Thursday, October 16, 2008


According to The World of Bookmarks, the web's largest bookmark information database, the bookmark may date back as far as when we were writing everything on scrolls, but the earliest known bookmarks came into use during medieval times. These ancient markers, used as a method of keeping illuminated manuscripts from being dog-eared or damaged by their readers, were usually made of cord or parchment strips. They were also physically attached to the book itself so they could be used by anyone who read the book.

It wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that bookmarks won their independence and became separate objects from the book, and promptly became collectibles. These early bookmarks were made of thick paper (often used as advertising space by various businesses) and also woven in silk, or handmade by the ladies to show off small watercolors and even needlepoint.

Today the humble bookmark continues to evolve from its practical beginnings into new and interesting forms, often with multiple functions. Here are just a few examples of the new generation of megamarks:

German publisher teNeues offers Booknotes, bookmarks with lined space on the back to make notes ($6.95 online.) They also have packs of twelve designed bookmarks like these, each with the month's calendar at the top (I found the latter at BAM for $3.99 for a pack of twelve, and these are definitely nice.)

A few years ago Pixar came out with a collectible bookmark incorporating a strip of film from their animated movie Cars (still available art B&; $4.95.)

The LightWedge reading light marks and illuminates the page you're reading ($34.95

Mark-My-Time digital bookmarks allow you to time how long your child (or you) spend reading ($8.95 at Target and most chain booksellers.)

The Original Book Buddy by Amanda Crawford Designs is a reading pillow (page holder and book marker) that comes with an acrylic desktop that turns it into a lap desk. Several pretty designs available ($29.95 online)

Oxford Pagemark Dictionary by Franklin Electronics not only holds your place, but features an ultra-thin dictionary with more than 145,000 words, phrases and definitions with American and British spelling; a calculator, games, vocab builder and a clock to check local and world times. All it doesn't do is read the book for you ($59.95 at Franklin, $39.95 at B&

Look, it's a book holder, it's a book stand, it's a bookmark . . . no, it's all three: Paperbax ($9.95 online.)

Even the Supreme Court Historical Society sells a pretty nifty bookmark/booklight combo: Robot Book Light ($8.95 online)

The UltraOptix Handi-Lens Magnifier Bookmark marks your page and magnifies the text for you ($1.95

This Weighted Bookmark holds your book open and flat for easy, hands-free reading ($9.50

I have a full basket of bookmarks in my office because I tend to misplace them once I've finished reading. Among them are signed bookmarks other authors have given me, along with a few that I've found in used books. I also have a small but lovely collection of bookmarks my daughter has made for me over the years.

I'm curious: what are you guys using right now to mark your place in the book you're reading? Do you have a favorite bookmark or megamark, or will any strip of paper or other material do?


  1. Anything I want to an office appointment card, newspaper clipping, or a simple note will win the honor of being my place holder.

  2. It all depends on whether I'm in a hurry to mark my place because I have other matters to attend to or not. If I'm in a hurry, I'll rip off a piece of any old paper to mark my place (I never dog ear. That is just for some reason something I can't bring myself to do -- damage a book).

    If I'm in my room, I have two decks of cards I use for bookmarks. I have the Jack of Hearts in one book, and the Odie Maid from an old Garfield version of Old Maid in another. I also grab random bookmarks from libraries that are given away for free. You never know when you'll need 'em.

  3. Anonymous1:41 AM

    Often I'll use a $5 bill to mark my place. (Being Canadian, it's the smallest bill I have.) Saves me buying something fancier and it distracts me from spending it for a little while at least.

  4. Anonymous2:06 AM

    Lovely heavy card bookmark with a loop of elastic that holds the book close. Excellent for books I cart around with me - fewer lost bookmarks and fewer (and less-) damaged books.

  5. My favorite bookmarks are actually random things I find in used book. My current favorite is a small envelope addressed to a Ms. Bonnie Kesley and postmarked Dec 23, 1948 from Compton, California. I love it!

