Custom stamp or embosser for a budding book collector?
November 26, 2007 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Book lovers: Do I give a stamp or an embosser to a budding book collector?

You know, one of those 'library of' stamps. I've found, but recommendations of shops and designs are welcome.
posted by neilkod to Grab Bag (20 answers total)
Do they already mark their books in some way? Because I've been collecting/hording/buying books for decades now, and while a few well-meaning folks have given me book stamps or labels - though never an embosser - I've never used them. Yfriend'sMMV.
posted by rtha at 12:34 PM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: I'm not entirely sure, but I dont think he currently marks them.
posted by neilkod at 12:37 PM on November 26, 2007

I'd guess a serious bibliophile would be less than thrilled about permanently marking a book. Perhaps some nice custom-made illuminated book plates and an archival-quality brand of glue?
posted by OlderThanTOS at 12:40 PM on November 26, 2007

I don't mark my books, and I too have been given implements to do so. But from what I can tell: A collector of rare books would not want to use such things, and someone who likes to mark their books would have a personal preference.
posted by caitlinb at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2007

I got an embosser years ago to mark my textbooks, which get borrowed and left lyijng around frequently. I am not even sure where it is now; I just write my name in the cover with a pen. If he is getting book for their value as collectibles I would agree with those who say permanently marking them is not so good.

Levengers has some good book-related gifts if you want to look for alternatives.
posted by TedW at 1:01 PM on November 26, 2007

That same problem comes up a lot when you try to buy a gift for somebody with a hobby.
posted by box at 1:02 PM on November 26, 2007

Serious book collectors will never, ever mark their books permanently.

It might sound rather blah, but a box of mylar dustjacket wrappers might be a good gift. I buy 'em by the 100s. These might be good for the new collector.
posted by angry.polymath at 1:12 PM on November 26, 2007

Unless if they mentioned an interest in an embosser, it's probably not something they would use much.

However, from my personal book-loving/collecting perspective, if someone got me handmade personalized bookplates, even if I might not use them, I'd really appreciate it (especially if they appealed to my tastes or interests).
posted by drezdn at 1:13 PM on November 26, 2007

IMO, the best book-related gift you can give a book lover/collector (it's unclear to me if your friend collects rare editions, or just buys a lot of books) is a gift certificate to a good bookshop. I know that it's way hard for friends to buy me books because they never know what I've already acquired.
posted by rtha at 1:14 PM on November 26, 2007

Does he own many CDs, DVDs, video games, etc. too? Embossing is handy for anything you're lending to others—that's the point of it, really, not just to piss on all of your own stuff to say "mine!" I have had and been happy to use an embosser for just such a purpose (I received mine as a gift, also). I certainly appreciate it when I borrow something from someone else and there's a clear indication of ownership, to ensure that I don't forget about it and not return it.

Mind you, I rather like my books to have inscriptions, pencilled-in prices, names, stamps, plates, etc. from previous owners. As long as it's not orange crayon in the text itself, I appreciate owners' marks as context, fleshing out the book's pedigree of ownership. This may be the archaeologist in me, but I'm down for it.
posted by mumkin at 1:30 PM on November 26, 2007

Fully 2nd angry.polymath.
posted by kmennie at 1:47 PM on November 26, 2007

Thirding the book covers, along with some cotton gloves and nice handmade bookmarks (perhaps via
posted by lhall at 1:53 PM on November 26, 2007

A search term that might help is ex libris.

Data point: I would totally love gorgeous bookplates (especially with art/typography to my taste, especially especially if the giver were offering to affix them all). But I'm a book reader and lover, and only a collector in that context; I appreciate my books, but I don't hope they'll appreciate.
posted by booksandlibretti at 3:20 PM on November 26, 2007

Personally I would shy away from an embosser, since paper turns so brittle when books age that I would be afraid of that contributing to potential damage years down the road (or not being usable on books already quite old). However, I think bookplates are a great idea - I have given them a couple of times (and very much would like to receive them!). I think minor markings in books are part of their history and what makes them so interesting. For example: I bought a reference work I needed for my personal research, and found a copy in very good condition at a (rarely) good price. When I got it, it turned out that it had been owned, decades before, by an eminent scholar in my field. How cool is that?? And I never would have known if he hadn't stamped his name. It's one of my favorite possessions now, half for the research within and half for its pedigree.
posted by AthenaPolias at 3:32 PM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding above. A bibliophile won't want to damage a book (even endpapers) with embossing.

The best possible gift I could think of would be a custom bookplate. You could email the guy (passionate bookplate collector) who runs this blog about who/where he got his from (his custom ones done). Or contact the bookplate society.

And if you go with angry.polymath's suggestion I have found that Demco is far far cheaper than brodart for archival dustjacket covers. Brodart reamed me on shipping costs a few too many times. Especially for the thicker mylar.

But Demco's website is a pain to navigate.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 3:55 PM on November 26, 2007

My brother bought me an embosser when I was in my early teens and I consider it one of the more thoughtful gifts I've ever received. It's on my bookshelf now and I think warmly of him whenever I see it. Like others above, though, I am not a collector of books, and use it now mostly for books I want to share but hope to get back.
posted by Morrigan at 3:57 PM on November 26, 2007

along with some cotton gloves

I wouldn't necessarily recommend the gloves (Warning, PDF), though your friend may of course prefer them.
posted by hoboynow at 4:08 PM on November 26, 2007

About 100 years ago, collectors would commonly commission an artist to design a personalized ex libris plate, which they'd have printed on gummed paper and put in their books. I have a few gems that are framed like the works of art they are, and a book bearing the plate of the great Charles Fletcher Lummis.

Why not bring up the subject of permanent markings in books, and if your collector friend seems intrigued, offer to finance the printing and design (within reason) by the artist of his choice?
posted by Scram at 4:34 PM on November 26, 2007

Nthing that a book collector won't permanently alter his books with an embosser, glued on bookplate, or anything else. I've seen some people lay in book plates but that seems to defeat the purpose to me.
posted by Justinian at 5:18 PM on November 26, 2007

I write my name and the date in all the books I buy. So something like a stamp or embosser would be cool. As others have noted, a lot of people don't feel this way. You need to figure out what your friends story is.
posted by chunking express at 9:07 AM on November 27, 2007

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