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

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