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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Exquisite Venitian Library

20160825_160649This past August, my husband and I had the good fortune to travel to Europe.  We spent a week in Lucerne, Switzerland, attending spectaular concerts at the renowned Lucerne Music Festival and hiking in the Alps with friends. After traveling by train to Italy, we visited Lucca, Florence and Cinque Terra, walking for miles, and loving the history and beauty of the area.

From there, we took the train to Venice, where we took in many of the wonderful museums and explored the city. One of the museums we visited was the Museo Correr in Venice, Italy. The Correr sits directly across Piazza San Marco from Basilica San Marco, and is steps away from the Grand Canal. There is an awe-inspiring amount of history and culture in just this one small area but I am going to focus on one exhibit in the Correr.

20160825_160013Within the museum is the Pisani Library, a room filled with beautiful walnut bookcases that came from the Pisani family palace at San Vidal. The Pisanis, an aristocratic family in Venice from the 12th to 18th centuries, were an important influence on the culture and politics of the time. According to the Museo Correr, they were “the first to set up what might be called a library-museum, in an attempt to endow the city’s publishing industry with its own aura of grandeur and munificent service to the State.”

The bookcases today are filled with “rare manuscripts and printed works, dating from the early Sixteenth Century to the end of the 20160825_155946Eighteenth.” Surrounding the shelves are display cases with beautiful books from the 1500-1600s.

The chandelier hanging above was made from Murano glass in the 1700s. Murano is a series of small islands just outside of Venice and has been home to glass-making since 1291, when the glassmakers of Venice were forced to move there due to20160825_155711 fear of fire within the city and its wood buildings.

It was fascinating and awe-inspiring to view the intricate artwork in books from hundreds of years ago. I’m grateful that people such as the Pisani family valued their libraries and preserved the world’s heritage through books. During this “digital age,” let’s not forget the importance and endurance of the printed page.

Bookplates for authors 101

Although bookplates have traditionally been used to identify one’s books in a personal library, many authors order bookplates from Bookplate Ink to use for book signings and as a promotional tool and thank you gift to their readers, so I thought it might be helpful to new authors (and seasoned authors!) to show some possibilities.

 

 

One popular option is to have bookplates printed with custom artwork from your book(s). Some authors have bookplates with the artwork from the jacket cover of the book at the top of the bookplate or as the background for the entire bookplate. Sometimes artwork related to one element or character of the book is used, along with the author’s name and/or website.

 

12967465_10154844563759466_6679630386450112881_oNew York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater has used more than one design for her young adult Raven Cycle series. Maggie posts photos and offers signed bookplates through her website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Fountain Bookstore. She even posted a video on YouTube about her bookplates. We have seen more than one tweet with a photo from an excited reader who just bought one of her books and received a signed bookplate. Shown in the photo here is a large bookplate created and signed by the author.

 

Brenna Yovanoff is another young adult fiction writerScreen Shot 2016-05-03 at 1.06.59 PM
who recently ordered bookplates for her new book, Places No One Knows, and posted a photo on Instagram. The book will be released later this month, but those who pre-order through the Tattered Cover Book Store will receive a free signed bookplate, as posted on their website. Many authors use a signed bookplate as an incentive for pre-orders.

 

 

GarthSteinBookplate Ink has also printed bookplates for
New York Times bestseller Garth Stein. His latest bookplate is a good example of a design useful for an author who wants a bookplate that encompasses all of his or her published books. As you can see, the jacket covers of his books are shown at the top along with his photo, while his website address is at the bottom of the bookplate.

 

 

If you’re looking for a simpler and more affordable N100NEWoption, another possibility is one of our non-personalized border designs. These bookplates are printed on a non-glossy, cream colored paper and look very classy. At 3×4 inches, they have plenty of room for your signature and a short message. As they’re pre-printed and we keep them in stock, they ship quickly and are less expensive than custom bookplates. Shown here is one of our most popular border designs, N100. It is available as both a non-personalized bookplate or a custom printed bookplate with the text of your choice.

 

11415560_796725990442144_6075978264755982703_oOne creative author, Joanne DeMaio, even adds her own stamp to our design M752.

 

For a more personalized look, many authors order one of our many border designs and have the bookplates custom printed with their name, website address and/or book title. We can also add artwork or a logo to any of our border designs.

 

There are many possibilities regarding styles and sizes of bookplates. If you have any questions, feel free to call 866-483-3830 or e-mail info@bookplateink.com.

