13 favorite bookplates for sale on Etsy


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As e-readers and e-books rise in popularity this holiday season, good old fashioned books stand out for the things that make them especially bookish. Their tangibility. The way they feel. How their covers look on a shelf. And how, on that inside cover, you can attach a bookplate giving notice that the book is your own. These are our 13 favorites.

All of them come from DIY site Etsy. Above, trompe d’oeil bookplates are made from a photo of a toy boat (say that three times fast). These use-your-own-glue bookplates can be personalized by the artist and cost $6 for a set of 10.


Robots! Green letterpress robots. Designed by artist Brandi Powell, they come in sets of 5 for $7.50 (use your own glue).

Go mid-century modern with the bookplate design at left featuring a drawing of a Herman Miller seat set. This bookplate is printed on a 2.5-inch by 2.5-inch sticker and will be personalized by the artist with the buyer’s name. It comes in sets of 25 for $15, but you can request another quantity -- who knows, maybe a Herman Miller-esque multiple of three.

Many of the bookplate listings on Etsy note how they’re made -- with acid-free adhesive or paper, special inks, printed on letterpress machines.

The bookplate below uses a Kodak waterproof ink, which they say has bright, resilient color (although the waterproof part may be moot -- get too much water on a bookplate, and your book is almost certainly in trouble). The creator calls the design is lacey chrysanthemum -- a set of six is $8.

Some bookplates are for those with bad attitudes, like these marvelous skull-and-crossbones self-adhesive letterpress bookplates, which let borrowers know the books are ‘from the den of the dastardly.’ A set of 10 is $6.

But if you’re shopping for someone with a little less in-your-face personality, these monogram bookplates are entirely civilized. They are personalized by the artist with the name and initial you request, and can read either ‘from the library of’ or ‘this book belongs to.’ A self-adhesive set of 30 is $18.


From civilized to cute. HOW CUTE ARE THESE FOREST ANIMALS IN TEACUPS? Sorry about the shouting, but they are just insanely cute, don’t you think? The illustrations are by the artist, who personalizes the self-adhesive book plates with the name you supply. A set of 18 bookplates includes 3 of each design, and sells for $12.

Is a reader in your life a contemporary bike enthusiast? Or steampunky? Or both?

The bicycle bookplate at right is glue-your-own. Although this version is left blank, the seller will add a name to personalize them at your request. Many of this seller’s designs feature vintage-style images like this one, often with subtle alterations. This bookplate’s set costs $15.75 and comes in a set of 24.

Etsy has more than 2,500 bookplate designs for sale on its site. The cheapest are listed for less than a dollar, and prices go up from there. One specially designed set, printed on acid-free paper, includes every letter of the alphabet plus an exclamation point and question mark; the 28-plate set costs $56. But most are far more affordable than that, and can serve as a great extra gift to go along with a new book.

Hey, what’s that below? It’s another robot! Look closely: you can see that the robot is reading a book that features a robot who loves to read. A set of 10 is $6.

While many of the bookplate designs have a slightly girlie edge, the one at left does not. This monogram bookplate is simple and straightforward, as suitable for a manly man as for an elegant lady. Suitable, that is, as long as the recipient likes green.

The bookplate is personalized at your request by the creator, Peaenthetical Press -- not a single person seller but a set of identical twins, living, they say, ‘a little further apart than we prefer.’


(Identical twins -- they probably understand the need for labeling your stuff as your own.)

The set of 18 self-adhesive simple monogram bookplates will come boxed and tied with a ribbon; it costs $8.75.

Some of these bookplates are printed by hand or on home printers, but not the one below. The nuts-about-books squirrel bookplate is printed by a professional offset printer, and is self adhesive. And affordable! A set of 6 is just $4.50.

Below, a bookplate that takes its image from a children’s book from the early 1920s. The seller will personalize the bookplates before printing. A set of 24 costs $15.95 (supply your own glue).

The bookplate at right is also based on a vintage design. It’s especially for those who like to lend their books and who hope that it will serve as a gentle plea for their return.

It was created by Jocelyn, who tells me she works at an independent bookstore in Minneapolis, where she presumably sees many books leave, never to return.


These stop, look and read bookplates are self-adhesive. A set contains 12 bookplates and costs $8.

Please note: Depending on where you and the seller live, there may also be charges for taxes, and probably will require a small shipping charge. The listed prices are exclusive of those fees.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Images: All photos used with permission of the individual vendors.