Books, Fluff, Writing

On the Death of the Bookmark

There’s constant discussion flying around regarding the end of the printed book era.  Electronic books, we’ve been told, are beginning their coup to take over the world the market.  Brick and mortar book sellers are sinking fast, and pushing their own technology by placing overly-friendly (hypnotized?) e-book-lovers right up front as you walk inside.

The demise of the printed page is disturbing to me — I love the look, feel, and smell of traditional books. I love the covers, and the turning of actual pages — but I foresee a day in the near future when an e reader will find its way into my home. I won’t resist the takeover.

But, there is something I intend to fight. Something that rattles me just as much as the death of the book in all of its musty-smelling glory.  That something is…What will become of the bookmark?!

When books have crumbled into ash (like in classic, The Time Machine…creepy) will bookmarks be placed in museums behind dusty panes of glass? (And, if so, how much will I make on my Harry Potter collection?)  Will they be turned into pieces of modern art mosaics, or used in decoupage nightmares? Or, will they be burned in protest regarding the digitization of the universe?

Yeah, I’m thinking that last one.

We must have 60+ bookmarks at our house, and that is a conservative estimate — it’s probably more like a million. Ours is a reading family, and between four kids who have proudly presented their creations over the years, and those received from school, as party favors, in gifts, from the library…well, our bookmark holder looks like it’s spitting tassels and glitter. It’s Vegas on a bookshelf.

Here’s the thing — if the traditional book dies, so dies the bookmark.  Not only that, but teachers will lose out in their favorite go-to craft, stocking stuffers will need to be revamped, prayer cards will go unread, and, quite frankly, the whole world will go crazy.


So far, the bookmark seems safe. But, how about in five years, or ten, or twenty?Is there anything we can do to save this endangered species before extinction?

Educators, parents, readers…save them, my friends. Join the effort. Create a slogan.  Something like, “Kill a Tree — Save 10,000 Bookmarks,” should do the trick.

I know I’ll hold onto mine — among my favorites are ones that smell like strawberries, or the one my daughter made that succinctly orders me to READ!!!. Or, the one showing a picture of my son’s head with, “10 Apples Up On Top.”

I stick these into my books, and smile. And turn the pages. Oh, those pages!

If the bookmark is saved, then maybe there’s hope for their companions. Saving the minions to fight for their leader — the all-mighty book.

If not, decoupage is probably the next best thing.


*Find me on Twitter @amandahoving

47 thoughts on “On the Death of the Bookmark”

  1. aaaackkkk…

    the prayer cards!

    What will the little old lady church groups do now?

    Oh, I know, keep making them for the rest of us that can’t afford The Kindle.

    Bookmarks shall live forever, as long as there’s a middle class that pinches their pennies, the book mark will live.

    Go, get some sleep now, Amanda…it’ll be alright.



  2. Thanks for adding one more thing for me to worry about. Now I will be concerned that bookmark companies will go out of business and people will start using random things like nail files and socks to mark their pages. Hang onto your stash. Maybe you can sell it on eBay someday.


  3. The demise of the printed book is very worrisome to me, but I hadn’t even though about the bookmarks! Thanks for the post, entertaining and insightful!


  4. Now you’ve done it. You’ve rung the bell, brought it to our attention. Can we ever look at bookmarks the same way?

    Many are the bookmarks I’ve made by tearing a napkin, or pulling a dollar out of my wallet. Never (these days) do I dogear a book.

    You’re right. It will happen. Our children–or theirs–will not have the attachment to paper that many of us do today. And they will wonder, should they find a book mark in some future attic, what this strange rectangle of paperboard could have been used for.


    1. Oh yes, napkins, money, paper clips…if I counted those bookmarks, I’d be in the trillions.

      It’s one thing linked to the other — what will little first graders of the world do during free time if they can’t sit and color a bookmark template? (sigh)

      Thanks for visiting, Richard~


  5. I almost think that, as long as there are sheets of construction paper and star stickers and children in the world, there will be bookmarks. Maybe we won’t call them that anymore, but they’ll still exist. 😉


  6. Bookmarks will be around as long as there are Bibles.

    So says me, who use receipts as bookmarks because I’m too cheap to pay $2 to buy one.


