Lost and Found or Where Do I Put the Bookplate on this Kindle?

No Telling

I’ve spent a few weeks trying to justify buying a Kindle. So far there are only two entries in the plus column: storage and techno-fascination. Neither are strong arguments for dropping $300 (or thereabouts) on a new gadget.

The minus column is long and includes many tactile reasons I love books in the first place – the feel of the pages, writing all over the margins, the ability to sling a bad book at a wall and still have an intact, readable book to give away. Now I have the best reason not to own a Kindle: bookplates.

No, I’m not one of those who meticulously labels ownership in each new purchase. I appreciate those who do, though, and love finding an old book with a gorgeous bookplate glued inside the front cover. Oh, the history! Try recreating that, sleek and pricey Kindle.

I’ve found a bevy of gorgeous bookplates, obsessive collectors, and Etsy recreations. Waste a little time sifting through these sites and luxuriating in the art of the bookplate.

For the serious collector there’s always The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers. Here, you can actually commission a personal bookplate and the art is stunning. I’m sure the price is, too. It’s all about the math, really. How many books and commissioned bookplates can you buy for $300 (or thereabouts)?

Go crazy at Flickr. The Exlibris pool is an ooo-la-la collection of vintage bookplates, and Heraldic is another. My favorite, though, is the Pratt Libraries Ex Libris Collection. These are To. Die. For.


So it looks like my spare change will go elsewhere now. Sorry, Amazon. Until the Kindle is made of magic paper I’ll stick with the real pages. It looks like I’ve got some shopping ahead of me.

25 thoughts on “Lost and Found or Where Do I Put the Bookplate on this Kindle?

  1. I have considered the Kindle only as a housekeeping aid, because there are times when I do get tired of wading through all the piles of books around my home. Most of them are paperbacks now, although I still buy hardcovers when I JUST CAN'T WAIT for the paperback to come out. Also, I believe the Kindle provides its own reading lamp, as it were, because the screen is lit up so you can read in bed without having a lamp on. Other than that, I just can't bear to be part of putting anybody out of work at all those printing companies & paper mills. Not in this economy.

    Love bookplates. I know a young woman who got an old-fashioned library cancellation stamp tattooed on her arm. Gotta love it. Her mom raised her right!!

  2. I've held and coveted the Kindle. Just can't see it as a replacement for a book – maybe as a traveling library, but little else. Besides, one of the greatest pleasures of my life is wandering around a bookstore. Wandering on Amazon isn't the same aesthetic.

    What would I do with all my bookmarks? There's another post…

  3. Nice article. The Kindle experience sounds exhausting, which is the ultimate buzz-kill for me. If all I want to do is read a book, the Kindle appears to have complicated the process considerably. Since the books are only a few dollars less for a download vs. hard copy, what's my motivation?

    I'm a Luddite/geezer who still uses a manual typewriter, though. There's that.

  4. A cow-orker of mine has a Kindle. It's nifty, but not for me. Recently added to my personal “cons” list was the fact that Amazon recently decided to un-sell George Orwell's books and surreptitiously deleted them from users' Kindles. They refunded the purchase price, but it still kind of creepy that they can just walk into your virtual library during the night and remove books from your virtual shelf and in the morning say, “You didn't buy that.”

    I took a look at Le Coeur Humain's Etsy shop. They aren't bookplates in the context you meant. They're full-page illustrative plates sliced out of vintage books, not reproductions. Literary keychopping, IMO. Admittedly, a uterus bookplate would be perversely perfect for my Jack the Ripper books. Maybe I can snatch a scan of a similar illustration and rework it for DIY printing on inkjet shipping labels or something.

    Word ver: uniddles: to eat the middles out of your Oreos.

  5. I just downloaded Barnes and Noble's free e-reader. FREE, I tell you. You can read the damn thing on your computer, your iphone, and several other places. The kicker is that it's completely customizable. I read a little Sense and Sensibility on parchment this afternoon, for example. Did I mention that it's FREE? Just go to Barnes and Noble and download it. It comes with two free books and six more if you sign up for an account.

    I'm heartbroken over the Le Coeur Humain bookplates. Never mind. I'll find uterus art and make my own as well.

  6. Lew! I spent the better part of an hour on your site revelling in lovely bookplates. I linked the first bookplate back to your site, but got so carried away I forgot to list you!

