Today I received a gift that any booklover would delight in. Sara, a woman in my church who is quite accomplished in woodburning mentioned that she wanted to give us some bookmarks. This Sunday she brought them and I thought they were so nice, I thought I’d share them with you by way of a post on bookmarks.
One of the nice things about e-readers is that they keep your place for you, and even allow you to electronically “bookmark” places you want to go back to. I’m glad for this since it would have been far more tedious to electronically flip through pages from the beginning to get back to the place I last read–especially when I fall asleep reading my Kindle and it turns itself off!
But I still read lots of old fashion print books, and usually have multiple books going at one time. Some way of keeping track of where I’ve left off reading is crucial–my memory is not always that good. Folding over the corner, or dog-earing is one way to do this. But it is tough on the pages, makes the book look messy, and isn’t great if you give or re-sell the book. I think dog ears belong on dogs!
You can just leave the book open face down at your page. Hard on the spine and those you live with might not like you leaving books lying around and will close the book and put it away. Place lost. And it especially doesn’t work well if you carry your books around.
Sometimes I’ve used the flaps of dust jackets on books that have them. That works well at the beginning and end of the book, not so well in the middle and takes the nice clean crease out of the dust jacket.
So most of the time I’m left with the humble or not so humble bookmark. Sometimes we’ve received some very nice ones (and if you can’t think of a book your bibliophile friend doesn’t have, then a bookmark is a good alternative gift).
From the Wikipedia article “Bookmark” it seems we’ve had bookmarks nearly as long as we’ve had printed books. Early printed books were rare and bookmarks, either a ribbon bound into the book or a parchment strip on the edge of the folio. Better made books often still come with a ribbon bound into them for marking your place, which I always like because the ribbon doesn’t fall out–although I once had a ribbon ripped out of a Bible by a friend’s child. The first detached bookmarks seem to have been made in the 1850s and with this came a new market in collectibles.
As you can see, bookmarks can be made out of a number of materials from wood, to leather, to cloth to metal to plastic. Most of the ones I use are made of cardboard. Bookstores are a great source of these but lots of other people from publishers to organizations to holiday cards use bookmarks to publicize themselves or give one a memento of the occasion. If I use these, I usually end up either losing them or eventually throwing them away because the ends tend to get curled up and bookmark itself worn out from repeated use. Usually I stretch a bookmark over ten or more books though.
What are your bookmark stories? Do you have bookmarks that are special to you? How do you like to mark your place in books? And what bookstore, in your experience gives away the best bookmarks?