Many Ways to Use Bookplates

The traditional use of bookplates, begun in the 15th century, is to identify the owner of a book. Bookplates, also known as ex libris, are usually decorative, with artwork that is meaningful to the book owner. Often they show the family coat of arms or some particular area of interest to the owner. Many well-known figures have used bookplates and many well-known artists have created them over the years, but they are available for anyone to use.

The Antioch Bookplate Company, in its early days, promoted the use of bookplates for ordinary folk, as people could order one of its many designs — often called universal designs — that are available to the public. No need to hire an artist to create a design specifically for you, although that is always an option. Many well-known artists, such as Lynd Ward, Rockwell Kent, and Robert Whitmore, created artwork for Antioch bookplates.

The Antioch Company closed several years ago, but Bookplate Ink continues to print their popular designs, both personalized and non-personalized. Many of our customers are individuals ordering for their home libraries, but it is noteworthy how many interesting uses people have for bookplates.

Memorial Bookplates: Many bookplates are placed in books being donated to a library or school in memory of someone, and are often books from their own collection. Sometimes, however, a collection of new books is donated in memory of a loved one, co-worker or teacher. One of our customers donates books to a nearby nature center in memory of her dear daughter, who died much too young. Another customer has requested bookplates in memory of her book club members. And many bookplates are in books given in memory of a favorite teacher or librarian.

University Libraries: Many of the bookplates we print are shipped to universities, either for their main library or a departmental library. Some of these are to designate a particular collection, or ownership by a university department. Some bookplates are sold at college bookstores, with the logo for school.

Kickstarter Campaigns: Who said bookplates aren’t part of the modern world? Bookplate Ink has printed many bookplates to be given as a reward for donating to a Kickstarter or other online campaign. These bookplates are usually signed by the author/and or illustrator who is the recipient of the funding. Many of these have been for comics and graphic novels.

Authors: Bookplates provide a convenient way for authors to reach out to fans with an autograph, when shipping a book or a signing in person aren’t possible. Author Bernard Cornwell has been using bookplates in this way for years. He has a significant fan base in Brazil and recently had his usual bookplate printed in Portuguese. Maggie Stiefvater sends bookplates with her own beautiful artwork, as shown below, to fans in the United Kingdom when she can’t go there on tour.

Gifts: Of course, one of the best uses for bookplates is as a present to your favorite reader. Grandparents and parents often order non-personalized bookplates as a stuffing stuffer at Christmas. Bookplates personalized with a name make a special gift for the holidays or a birthday. Many people are thrilled to find the same design they used as a child still available for them to give to their own children.

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SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO BITE THE BULLET

Over the years, we’ve received many compliments on our website, bookplateink.com. Customers have liked the color scheme, layout, and large selection of designs. However, the website was badly in need of updating, as it was in an outdated platform and not mobile-friendly. We are very pleased to announce that the site is now new and updated, though we’ve kept the same look as much as possible. The process was long and laborious, but rewarding.

More and more people are looking at websites on their tablets and smart phones, so bookplateink.com is now mobile friendly. This also helps us to be found in Google searches. You can feel comfortable knowing that your ordering will be simple and secure whether it’s from your computer, tablet or phone.

The shipping section of our website was no longer accurate and didn’t give our customers any choices. Now, you can choose from a variety of U.S. mail or UPS shipping options. Please keep in mind that US priority mail is often faster than UPS ground, but UPS has better tracking.

Our testimonial page has been updated to include images of the bookplates ordered by the customer offering the testimonial. Customers can also submit their own testimonial online, from a form provided on the right-hand side of the page. Look at the page to see a few of the wide varieties of bookplates our customers have ordered.

The designs on our new site are the same, but we are now showing the black ink designs with a cream colored background, to better represent their look when printed on cream colored paper.

We have always printed bookplates with custom artwork, but now that artwork can be uploaded right on the site, while you place your order.

We hope that these and other changes will help you to enjoy browsing our bookplate selection. Remember, bookplates are a unique gift for your favorite teachers, friends and relatives. We also provide bookplates for memorial or honorary book donations, for hymnals and prayer books in churches, synagogues, mosques, and retreat facilities, and for libraries of all sizes.  Don’t forget to order some for your own books!

