A bookplate is what??

I am the owner of Bookplate Ink LLC, a company that prints both personalized and non-personalized bookplates. Most of you who are reading this blog will know what a bookplate is, but the majority of people I encounter in my everyday life have no idea what I’m talking about when they ask what I do.

Here’s how the conversation generally goes when I meet someone:

Them: “What do you do for a living?”

Me: “I own my own business.”

Them: “Really? What is it?”

Me: (Long pause as I gear up to explain what a bookplate is, while they are probably thinking from the look on my face that I’m about to tell them I do something illegal) “I print bookplates.”

Them: (Silence while they have a blank look on their face.)

Me: “Bookplates are decorative labels that are adhered to the inside covers of books to identify ownership.” You’ve probably seen them in Bibles or in a library, with text that says “This book donated in memory of such-and-such.”

Them: “Oh yeah! I’ve seen those. Hmmm, interesting.”

So why would I continue in a business that most people don’t understand? Because there are still many people throughout the world who love and cherish bookplates. Bookplates, or ex libris as they are often called, allow people to add a personal and lasting touch to their books. People become very attached to the bookplates they have used over the years. Bookplate lovers often ask to re-order designs they have used for 30 years or more. Or they are looking for a design they received as a child or found in their deceased parent’s library.

I feel privileged to be able to help people in this way. The gratitude that many customers have expressed is endearing and rewarding. With the exchange of e-mails and phone calls that often takes place with orders, some of Bookplate Ink’s customers feel like friends to me. Friends thoughout the world.

I hope to use this blog to tell about some of these people and their bookplate stories. And to tell about the history of bookplates, of Antioch bookplates in particular, and interesting tidbits from the business of printing customized bookplates.


8 comments on “A bookplate is what??

  1. Steve says:

    I was probably one of those people you got the blank stare from. Now I rely on your bookplates as an easy way to let patients know that these are the books I like to keep in my office for sharing with other patients and these are the books that are ok for taking home for free or for purchasing. It no longer becomes an issue, so thanks so much for solving that problem.


  2. s.champion says:

    Just a note to tell you how important your bookplates are to my grandchildren. Every book I give has an Antioch plate inside. I write a personal anticipatory note about the story’s importance,adventure, life lessons, or pure fun and silliness. In simple “kid talk”, I explain why its tailored to that particular child. So the books have piled up over almost 5 years between two families. Both daughter-in-laws have told me how they have been severely reprimanded by four and two year olds at “story time, because, “That (the first page of the story) isn’t the beginning! You have to start reading at the beginning Mom!” Your bookplates with their personal message, after the title on the cover, are now the beginning for all my grand children. Thank you so very much.
    P.S. The oldest came home from pre-school and said how sad it was that all the books there were” empty”. They did not have,”our special page”.

    • bookplateink says:

      What a thoughtful and beautiful way to use bookplates! You are creating a special connection between you and your grandchildren, with a love of books at the center. Thank you for sharing this! It makes me feel so encouraged about keeping the Antioch designs alive.

  3. Jen says:

    I found your site while searching for bookplates for my daughter. My father’s books all had bookplates, as did mine. I love looking at how we wrote our name change over time and thus really like that you provide non-personalized versions. It would be great if more of them were available non-personalized – or if you could offer the non-personalized price on plates if you do not personalize them. Thanks for keeping this tradition alive!

    • bookplateink says:

      Thanks for writing! We have expanded the non-personalized selection a bit in the past couple of years, but it’s difficult to predict which designs customers will want. We can offer them at a lower price because we are able to print them in bulk, which is more economical. The ones we offer now are our most popular designs. Is there a particular bookplate you are interested in?

  4. Jesse says:

    Sounds like it’s time for a vinyl record bookplate. Good post!

  5. So appropriate to start out with, “What the heck is a bookplate?” Young people these days don’t even know what a vinyl record is. All though, they are coming back as special edition picture vinyl releases. Maybe bookplates will come back as well.

  6. Barry says:

    I’m a big fan of bookplates! I think of them as a visual representation of my connection to what’s in the pages of a book.
    Looking forward to reading about the stories of other people relating to bookplates.

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