  6. I still have a very bad habit of putting the book down face down, open to the last page I was on.

    On the other hand, I do have some nice bookmarks I could use, including two somebody sent me :). And I never dog-ear pages!

  7. Anonymous6:44 AM

    I'm working towards every single book I own having its own bookmark. Friends and family help, and when they give me bookmarks I try to place them in their favourite books. Friends who borrow books have taken to telling me what bookmarks they find lodged in the one they've just returned. It's a lot of fun.

  8. Anonymous7:05 AM

    You know thost annoying little cards that fall out of magazines? That's what I use. I'll never run out. :)

  9. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Many books here.

  10. I have this beautiful, ornate silver bookmark I found in an antique shop that clips onto the page to save your place. I am forever losing it. In fact, despite the fact that I have gazillions of bookmarks I can never find one when I need one. I need to put them all in a basket, apparently. Right now, Jack Canfield's book on my bedside table is marked with...folded tissue.

  11. I'm using a watercolor bookmark hand-made by a certain unnamed author. ::cough PBW cough:: I love it!

  12. I have a bookmark that I found in a secondhand book--it's part of a Famous Grouse advert that someone's cut and shaped for the purpose.

  13. If it is a paperback, I have two cloth book covers with ribbons attached to mark the page that I love. I picked the smaller one up at a craft show and loved it so much I got the larger size the next year. They keep my books from getting torn up in my bag everyday and enables me to read something hot and steamy right in public without getting any raised eyebrows. ;)

  14. Note cube paper. Perfect size for a paperback novel, and if there's a passage I like and know I'll want to come back and reread, I can tear the square in half and keep reading. When I'm done the book, I can go back to that half bookmark and take a look at what I wanted to study closer.

  15. I love the weighted bookmark! We have two at home and the kids call them "book noodles." I always read while eating lunch and you need the weighted bookmark for that. No more using the stapler or the big tape dispenser.

    As for the bookmarks with lines for taking notes...why not just use an index card? I bought 100 at Office Max for 89 cents.

  16. Currently:
    A Levenger Book Bungee.
    A paycheck stub.
    A sticky note.
    Some notice or other the kidlet brought home from school.
    A CD.
    And a ruler.

  17. Anonymous9:36 AM

    For me, any strip of paper will do. I have a bunch of bookmarks lying around from when sent one out with every order (I miss those days... now they just send ads), but if I can't find one when I need it, I'll just fold a sticky note in half (so it sticks to itself) and use that.

  18. Restaurant receipts. I guess, I often tote my book to a cafe or something for lunch. When lunch hour is over, the receipt is on hand. :)

  19. I try to buy a bookmark in every place I visit. It's like collectable spoons but not as wierd or cluttery.

  20. I have a stack of tattered bookmarks that I've accumulated over the years, many from bookstores that no longer exist. ::sniff::

    I often use a small post-it. It doesn't mar the pages, it's thin and highly visible, and it doesn't get lost because it sticks to the back cover while I'm reading.

    I'm still waiting to find a hundred dollar bill tucked into an old book... ;)

  21. I have a collection of fantasy and animal bookmarks from childhood that I use. Every book I read gets a bookmark.

    If I'm lucky enough, I'll keep an authors bookmark with a book. And use the authors bookmark instead of one of my own.

  22. I love bookmarks, but not fancy, expensive ones. I always lose them. I love the freebies from the bookstore, or the occasional paperback with the tear-out bookmark (I haven't seen one of those in a long time). I frequently use receipts or reply cards from the junkmail pile when I lose the nice bookmarks.

    Or, I put a "nice" bookmark away and then forget where its at, so I never use it.

    But, I still love the things.

  23. I love to collect bookmarks and have ended up with several I find too precious to lose (sentimental, not monetary value).
    My favorite bookmarks for everyday use are strips of notecards, about 2 inches wide. I got a box of them from a company I used to work for and they are the perfect size for a bookmark, plus I don't have to worry about losing them.
    Also, I belong to a bookswapping network,, and I use their handout cards as bookmarks. I leave them in library books, books borrowed from friends or books I am passing on so others can find out about it.