  7. I read my Bible on my iPhone. It’s so convenient and easier to hold than my Bible while lying in my bed. I want an e-reader. I’ll probably have one someday. The bookmark? I like KLZ’s comment. “Bookmarks will be around as long as there are Bibles.” And, think of it, as long as there are books of any kind. This transition will take time. I don’t intend to toss out my paper library the day I get an e-reader. Blessings to you…


  8. Oh, my! I have to go home and hug my bookmarks tight. I have a rather impressive collection, including one that has the new(er) Princess Leia and one with a fairy (a la tinkerbell) with the slogan “Small but powerful” (my own personal slogan for myself). I have the metal ones with the chinese characters and the sayings etched into them. I have the D.E.A.R. one from school. I have small ones called Last Lines that point to the exact spot you left off…what will I do without them? Can’t ebooks and printed books get along? I can’t afford an ebook reader, but I’d probably get one if I could. I have no problem with reading the written word in whatever form it comes, but I’m not ready to completely give up “real” books…or bookmarks.

    Great post! 😀


    1. Wow…you do have an impressive sounding collection. Princess Leia? Get out!

      Can you imagine libraries of the future? I wonder how long until you only pop in for downloads 😉

      Thanks for your comment!


  9. I love your slogan. Print that on a t-shirt – I’ll order one up asap.

    I freakin’ hate technology. Books! Bookmarks! How I love you!

    ps – I’m intrigued by your bookmark holder. I need one of those.


    1. The bookmark holder is totally makeshift — some sort of book end type thing with three openings that looks…interesting.

      I will send you a t-shirt since I’ve been stockpiling them from my secret basement pressing machine.


  10. I treasure my collection of bookmarks from all over. Whenever I travel I visit independent bookstores and buy a book and get a bookmark. The bookmark closest to me is from The Tattered Cover in Denver.
    I might turn into an e-reader holdout–I gave up my cell phone and have a landline which I’m liking better for awhile.


  11. Who ever considered the bookmark as an endangered species?
    I will go now to create a habitat for them…a safe place…
    maybe Brangelina will donate $2 million to this cause?
    blessings, and well written


  12. E-book authors discuss this alot. What do we make or buy for giveaways to our readers? Seems silly to have a bookmark with no physical pages to put it in. If we do bookmarks, they will be in other writers books. May have to do bookmarks just to save them a little longer.


    1. I know I’ve left some things in library books before — bet you’ve found some interesting things. Seems like a lot of readers here are leaning traditional, but e-books have arrived…

      Love your post, BTW!


  13. Say it ain’t so! I don’t want books to die, but I’m less sentimental about their markers. Oh, I love my sweet 1980s Garfield bookmarks that got me through grade school, but I have used business cards, pay stubs, receipts, and scrap paper for so long I don’t think I have a vast collection of bookmarkers. Fun post as always.


  14. I know right? When I got my kindle I got so excited I threw away my favorite book mark. I don’t know what I was thinking. I miss it so much. 😦


  15. You can’t let that happen. You have to lobby Congress or something. (If you need me to sign a petition, say the word 🙂 )

    Seriously, though, the thought is pretty sad. I’m so pathetic that I don’t use real bookmarks (most are really nice ones that were gifts from friends and I don’t want to ruin them) so I use scraps of paper instead. I know. I need help.

    Thanks for the entertaining (but a little sad) post. I will always love my bookmarks.


  16. I don’t know that I can get behind the bookmark cause. I blame this mostly on the bookmarks, for never being around when I need them, and for falling out of books they’re meant to be doing their jobs.
    I also refuse to believe that books will crumble to dust, Time Machine style, because there are way too many booklovers out there. Right? RIGHT? Haha and I also have this not so secret belief that one day my HP collection will be worth millions, because half of it is ‘first edition’. That’s got to count for something….


    1. Hi Pico — I’ll see you with our first editions at the millionaire’s club in a few years…

      But, please don’t blame the bookmark. Their little tiny shoulders can’t handle the guilt.


  17. bookmarks are the only ‘accessory’ that the books can have…and i have so many of them!!!in fact i made about half a dozen just a few weeks ago…somethings are best done in the traditional way and reading is one of them!its pretty cool to ‘select’ a bookmark from the stack while starting to read a new book…nothing can really beat it!


  18. Say it ain’t so! Bad enough to lose books..I have some pretty classy bookmarks — several small, sleek ones from MOMA museum store (gifts from people made desperate by my picky taste) — as well as some goofy paper ones, and a ridiculous cat bookmark inherited from my grandmother. I’ve often thought about doing something crafty with them. Maybe decoupage is the way to go!


  19. I have long bemoaned (and even written about on my blog) the end of “real” books, but I have never given thought to the end of bookmarks. How sad!! I love my bookmarks. There is something great about finding just the right bookmark for a book-it has to be the correct thickness, height, picture, and feel. There is an art form to bookmarks.



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