A Bookplate Or Ex Libris is a simple or elaborately designed label used to indicate ownership, usually found pasted to the inside of the front cover of a book. Bookplates were used as early as 1516 but became popular in England, France, and Germany in the 18th century. In America, they were not used before 1800 but have been relatively common since about 1840. Bookplates might be of artistic interest, or they may help to establish the book’s provenance, the history of the previous owners.
Bookplates (also referred to as ex libris) are small labels placed inside books to identify their owners and provide additional decoration. Bookplates typically display their owner’s name and an attractive design to mark who owns each volume. They are used to claim ownership and decorate books at once. Often considered collector’s items and even works of art themselves.
Bookplates have been in existence for centuries, dating back to 15th-century Italy. Bookplates originally served to identify their publisher or printer; now, however, bookplates are used primarily by individuals to claim ownership over books they purchase.
Bookplates can be made from paper, metal, and wood; typically, these bookplates are attached to the inside front cover of books with adhesive glue. Other bookplates must be securely fastened using other means, such as welding.
Bookplates come in various styles and designs; people collect them for artistic value. Many ornate bookplates even bear signatures from their designers! While some mass-produced models exist alongside unique ones.
Bookplates are not only used by individuals; libraries, schools, and other organizations also utilize bookplates as an easy way to identify books in their collections. Many bookplates feature their organization’s name and logo or crest to easily identify books within a group.
Bookplates can be purchased from stationery stores, bookstores, and online retailers; alternatively, they can be handmade at home using various materials such as paper, printer ink, and stencils.