Editor's Note: For World Bookmark Day 2022, we created a new Collection Award to recognize an outstanding collection based on the subject of the collection or the format of materials, whether the collection has been recognized by other organizations, or whether the owner has written about it or promoted it in some other way. The criteria to be considered include:
While I collect any bookmarks in general on a casual basis, I have a very specialized collection of Book Depository bookmarks. I am very passionate about this collection, and in fact I manage a dedicated Facebook page as well as a dedicated Instagram account.
As to why I started specializing in these bookmarks, at first it was just random collecting, but once I started getting close to completing sets, my collector's instinct kicked in and I just wanted to collect as many as possible. Apart from that, I truly liked the designs, especially of the earlier releases. It might sound a bit silly but I also really like double-sided bookmarks, rather than ones with a blank white back. And perhaps more pertinently I enjoy the fact that it is a documented series, with finite sets to collect. As opposed to collecting bookmarks in general, where one can just simply buy readily available sets online - you can virtually never stop collecting those.
With regard to my collection, I now have 199 unique Book Depository bookmarks at the time of writing, going back to 2009 so spanning over a decade. I have fully completed 22 our of 25 known individual sets across these years. The incomplete sets include some of the older ones, namely the My Bookmark Competition set of 2010 (13/20), the Useful Bookmarks set of 2011 (8/14), and the Factmarks set of 2012 (12/14). Needless to say I'd love to complete these sets one day!
Apart from these sets, Book Depository sometimes issues single releases, i.e. standalone bookmarks not part of a set. I have tracked down 13 of these (in my Singles album) - the issue here is that sometimes there are special bookmarks distributed at book fairs around the world, and these are not announced on the Book Depository website/social media like the sets are. Therefore, there is no way of knowing how many have been released of these. Personally I have ones from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Argentina, but I have seen other countries too.
By way of an anecdote of sorts, there was also a 'Golden Bookmark' campaign once - including limited edition bronze, silver and golden bookmarks - but for the life of me I never managed to find any further info or actual photos of these elusive bookmarks.
I have also been in touch with the designers of some of the bookmarks, and managed to obtain signed or even coloured-in copies. Below I am attaching a photo of bookmarks signed by novelist Jasper Fforde (who designed four bookmarks of the 2009 set), and a colouring bookmark signed and coloured-in by its designer Elina Gor (from the second Colouring Bookmark set of 2016).
Recently, I have also had the pleasure of liaising with another designer of one of the bookmarks, Mr Richard Nicholls, who very kindly sent me some signed bookmarks of his:
I have also been in touch with the actual founders of the Book Depository who started the publication of these bookmarks, and who have expressed their delight at seeing the joy these bookmarks were still bringing people (screenshot attached below).
Ms Kate Felton, the wife of one of the Book Depository's co-founders, sent me the below at Christmas time - one of the very first (if not the first) Book Depository bookmarks!
Sharing the Collection
On my Facebook page, which now has around 1000 followers, I display all my collection in distinct photo albums according to sets. I also feature photos of mail calls I receive from fellow bookmark collectors whenever I swap bookmarks. I also provide information whenever Book Depository host any contests, competitions, sales or bookmark releases. The page serves as a community hub for fellow bookmark lovers to arrange swaps among themselves as well. It has been a pleasure watching the page grow and I look forward to nurture it further!
On my Instagram account, which now has over 2000 followers, I opted for a more minimalist look - I upload photos of all my bookmarks against a black backdrop, with information on each and every bookmark once expanded. This way viewers can easily see all the bookmarks at a glance, with further details available should they wish to know which set it belongs to, year of publication, etc. This account has also served to set up bookmark swaps with other collectors from all over the world.
More recently, starting in 2021, I have also been sharing the books I read with my followers, accompanied by a bookmark 'throwback' of sorts. This has allowed me to keep both social media more active, rather than waiting for new sets to be released by Book Depository. I share these posts on both Facebook and Instagram accounts, and include information both on the book and on the bookmark (plus a subjective rating for the book out of 5 stars). As I average one book per week, it helps both communities to remain active.
Managing the Collection
I store my collection in a binder, using custom transparent sleeves to hold 4 bookmarks per page. I have a video showcasing the collection available below - this was back in 2019 so the collection grew significantly since then; I hope to upload an updated video some time soon. I have reason to believe that I have the largest collection of Book Depository bookmarks in the world - perhaps not a monumental feat but one of which I am immensely proud!