I am the owner of Bookplate Ink LLC, a company that prints both personalized and non-personalized bookplates. Most of you who are reading this blog will know what a bookplate is, but the majority of people I encounter in my everyday life have no idea what I’m talking about when they ask what I do.
Here’s how the conversation generally goes when I meet someone:
Them: “What do you do for a living?”
Me: “I own my own business.”
Them: “Really? What is it?”
Me: (Long pause as I gear up to explain what a bookplate is, while they are probably thinking from the look on my face that I’m about to tell them I do something illegal) “I print bookplates.”
Them: (Silence while they have a blank look on their face.)
Me: “Bookplates are decorative labels that are adhered to the inside covers of books to identify ownership.” You’ve probably seen them in Bibles or in a library, with text that says “This book donated in memory of such-and-such.”
Them: “Oh yeah! I’ve seen those. Hmmm, interesting.”
So why would I continue in a business that most people don’t understand? Because there are still many people throughout the world who love and cherish bookplates. Bookplates, or ex libris as they are often called, allow people to add a personal and lasting touch to their books. People become very attached to the bookplates they have used over the years. Bookplate lovers often ask to re-order designs they have used for 30 years or more. Or they are looking for a design they received as a child or found in their deceased parent’s library.
I feel privileged to be able to help people in this way. The gratitude that many customers have expressed is endearing and rewarding. With the exchange of e-mails and phone calls that often takes place with orders, some of Bookplate Ink’s customers feel like friends to me. Friends thoughout the world.
I hope to use this blog to tell about some of these people and their bookplate stories. And to tell about the history of bookplates, of Antioch bookplates in particular, and interesting tidbits from the business of printing customized bookplates.