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Welcome to Bookplate Ink, where we take pride in providing personalized bookplates to satisfied customers throughout the world. Bookplates, also known as ex libris or book labels, are decorative stickers that are placed in the inside cover of books to identify ownership. Many have the text "ex libris," which is Latin for "from the library of."
A Brief History
Originally located in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Bookplate Ink has been personalizing designs from The Antioch Company, formerly known as the Antioch Bookplate Company, since the early 1980s. Continuing this tradition, Bookplate Ink provides the most comprehensive selection of classic Antioch Bookplate designs and offers many designs no longer available anywhere else.
The Antioch Bookplate Company, once the largest manufacturer of book-related products, began as a resourceful response by two students working in the college print shop at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Ernest Morgan and Walter Kahoe noticed the barrels of paper scraps left behind in the printing process and wanted to find a use for the material. As part of Antioch College’s renowned work study program, they began printing decorative bookplates on the scrap paper after hours. With permission from the college, they named their venture the Antioch Bookplate Company and Morgan began hitchhiking around the country selling the bookplates. Kahoe later sold his interest in the business to Morgan for two hundred dollars, and Morgan went on to expand the business, while still attending college.
The Antioch Bookplate Company continued to grow in the next decades, with Ernest Morgan adding artwork from well-known artists such as Rockwell Kent, Daniel Burne Jones and Dutch woodcut artist Thijs Mauve. Antioch also acquired other companies, such as the Etchcraft Company, and their designs. Sales climbed as the Antioch Bookplate Company sold to more and more dealers around the world. In 1971, Ernest Morgan’s son, Lee Morgan, officially took over as president of the company.
Since its early days, the Antioch Bookplate Company offered personalized bookplates to customers. The company would print the customer’s name on any of the designs in their catalog, or would print bookplates with custom artwork provided by the customer. Personalized designs were kept on file so that customers could reorder in later years. With a focus increasingly geared towards sales through dealers in later years, this portion of the company was no longer an asset. Lee Morgan forged a business agreement with the small local newspaper, the Yellow Springs News. News publisher Ken Champney agreed to continue printing personalized bookplates, provided directly to individual customers, and acquired many Antioch designs.
Bookplate Ink owner Karen Gardner came to the Yellow Springs News in 1990. Overseeing the bookplate printing business — then known as My Own Bookplate — was quickly one of her responsibilities. Fascinated with the bookplate designs, she continued expanding the business after becoming a co-owner of the newspaper in 1991. Gardner separated from daily duties at the Yellow Springs News in 2004 and devoted herself to the bookplate business, now known as Bookplate Ink, full time.
Sales for Bookplate Ink increased with the popularity of internet shopping. With overseas shipping and credit card processing, Bookplate Ink has customers thoughout the world, including many popular authors using the bookplates for signing. In 2008, the Antioch Company discontinued printing and selling bookplates. As many former customers are still devoted to the bookplate design they have used in their books for years, Bookplate Ink has expanded its inventory to include many bookplates that had been taken out of print, including those with artwork by Rockwell Kent, Dan Burne Jones, Owen Wise, Benton Ferguson, Lynd Ward, Robert Whitmore, and other well-known artists from years past.
In recent years, Bookplate Ink has been pleased to be able to offer new designs by contemporary artists, including Evelia, Jennifer Berman, Jim Harris, and Mary Engelbreit.
The Joys of Bookplates
Bookplates are a useful and attractive way to identify the books in your personal, public, university, professional, or religious library. They lend a personal touch to your books and ensure they are returned to you safely.
Our bookplates, while reasonably priced, are custom printed on high quality self-adhesive vellum paper. No messy paste or glue, and our bookplates are acid-free and archival quality. Bookplate Ink also specializes in printing bookplates from original artwork or logos. Custom designs may be sent to us camera ready or we can design a bookplate from artwork you provide. Your company or school may want a bookplate with its own logo included in the design. Or perhaps you are an author, and would like to use bookplates with your own artwork to offer autographed copies of your books.
Personalized bookplates are a treasured gift. Perfect for young readers, personalized bookplates encourage children to value their books. Bookplates are also wonderful gifts for baby and wedding showers, bar or bat mitzvahs, birthdays, graduations, and holidays. A gift card can be included in your order upon request.
Bookplate Ink is grateful to the Yellow Springs Historical Society for much of the information included on the website regarding designs from the Antioch Bookplate Company. Special thanks to Rebecca Eshlimann, former employee of the Antioch company and member of the YS Historical Society, for her tireless work and incredible helpfulness in providing information for this website.