Engineer's Alternative to Moleskine
I know this may be heresy to the Moleskine-loving crowd -- of which I'm an unashamed member -- but I have an issue with Moleskine notebooks, and an alternative solution. I'm a programmer, and my company has been getting stricter about using proper engineering notebooks. These are notebooks that can stand up as legal evidence in defense of a patent, or defending accusations of patent infringement. The physical requirements for such a notebook are simple: pages must be bound, non-removeable, and numbered (not hand-numbered).
Being an avid Moleskine customer, I notified Moleskine US suggesting that they make some models with numbered pages. No response. So...gotta go somewhere else.
My company ordered a bunch of custom notebooks from BookFactory, so I decided to check there. It turns out they have both big, hard-bound notebooks (like my company bought), plus smaller 8x10 hardcovers, and "pocket" notebooks. All can be ordered with tons of options regarding cover printing, page type, number of pages, and so forth -- including journals and sketch books. The options are incredible. The prices, for better or worse, are on par with Moleskine.
I ordered two pocket engineering notebooks (5.25"x8.25" size) with the intent of carrying one with my Moleskine large memo pocket book. They're the same outer dimensions (BookFactory notebook on top, Moleskine on bottom):
Another view so you can get an idea of the thickness:
The engineering book is about 0.25" thick (center), 0.30" (spine). Note that BookFactory counts the front and back of each physical page as a "page," so there are physically only 48 pages despite its listing as 96 pages (92 normal, 4 index). IMHO they should be more clear about this on their web site. In any case, it's a good, easy-to-carry size. The pages also lay open pretty flat.
Speaking of pages, a shot of the notebook interior:
The headings across the top (right page) are: book number (you write in), project, date, page number. On the bottom: signature, date, witnessed by, date. All good stuff. The rules are 0.25" apart.
Overall, I'm very happy with these books. I'm going to use them for documenting my open source work. I have no intention of seeking patents, but should I ever find some lawyer questioning my work, I'll have solidly documented legal-weight proof of what I did and when I did it.
(Note: I have no affiliation with BookFactory; I'm just a customer.)
UPDATE: pen is a Rotring 600 Rollerball.