2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

An Homage to Bookplates or What do You Know, Jill-Elizabeth is Oddly Old-Fashioned

I have a bizarre love of bookplates. Yes, I know, you are shocked that I, Jill-Elizabeth, love something book-related. And you are shocked that I, Jill-Elizabeth, love something anachronistic. And something that marks books as mine, mine, all mine.

It’s true.

I love bookplates. Ever since I was a little girl and received my first set of collectible books – six green and cream leather-bound Louisa May Alcott books from my godfather, Uncle Paul (hello Uncle Paul!) – with bookplates inside, I have loved bookplates. I love the dignified and sophisticated way that they mark something as a part of my very own library. To me, they signify that I take books seriously, that they are valuable and important possessions worthy of identification as mine.

I have bookplates in a number of my books. Not all, unfortunately, because the biggest downside to being oddly old-fashioned is finding the necessary supplies to feed one’s habit – at a reasonable price. You see, I own over 1200 books. And I acquire more every month. Bookplates tend to be considered specialty items in bookstores or gift shops (when they are even available). They are usually sold in packets of ten or twelve, and tend to carry a price tag in the five-ish dollar range (at a minimum). So do the math. Even at packets of twelve for five bucks a pack, I would need five hundred dollars worth of bookplates to put one in every book.

Eek, she said.

Granted, I could print my own on labels – but they won’t be acid-free, archival quality. They won’t look perfect. And therefore I won’t be happy. And when Jill-Elizabeth is not happy folks, NO ONE IS. (teehee) So I add bookplates to my books on a somewhat haphazard basis. I will buy a pack or two when I find them somewhere in a particularly interesting style, and I add them to my favorite hardcover books first.

It’s an imperfect plan, but hey, we live in an imperfect world.

Eventually I hope to have them in all of my books. I am cautiously optimistic that this will happen in my own lifetime. Largely because of the miracle of cheap online purchasing, but also because of the generous way that my loved ones support my habit(s). I mean, I even convinced The Fiancee to let me put some on the wedding registry – now does he love me or what?! (Hooray for The Fiancee yet again!)

I may be one of the last people on earth to consider bookplates a valuable addition to her library. I’m okay with that, really. I choose to see it is yet another piece of evidence that I am unique, and occasionally out of place in the modern world. And just think, if I ever finish a novel and get an actual book published, I could have a bookplate in my own book calling it my own. How sweet would that be? 😉

4 comments to An Homage to Bookplates or What do You Know, Jill-Elizabeth is Oddly Old-Fashioned

  • Che

    oh I love bookplates! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who obsesses about them. My bookplates are also limited to hardcovers.

  • I’m so glad to hear you say that, Che – honestly, I often worry that I am alone in a sea of my own idiosyncrasies… 😉

  • Marvellous 🙂 I used to work as an archivist in the old gothic library in Manchester and when you record an archive bookplates are a major part of your research. Just think – with all of those books …in 500 years time an archivist will find your collection and it’ll be all the more valuable for your personal touch 😀

  • Oh Lucy, what a marvelously perfect thing to say to me! I love that – that this means a part of my readingness will live on and on!! Thank you so much for the comment – and your archivist job sounds fabulous, how interesting it must have been to see everything…

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