bookplate.jpgThe New York Times has a little article about the coming of ebooks and the death of the bookplate. I remember a time when I would carefully search the catalogs (not on line – real catalogs) to look for a style I liked and then agonize over the font I wanted.

Did I want my bookplate to say “Paul Biba” or “Paul K. Biba”, a big decision in a day when you ordered a couple of hundred by mail. No changing the design after you put your check into the hands of the Postal Service. The article is right: that little part of the book world isn’t for ebooks.


  1. I can’t remark on book plates (I’ve never used them), but there are plenty of modern analogs:

    * Screen “savers” – on the Kindle these are very much like a book plate would be, though more visible.

    * Skins – they’re extremely customizable and can be put on practically any device (I don’t use them myself).

    * Covers & Cases – they’re less customizable and more expensive but in the same theme.

  2. Don’t forget white-out. The first three or four drafts of my dissertation were covered by white-out as I corrected my miserable typing. Moving to digital (word processing) put that important part of our paper history into my past.

    I guess I can’t see mourning the loss of bookplates. Sorry.

    Rob Preece

  3. This is interesting. It’s illustrative of how varied the reading experience is for different people, what they value and what they lose when converting to ebooks.

    I’ve been reading since the 1960s and only now, with this article, have I learned what a “book plate” is, though now that I think of it I have heard the term used now and then. My name has never been written in any book I’ve owned. Loss of the option of personal tagging on physical books is no loss for those like me.

    I think I understand some of the resistance to moving to ebooks better now. Not being one to think about the container, but rather only the content, I had little problem converting over. It takes articles like this to remind me that others are not like me.

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