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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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.