Yes to Bookmarks: All About the Book Lover’s Best Accessory

There have been bookmarks ever since there have been books to mark. East to West, there is evidence of bookmarks from before books were printed. The older bookmarks tended to be made from leather, attached by a leather strap to an early book form known as a codex

Leather remained a popular form of bookmark for some time, mainly because bookmakers could use the same material as they used to cover their masterpieces. As the printing press took off in Europe, silk ribbons became the most popular way of marking one’s place. These also came attached to the book. 

In the Victorian and Edwardian era, as the practice of bookmarking became more popular, companies would mass-produce them as an advertising strategy. These paper bookmarks are primarily responsible for the commercial bookmarks you find in stores today, in any style, and made from almost any material you can imagine. 

Some bibliophiles love bookmarks and keep one with them in every book they’re reading. Others use any scrap paper they can find. 

And then there are the dog-earers. Each camp, the bookmarkers, and the dog-earers, tend to think that theirs is The Way. We may be biased, but at Signatora we think the bookmarkers have the right idea.

Bookmarks are the Best – 5 Reasons Why 

Reason #1: Dog ears get you dirty looks. 

Dog-earers say that it’s more convenient to fold down the corner of the page, but dedicated book lovers and especially book collectors frown on the practice. That’s especially true if the book is a hardcover, collectible, or new printing. Trust us; if people see you besmirching your pristine new treasure, you won’t gain any friends. 

At least, you won’t gain any friends that respect books. And aren’t those the only ones worth having?

Reason #2: Dog ears are unreliable.

We’re not talking about actual dogs’ ears, which are very reliable. We’re talking about what happens when you fold down a corner of a book to mark your place, but something happens. Maybe

  • You re-read the book, and your old dog-ears get folded down again, and now you can’t remember which one is current.
  • Someone else picks up the book and accidentally unfolds your corner.
  • You folded down the page, but somehow when you close it, the cover re-opens your fold.

The possibilities are endless – why take the risk?

Reason #3: Bookmarks preserve a book’s condition. 

Caring for books means that the book looks just like it did when you started reading when you turn the last page. And whether you dog-ear some of the pages to keep your place or – gasp! – place your book face down on the table; you’re doing something to the book that you can’t undo.   

Bookmarks keep your book in like-new condition. If you decide to re-sell it or pass it on to a loved one or want to pick it back up again in the future and have that new book experience also, using a bookmark ensures that the structure of the book remains intact.

Reason #4: Bookmarks are portable art.

Sure, store receipts make convenient bookmarks, but real bookmarks look so much nicer. They have color and style, and they add visual art to your literary art experience. What’s not to love?

Reason #5: Bookmarks express your personality. 

Bookmark design is as limitless as a white page. You can even make your bookmarks and give them to your reader friends, or keep them to brighten your day. Or let yourself be drawn to the rack of bookmarks in your favorite bookstore and find one that calls to you.

We asked Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi for his opinion on this matter,

“Dog-earing is not a recommended practice, and I have neither done it nor seen it done, it helps to wear out the book at the same time it is not advisable to leave bookmarks in the book beyond reading the book. Over time, they can cause alteration in the colouring of paper and result in the bindings’ loosening.”

Either way, you can add a bit of color and personality to your reading experience with every new bookmark.

Do you say yes to bookmarks? Would you like to see Signatora release bookmarks? Comment and let us know what kind you like, or share a picture of your favorite.  

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2 Comments

  1. I am a book collector and do not like it when there is any kind of damage to the books. Dog ears is completely off the list for me as a book mark. It causes confusion and makes the book less appealing.
    My love for marking books came when I was younger, my father would not allow us to fold the top corners of books, rather we were given a silk ribbon to mark our reading. Holy books were given extra respect by having a covering for them as well.

  2. Thank you for the blog, perfect reminder for us all. Great to hear what Shaykh Muhammad thinks of this also, would be great to hear more about caring for our books and home libraries 🙂


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