    Thank you for making me a “bookplate junky.” I'd love to know your view on the Kindle…

  7. Free??? We like free! I must check out this E Reader!!

    BTW, Robin Becker???? Is that you? THE Robin Becker that I used to know from MIT????? What a small blogosphere it is! I must stray over to your profile, m'dear! Many, many moons ago, I was the Film/Video Coordinator for the College of Humanities at MIT & had an office down the hall, I believe, from you!! If it IS you…

    Sorry, Monda. Just a little reunion thing going on here perhaps…

  8. I'm with you, Lew. In fact, I plan to glory in all my REAL books by putting bookplates in every last one. Believe me, that's no small job. As soon as I design something, I'll post it on here.

    Kathi, how many Robin Beckers are there? Probably more than we realize. I've even found a few Mondas here and there.

  9. Well, there are at least two Robin Beckers, although that's a very existentially problematic statement, because they are each quite different from one another, except for the interesting common fact that they both write. MY RB was on the creative writing faculty at MIT about 20 years ago when I worked there at the College of Humanities. She is now at Pennsylvania State University: http://english.la.psu.edu/facultystaff/Bio_Becker.htm You two have a few things in common.

  10. I have to agree. My friend raves about the Kindle, but I don't travel nearly as much as he so I can't fathom the expense for 1 or 2 plane trips a year. Besides, if I need to take that many books on vacation I'm doing something wrong.

    I had totally forgotten about bookplates and now want to make my own and paste them into my favorite books. Thanks for the links!

  11. That's the whole issue, I suspect, portability. Besides, half the fun of vacationing is buying books along the way.

    Listen, it's really fun making these bookplates. I've designed three or four already – so easy! Now, to make the copies and start pasting into thousands of books…

  12. I've owned a Kindle for the better part of 6 months now and I have to admit, for the price (I paid $400 for the Kindle and overnight shipping) it is the most incredible thing I have ever purchased in my entire life…ever.

    I never understood the objections to it. “I'll miss walking around a bookstore.” and “It doesn't FEEL the same while holding it in my hands.” That has nothing to do with reading, obtaining information, getting lost in a story. If you love reading the Kindle is amazing. If you think of a full bookshelf as something that is pretty to look at then the Kindle is not for you.

    And the whole thing about Kindle deleting books was because someone was collecting money on a false copy of the book. They were protecting copywrite issues.

    I will never go back to regular books though

  13. Chad, you have a point. I hate that you have it, but you do. A good book is a good book is a good book, period. You had me at “getting lost in the story.”

    I don't know, though. Would I buy one if they were a hundred bucks? Maybe. If they were $50 or $60, definitely. How cheap do you think they'll be at Christmas?

  14. I think they recently dropped the price to $299 for a Kindle 2. I wouldn't expect the price to go much lower than $200 before they release a new, more expensive version.

    Not wanting to shell out the cash is a fair argument, and ultimately we could all just go to the library and get any book for free (although I've paid my fair share in overdue fees). However the price of the books are all under $10. And I got the complete works of P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain for…80 cents. Nearly every published word for less than $1.

    Not only that but you have access to Wikipedia at any time. And I should also mention they allow you to publish blogs for free and you receive 30 percent of sales. I currently subscribe to The Onion and Overheard in New York.

    I apologize for leaving comments in novel form but it is honestly the best money I have ever spent.

  15. Chad, you need to work for Amazon because you're selling me and that's no easy feat. Seriously, if I buy a Kindle, you should get a finder's fee.

  16. I know right! I feel guilty for the poor souls who see me reading on my Kindle and innocently ask “What is that?” Because I relentlessly show off all of its features and don't let them leave until they name a book and let me search it (to show off how fast you can find books). The Kindle stores over 2,500 books so you will always have reading material to suit your mood.

    Oh, the pure joy!

  17. Well said. Books, for me, are an escape from the online world we live in. A bit ironic, since I write on a computer and cannot seem to operate an inkpen anymore . . . keep leaving out letters (oh so reliant on the back space key). There is just something comforting about a book. I wonder how our kids will feel?

  18. Lynette, our kids will wear sunglasses that read their minds and shoot digital text across the internet with the flick of an eyelid. Or something equally as ridiculous.

    A book is the best escape I know of.

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