One unusual step I took with promotion for After Midnight was to hire a student artist in high school to create the artwork for my bookmarks (click on the image to see a larger version.) It was a great time-saver for me and I'm quite pleased with the results, and I think going through the commission process gives young artists a chance to experience what it's like to work as a pro and create on demand.
As a reader and a writer I've been casually collecting bookmarks for years. I have every kind of paper bookmark there is, along with cloth, metal, ceramic and glass specimens. Some of my bookmarks double as magnifiers, calculators, book lights, to-do lists and even mini-calendars. I've also designed, printed and even sewn my own, but I've never really found the ultimate/ideal/perfect bookmark.
My latest acquisition is the Booksling, an elastic bungie-type bookmark that also has end slots that hold two pens (handy when you're reading Larissa Ione's newest bestseller, need to make notes for a blog post about it, and your kids keep swiping your pen.) I like the Booksling, although it's a bit awkward to use with paperbacks. While the $4.99 price tag is a bit high, it's made of well constructed, sturdy materials and will probably outlast me.
I don't really know what I'd consider the perfect bookmark. I like the artiness of those bead-and-string book thongs, but they tend to slither out of the pages too easily. Bungie or clip-on type bookmarks stay in place better, but sometimes leave tears in the pages. Bookmarks that perform extra/electronic functions have the gadgetry appeal, but usually require those tiny little watch batteries that I can never seem to replace without consulting NASA. Laminated bookmarks inevitably part at the edges, paper bookmarks get scratched, torn, wrinkled, etc. (I did find some metal bookmarks from WellspringGift.com that I thought would be indestructible, but discovered they're also prone to scratch and bend.)
For right now I'm sticking to traditional card stock bookmarks, although I'm experimenting with printing them on different types of photopaper. As for the perfect bookmark, I might as well try designing one myself. Cloth is my thing, and in the past I've dabbled in making beaded/quilted bookmarks, so I think I'll start there. I have a vague notion of somehow combining a paperback book cover with a bookmark that might be interesting. If nothing else I'll have fun with it.
What's your favorite type of bookmark? What would you consider the perfect design to mark your reading places? Let us know in comments.