Why My Donated Books Have Bookplates

Amy Luscher Smith   •   April 1, 2019

When I finished writing My Faith Sparkles: Memoir of a Cancer Survivor, I decided that it would be my legacy gift to those going through cancer. In the financial realm, a legacy gift is a monetary donation to an entity, typically a cancer research center, an oncology unit, or other medical or psychological support group or charity. In cancer support group language, a legacy gift is something that a survivor can give to others to help make their journey more bearable.

I quickly decided that for every book I sell, I will donate one to an oncology office, infusion center, support group, or individual battling cancer.

The truly fun part of this has been planning how these donations will work.

When someone purchases a copy of the book, I ask them to share someone they would like to donate a copy of the book in honor of (a survivor) or in memory of (a person who remains with us in memory only). Donated books will have a bookplate in the front that notes for whom the book is given in honor or in memory.

What is a bookplate? Great question! It’s a small piece of art that is typically pasted inside the front cover of a book. Historically, it was used to mark ownership.

Bookplates first appeared in the late 1400s when books were considered rare and of high value. Only the wealthy owned books and they hired artists to create elaborate personalized pieces to signify that they owned the book. Bookplates are beautifully rendered artwork that reflect the magic of owning a book by adding to its worth. In a world where bookplates are increasingly scarce, I hope these will add value to the gift of my book, denote a special individual who shared a similar journey, and provide something of unique beauty to the reader.

To keep costs down and connect the bookplates to the book cover and my platform, I am in the process of creating my own bookplates. The journey to develop the bookplates has been a way to engage my launch team in better understanding the donation process and reason for the donated books. I’ve shared and will continue to share videos about the creation of the bookplates, as well as will track the number of books we donate to share the message of faith, encouragement, and inspiration.

Stay tuned to see how the bookplates turn out and how they are uniquely used in the donated books.

How can you donate your book to engage with others?

What would a bookplate for your book look like?

How could you use bookplates as part of your platform?