Table to Table

Printing bookplates brings the surprising opportunity to learn about interesting projects, non-profit organizations, and companies around the world. We have printed bookplates for George and Barbara Bush to sign for a cookbook of their recipes, as an incentive for Kickstarter campaigns, and for politicians to sign at speaking engagements.

Claire-Insalata-Poulos-T2T-Founder1One of our most loyal and lovely customers is Claire Insalata Poulos, the founder of a wonderful organization that helps feed those in need. Claire had been ordering bookplates for years before I realized what important work her organization was doing.

Claire founded Table to Table in 1999, after volunteering at a food bank. According to tabletotable.org, “working at the food bank opened the eyes of this chef trained, marketing professional to a horrifying truth: tons of healthy, usable, fresh food was being thrown out and wasted every single day. With the help of New York City’s City Harvest, a handful of committed chef friends and a few volunteers, Table to Table started rescuing the excess fresh food from three local restaurants and a few grocery stores. The first two recipients of this free, wholesome food were two local soup kitchens. Today, its fleet of five refrigerated trucks serves over 80 hunger relief agencies throughout northern New Jersey.”MR100-Proud-tomatoes-bookplate

The food Table to Table’s trucks collect is donated by approximately 200 supermarkets, restaurants, and distributors and delivered to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, after-school programs and homes for the elderly. Corporate sponsors and chefs such as Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Tom Colicchio, Lidia Bastianich, Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali have all helped support Table to Table’s mission.

Table to Table uses bookplates when they honor authors. The bookplates can be sent to the author for signing and transported more easily than the books themselves. Claire orders design, MR100, shown on the right. This artwork, by Provincetown, MA, artist Amy McGregor-Radin, is one of our more contemporary offerings. We alter the design by leaving off the “This book belongs to” text. This leaves plenty of space for authors to sign below the appropriately food-themed, bright artwork.

Table to Table has now served more than 122 million meals in New Jersey and is a consistently top-rated charity. Truly it is inspiring to see what one woman’s vision and the help of others could accomplish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York City Library

My husband and I recently spent a few days in New York City, visiting our son. In addition to visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art (both of which I heartily recommend), we took a tour of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library. What a wonderful experience! And free!

The tour was given by a vivacious, enthusiastic and knowledgeable LIon_Libraryvolunteer, who brought amazing history to life throughout the library. The building was constructed on the foundation of a reservoir, with the cornerstone laid in 1902.

FrontWindows_LibraryBefore you even enter the building, you are greeted by two iconic statues. The majestic lions, nicknamed Patience and Virtue, are made of a rose-colored marble. Once inside the front lobby, the gorgeous huge front windows are worth turning around to view.

The first room we visited was the Dewitt Wallace Periodical Room. According to the tour guide, DeWitt and Lila Bell Wallace spent many hours reading and cultivating articles from the Library’s collection before founding the Reader’s Digest Magazine in 1922. The Wallaces ReadingRoom_Librarygave generously after becoming wealthy and The Wallace Foundation funded the restoration in 1983 of The Periodical Room that served as their informal editorial office. The ornate ceiling looks like wood but is actually plaster. The beautiful murals are described in detail on the library website.

Another highlight of the tour was the Gutenberg Bible on display upstairs. Johannes Gutenberg was the first European to usGutenbergBible_Librarye movable metal type in the production of books, a much faster system than handwriting or woodblock print. The New York Public Library’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible, one of only about 180 produced, was donated by James Lenox, who was one of the co-founders of the library.

 

 
Surrounding the Gutenberg Bible is a set of four arched murals called The Story of the Recorded Word. These murals, created between 1938 to 1942, were part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.  The first mural shows Moses with the Ten Commandments, as depicted in Exodus of the Old Testament; in the second a monk from the Middle Ages copies a manuscript; the third mural shows Gutenberg with a proof of his Bible; and the fourth depicts Ottmar Mergenthaler at a linotype machine.

This is only a small portion of the artwork and information shown us during the tour. I would encourage you to visit yourself if you are able.

 

 

Creative bookplate ideas

As I’ve written in previous posts, connecting with wonderful people around the world is one of the most fun aspects of the bookplate business. And hearing the creative ways people are using bookplates is icing on the cake.

