One of the risks you take when you buy a second-hand book – especially from an online seller – is that you’ll end up with a volume with a scribbled dedication inside. Most of the time you get a pretty honest description of what you’re buying, but every so often someone lets you down.
Last week I took a chance on a book recommendation that I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy and so paid a couple of quid for a copy. Sure enough, when it arrived I opened it to find a well-meaning note to ‘Julie’ from her good friend squiggle (I couldn’t read the signature, but I assume Julie knew who sent it!). This was immediately problematic to me though: I just couldn’t bring myself to read something with someone else’s name inside.
After considering whether to vandalise the thing by ripping out the title page, I decided instead to cover it over with a bookplate. I’d toyed with creating one ages ago, but had forgotten all about it. Now was a golden opportunity to get onto it again.
Looking at others online for inspiration, I settled on using Albrecht Durer’s Melancholia I. I’m no designer, and so merely added ‘Ex Libris’ and my name to the top and bottom of the image. Then it was simply a case of printing it, cutting it out and pasting it over the offending page.
I don’t think I’ll bother printing one for every book in my collection, but I’m pleased enough with it to consider putting one inside my most treasured tomes.