 

 

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!

Abraham Lincoln bookplate

It seems that I’m hearing about Abraham Lincoln quite a lot these days, and it’s not even his birthday. That’s because the much anticipated movie “Lincoln,” based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals,” is now in theatres.

I found this bookplate depicting our 16th President in an old catalog of Etchcraft designs called the Celebrity Series. I like that Lincoln appears to be looking down at the space where a name would be added to the bookplate, under “Ex Libris,” which means “From the library of.” Under Lincoln’s signature, the text says “By: Saint-Gaudens.” Augustus Saint-Gaudens was an Irish-born American sculptor who was well-known for his sculptures of Civil War heroes. With a little research, I discovered that this statue, unveiled in 1887, still stands in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. According to AbrahamLincolnOnline.org, the monument was created using “the 1860 life mask of Lincoln by Chicago sculptor Leonard Volk. A Vermont farmer of approximately Lincoln’s height served as the model.”

These is also a copyright with the single name “Richard, ” apparently the creator of the bookplate design. All of the bookplates in the Celebrity Series have this same copyright and are of famous people or places.

As shown on the cover, these designs were acquired by Antioch Bookplate Company, whose designs we acquired. This catalog is most likely from the 1950s. Another detail that made me smile is that the sticker on the cover from Antioch Bookplate has as its border design M752, which we are still printing today and happens to be one of our most popular border designs.

Mary Engelbreit bookplates

It all started with the bookplate shown here.

Mary Engelbreit bookplate

This bookplate, with artwork by renowned illustrator Mary Engelbreit, was printed by the Antioch Company in the 1990s. As the Antioch Company has now closed, this bookplate has been out of print for many years. Recently, we received an e-mail from a potential customer asking us to print these once again. I contacted Mary Engelbreit Studios and was pleased to learn that they often receive requests for bookplates with their artwork and had just received yet another. And, thus, a wonderful new relationship was formed.

Bookplate Ink will soon offer a gallery of designs by Mary Engelbreit. Some of these will be designs previously printed by the Antioch Company, but others will be new bookplates. We will offer these in both personalized and non-personalized formats. Spark a love of reading in a child you know with a bookplate specially printed with his or her name. Or order a set with no name added for a lower priced option. Many children and adults prefer to enter their own name and, thus, personalize their bookplates themselves. As we launch this new gallery of Mary Engelbreit artwork, we will also begin to offer all of our non-personalized bookplates in smaller quantities of 20 bookplates for a truly affordable gift. Order ahead for birthdays, Christmas stocking stuffers or a special gift for grandchildren!

Please check the Bookplate Ink website and this blog for the launching of this exciting new line of bookplates.

Too many choices?

I read a marketing book recently that discussed the idea that when it comes to making a purchasing decision, too many choices can be so overwhelming that a potential customer won’t make any choice.

I found a New York Times article that discusses the same phenomenon. In “Too Many Choices: A Problem That Can Paralyze,” Alina Tugend states, “Although it has long been the common wisdom in our country that there is no such thing as too many choices, as psychologists and economists study the issue, they are concluding that an overload of options may actually paralyze people or push them into decisions that are against their own best interest.”

Tugend goes on to discuss a study in California where customers were given samples of Wilkin & Sons jam. When given a greater assortment of jams to sample, more people were enticed to try some, but less actually made a purchase. Similarly, in choosing a 401(k) retirement plan, “studies have shown that if more fund options are offered, fewer people participate. And the highest participation rates are among those employees who are automatically enrolled in their company’s 401(k)’s unless they actively choose not to.”

What does this have to do with bookplates?? Bookplate Ink offers over 150 choices of bookplate designs, more than any other company we have found. We have ships, tomatoes, a rhinoceros, fairies, owls, flowers, musical instruments, a frog, boys, girls, maps, oh! and books. Perhaps the choices are overwhelming for our customers. This is a concern.

On the other hand, there is sometimes a design that doesn’t sell very well, but is perfect for one customer. Like the mustang horse, which was a wonderful bookplate for an elementary school whose mascot is a mustang. Or the now out-of-print Kermit the Frog bookplate for that Sesame Street lover. How about the biplane design for books donated from an aviation lover’s library?

Everytime I think we should take some designs off our website, one of these orders comes in. And the truth is, we have designs in our archives that aren’t even on the website. What’s your opinion? Is more better or is less easier? Should we streamline our offerings?