GramercyPark2Our non-personalized bookplates, which are sold on our site in quantities as small as 20, have become quite a popular item. Recently, Etta wrote about using Design B211 for her Gramercy Park-themed birthday party in the fall of 2013. Gramercy Park is a private fenced-in park located within the Gramercy Park Historic District in Manhattan. According to the NY Times, the park has been fenced in since the 1830s and locked since 1844. In 2012, only 383 keys were in circulation, all given to residents of the historic district. GramercyPark3

Etta ordered copies of the book Gramercy Park, An American Bloombury by Carole Klein from Amazon to give to each attendee of her party as part of a goody bag. Interestingly, since the book is out of print, three different versions came, as shown above. She wrapped each one in raffia with autumn foliage and then placed it in the goody bag with a B211 bookplate attached to the outside of the bag with the respective attendee’s name written on the bookplate.

GrammercyPark1Since Gramercy Park is a well-established garden with mature plantings, Etta felt the gnome walking in the garden bookplate fit the theme perfectly. This lovely artwork was created by John Huchthausen, an artist trained in architecture and religious art who created many designs for the Antioch Bookplate Company in the early 1940s. Etta reported that everyone at the party loved the goody bags with their bookplate attached.

Etta wrote about her party when she ordered another set of bookplates, this time the non-personalized version of Design B253. Etta planned to host a party for her daughter, who was graduating from college in Charleston, South Carolina. Again, each attendee of the party was to be given a goody bag, this time with a book on the history of the college—which was established in the late 1700s—as well as other school memorabilia. B253Etta chose design B253 partly because she likes the inscription in the border, which reads, “A book is like a good friend; my friends I would forever keep.”

Other customers have used bookplates for guests to place in books for baby showers, to memorialize loved ones with a donation of books, for author signings, to put in books as a party favor at a wedding reception….the list is endless. Let me know if you have a unique use for bookplates!

Little Free Libraries and bookplates

Recently, we have received orders for bookplates with text indicating the book is from a “Little Free Library.” What is a Little Free Library? And who started this trend?

LIttleFreeLibrary

Little Free Library in Orlando, FL

I honestly thought this was just a good idea that various individuals were instituting. Then I came across the Little Free Library website, where it is explained that a Little Free Library is “a ‘take a book, return a book’ gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”

According to the website, this idea started in 2009 when “Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.” Soon, inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free public libraries and a mission to promote literacy and a sense of community, a goal was established to build 2510 Little Free Libraries, a goal which was reached in 2012.

LIttleFreeLibraryRobertaReachingBetterI was excited to see an example of just such a library nearby in Orlando, Florida, at one of my favorite restaurants. Dandelion Communitea Cafe, which hosts many events to support a sense of community. Their library, located at the front of the cafe, is a colorful and cheerful box. What a great addition to any neighborhood gathering place!

I urged you to visit the Little Free Library website to read about this fascinating and inspiring concept. Maybe you’ll want to build a library in your community!

Donating books

GaborKorvinGabor Korvin has been a wonderful and supportive customer of Bookplate Ink’s for many years, during which time he has ordered several thousand bookplates. Like many bookplate customers, he is devoted to one design; in his case, design B208, or “The Bookworm.” This is an adaptation of German Romanticist painter/poet Carl Spitzweg’s famous satirical painting, which was originally published as a bookplate by the Etchcraft Company, then introduced by the Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1950s. Many people refer to it simply as “the man on the ladder.”Gabor_book

Korvin is a professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Saudi Arabia. I wasn’t aware until last year that he is an avid collector of Oriental books and has been donating his collection to The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where he was presented with their Teleki Medal in 2010. Korvin has donated more than 2000 volumes to the library and continues to send them rare and important books every week.

I was thrilled to hear that librarians at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have told Korvin that readers frequently ask “Has any new book arrived with the old man on the ladder”?

Korvin_booksI asked how he goes about obtaining these rare books. He wrote, “There are so many steps of getting a new Oriental book: it starts from months or years of search, then finding it in auction lists, bidding, winning, waiting for weeks for its arrival, picking up the parcel at the Post Office, carefully opening it, reading some pages at random, but it only becomes really mine when I put in my bookplate. It has become such an important habit with me that I never travel without taking a few dozen of them.”