in my life where I wanted to write on paper that, a) wasn’t small enough to fit in my pocket; and b) didn’t cost me $27.45 for the honor.

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I for one would love to see Open Letter move in to the high-end bookshelf trade; perhaps they could give the bespoke-folks at Neville Johnson a run for their money.

Hmmm. Not unlike what happens to a once fine literary blog that now chases the dollar-hit algorithm jackpot.

I assume, Bob, you’re not referring to this one.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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