2 Economical Bookplate Solutions

 The other day, my friend Barbara Elizabeth Walsh wrote to me for advice: 

This is a classic bookplate design, originally developed for Antioch Bookplates, but now owned by Bookplate Ink

This is a classic bookplate design, originally developed for Antioch Bookplates, but now owned by Bookplate Ink

“I’m on the road looking for author bookplates. One school didn’t get their book delivery and I promised I would send inscribed bookplates to them as soon as I retuned home. Do you have any suggestions?”

 

It’s disappointing – to you and to readers — when schools or bookstores run out of your books during your appearance. Being able to autograph and personalize a book can mean the difference between a sale and no sale. So here’s a solution. Tell the host that for any book sold after your visit, you will mail autographed, personalized bookplates. After the event, have the host email the names she / he wants written on the bookplates.

 Also known as ex libris (“from the library of”), bookplates are decorative stickers that are placed in the inside cover of books to identify ownership. But classic commercial bookplates are expensive (about $.50 and up per plate) and usually don’t have enough room for an author to sign, let alone inscribe a student’s name.

I tried to find commercial designs like these with enough room for me to write a message. They were sold in packages of 10 – 12, and the costs added up quickly.

I tried to find commercial designs like these with enough room for me to write a message. They were sold in packages of 10 – 12, and the costs added up quickly.


There are other products that you can use for bookplates —

Commercial name tags: School supply stores usually have decorative name tags with enough surface area for writing. You can choose a design that complements the theme of your book.

In a school supply store, I found name badges with fun colors. The writing space was a bit cramped – 2.5” x 2.25”, but they worked – and were economical at 100 for $5.00.

In a school supply store, I found name badges with fun colors. The writing space was a bit cramped – 2.5” x 2.25”, but they worked – and were economical at 100 for $5.00.

 

Shipping labels: Office supply stores have an abundance of blank white shipping labels to choose from. Select a size (from 2” x 4” to 4 up to 3 1/3” x 4” is best) and make your own design. These can be printed up at home at your convenience. They have room enough for an inscription, autograph and date. 

Bookplate - My designs

I made my own “themed” template for Loud Emily (top) and The Recess Queen (4” x 3.25”).  I use a smaller label (2” x 4”) when I donate a book to a school.

I made my own “themed” template for Loud Emily (top) and The Recess Queen (4” x 3.25”). I use a smaller label (2” x 4”) when I donate a book to a school.

Barbara Walsh decided to buy white labels and personalize them.

Bookplate - BWalsh1 Here’s what Barbara Elizabeth Walsh’s bookplate design for The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans (Calkins Creek)

 Here are two of Barbara Elizabeth Walsh’s bookplate designs for The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans (Calkins Creek). I think the results look great.

Happy bookplate designing – and autographing!

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For more about Barbara’s book, explore this blog post the David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center in Athens, Georgia.

 For more about Antioch Bookplate Company.

For more about Bookplate Ink.

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4 Comments on “2 Economical Bookplate Solutions”

  • Hi! An author friend of mine suggested transparent labels, because they disappeared when you stuck them in the book and made it look like the book was really signed. However, I found that they weren’t *really* as transparent as advertised, and it was really hard to cut them apart to mail them to people — because there was no gap between the labels. I wasted at least one label for every one that I cut out without damaging.

    Any suggestions for a brand of label that has gaps between them for cutting apart?

  • Hi Dianne — I find this a frustrating thing, too! The shipping labels are a great size (3 1/3 x 4″), but I haven’t found a brand yet with extra sapce between labels for cutting. There are a couple of solutions. Name tag labels have the space between that you’re looking for, but they don’t have the “clear” option and they are fairly small (appx. 2 1/4 x 3 1/4″). The only other clear options I’ve seen include round and oval labels. Again, these have smaller surfaces for signing (2″ diamater for round, 2 1/2″ for oval). You can find options at Office Depot and Staples. I’d love to know if you find a shipping label that works better than what I’ve found so far.

  • Thanks, Alexis.
    I wasn’t fond of the clear labels. They were pretty cheap looking. Next time I will go with white labels and I’d love to design a border that will complement the book cover. But that space for cutting is pretty essential unless you’re mailing out a whole sheet to someone. I’ll keep looking!

  • Dianne – if you plan to use a lot of bookplates, I’d suggest you talk with a printer to see what options might be available. I like the old-fashioned stickers that come in a box, but they tend to be expensive, so I save them for special occasions. Still, it might be worth looking into. Good luck!

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