Why I Love Bookplates

Why I Love Bookplates
By Kira Walton

I remember my first bookplate. A family friend gave me a copy of The Secret Garden for my ninth birthday. I was a bookworm even then and loved getting books as gifts.

I relished the crack of a new hardcover when I opened it for the first time. When I opened The Secret, there was a surprise inside. A bookplate that read, “This Book Belongs to Kira.”

It was an Art Deco design: a woman in profile, her long robes flowing around the text, her sharp-cut bob framing her face. She looked so strong and smart. And she was telling the world that this was MY BOOK. How cool.

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From then on, I always put bookplates in my books. As a kid, I’d make my own designs with markers on brightly colored stickers. As I got older, I had them printed. When I went away to college, I brought boxes and boxes of my beloved books, each one with a freshly printed bookplate inside.

I’m not the kind of reader who hoards my books. I give them away all the time and don’t expect them back. I like to read it forward, after all!

It’s not about marking ownership of a book, not anymore. I use bookplates because they are a lovely, old-fashioned way of honoring the book. They remind me how much I like holding a book in my hand. And they mark time. I can travel my library and instantly know when a particular book came into my life by looking at the bookplate.

Bright neon border with boxy text? Definitely the 80s. Classic Ex Libris pen drawing? Must be grad school, mid-90s. Gorgeous white linen sticker with an organic design and my name printed in blue? The bookplate I’m using now, a wedding present.

Do you use bookplates? Leave a comment below! It’s easy to attach a photo to your comment, if you’d like to share your bookplate. We’d love to see them!

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • I like this article. I haven’t used a bookplate since I was a kid, and all those books are gone or in storage, some were even passed on to my eldest son. It’s such a novel idea of “claiming” your book as the original owner. It was a great way of showing ownership and loyalty to the book you were reading.
    Great article! Made me smile. 🙂

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