  24. I stack bookmarks on the bookshelves so I know where they are. But I also use envelopes and business cards.

  25. I'm currently using bookmarks I've gotten from different authors or free from bookstores. However, if I can't find one of those(have tons), I will use whatever piece of paper is handy.

  26. I use whatever I have available, a receipt, an index card, a doesn't matter LOL.

  27. I love the magnetic bookmarks that fold over the page(s). When reading a book, I can clip it to the back cover. When it's not in use I can stick it on the fridge so it doesn't get lost. Barnes & Noble has some very cute ones.

  28. A bookmark from the book store for the paperback in my bag, and an empty bag of Skittles for the hardback on the bedside table. The hardback is from the library and the bag of Skittle was tucked between the pages when I got it. Works just fine, so I kept it. *g*

  29. For my hardcovers, I created my own "book thong", which is simply three strands of soft hemp cording braided together, and weighted on each end by a heavy decorative button. I make them long enough for one end to wrap around the back cover to anchor, with the other longer end to use to mark my page. The "thong" is also used to hold my hardcovers open (the buttons help with this) as I like to read in the mornings while blowdrying my hair!

    I also make felt bookcovers for my paperbacks, with a braided piece of x-stitch floss sewn into the spine section, and anchored with a heavy button, to use as a built-in bookmark.

    Both were inventions of my own making, because I kept losing paper bookmarkers, I wanted to have my hardcovers stay open hands free, and the covers for paperbacks are because I was wrecking my books when throwing them in my purse! Necessity being the mother, etc. etc.

    — Bonz

  30. Heh, I use the bookmark you sent me with the ARC of Evermore I won. I love it. The little turquoise pieces attached to the end just make me happy. I'll use that thing until it's so old I have to wrap it up in plastic and put it in a scrapbook to preserve it.

  31. Anonymous4:20 AM

    I do own some very nice bookmarks but I usually take the book I'm reading with me wherever I go, so I only use them in hardcover books I leave at home. This way they won't get lost or left behind. (My backpack can be a quite dangerous place)

    When reading paperback books I'm not picky. If I'm in a hurry and know I'll be right back everything flat enough will do (including Kleenex and CDs).

    Recently I purchased little yellow strips that are sticky on the back,
    these make good bookmarks, won't disappear that easily and they look
    better than Kleenex, too.

  32. Lately I've been using pages from my "Word for the day" calendar. I never really took to those day by day calendars, so this is a great way to use a Christmas present that otherwise would have been a dust-gatherer!

  33. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Huh. Funny reading this; I always memorized my page numbers, and didn't realize people actually used bookmarks. I thought they were just a collector's item, like baseball cards or whatever.

  34. Right now I'm using twist ties (the wide kind that you find by the bulk bins) and scraps of paper as most of my bookmarks. I only use my nicer bookmarks for books I own, because I have a bad habit of returning library books without removing the bookmarks.

  35. I love bookmarks - I have a large collection of signed by author ones that I never use (in case they get damaged) and about half a dozen ready to use paper ones next to me. However the main one I use is one I crossed-stitched myself. It has pictographs and words saying 'I love reading books' on it :D That way I have it in the main book I am reading and if I read a second and third book I have the paper oens ready and waiting :D

  36. I use crocheted bookmarks made by my grandmother. They're pretty and comforting. If I don't have one handy, I use my bus pass or a piece of scrap paper like a receipt. Dog-earing the pages is forbidden, as I tell everyone who borrows my books.

  37. I once used a check that my mother had written me as a bookmark in a library book, then returned it to the library! Some nice soul sent it back to my parents, and I received a package of bookmarks(along with the check!) in the mail from my mother a couple of months later. Since then, I've kept a container full of bookmarks on my nightstand so I will never use a check as a bookmark again! I do a lot of traveling, and I picked up several bookmarks along my way this summer. I've also been known to use stray pieces of paper and envelopes.

    {Love your book, by the way!}


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