A bounty of beautiful bookmarks: 20 charming place-holders and page-markers for bookworms to gift and enjoy

Readers, I’ll fess up to stuffing a grocery store receipt in between the pages of my current read. Sometimes, you just have to use what’s on hand to mark your place. (Should we talk about the time I needed a replacement debit card because I lost mine … only to find it weeks later in the pages of a book I’d abandoned?)

I don’t mind the occasional ticket stub or sticky note peeking out of my book, but a beautiful bookmark makes me smile each time I go to turn the page. So why not find yourself or a fellow book lover a fun one?

Today I’m sharing a collection of bookmarks that make thoughtful gifts for bookworm friends (or for yourself). I’ve purchased and used some of these myself, and others have me wishing I needed more bookmarks in my life. They make great stocking stuffers or gift-toppers, in place of a ribbon or bow.

After you browse, I’d love to know: what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark? Tell us in the comments.

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A bounty of beautiful bookmarks: 20 charming place-holders and page-markers for bookworms to gift and enjoy

20 bookmarks to delight the conscientious bookworm

Steel Petal Press “To Do” Bookmark. I appreciate tools that help me keep my priorities straight, like this simple black and white bookmark. (This one’s adorable but heads up, some of these offerings are NSFW.)

Growley Leather Co. Set of Three Leather Bookmarks. You can personalize these lovely leather bookmarks for a thoughtful and sturdy gift.

Bookshelf Tracker Bookmark. Keep track of your reading by filling in the blank books on this adorably illustrated bookmark.

Plant Lady Magnetic Bookmarks. These are so cute! And I appreciate how magnetic bookmarks stick to the page. I also like the minimalist, cool toned variety.

Page Anchor. I LOVE my page anchor bookmark. It slides into your book and holds the pages open for hands-free reading. Hot tip: I like to use this in my cookbooks while I’m whipping up a recipe.

Book Darts. My tried-and-true page markers, and one of my favorite book journaling tools.

Dried Flower Bookmark with Goldleaf. A handful of these might be the next best thing to receiving a bouquet of real flowers. Or freshly sharpened pencils.

Simple Ribbon DIY Bookmark. I talked about bookmarks with my friend Myquillyn Smith in WSIRN Ep 156: Expert tips for a pretty, peaceful, practical bookshelf. She recommended snipping a piece of ribbon to use as a pretty bookmark, and I’ve been enjoying my ribbon bookmarks ever since.

E. Shaver Watercolor Bookmark. I love collecting bookmarks from bookstores I’ve visited. This year, I’m adding bookmarks to my cart as I do my holiday book shopping online.

Silver Bookmark with Wild Geese Book Charm. The Wild Geese Bookshop is a charming little place, as darling as this yellow book charm.

Custom Arrow Name Bookmark. Totally giftable, and super pretty. Available in a variety of different metals, this bookmark spells out your name in wire, with a simple arrow design on the ends.

Clip-On Ribbon Bookmark. This feels fancy. Clip this bookmark to the cover of your current read and use the ribbon to mark your page.

Mark Your Exact Line. I like to leave off at the end of a full chapter when I sit down to read, but life happens. When I get interrupted mid-sentence, I like having this elastic bookmark with a moveable line marker to save my spot.

Punny “Reading Glasses” Bookmark. This one made me chuckle.

Mark-My-Time Digital Bookmark. Technically, these are for kids, but I love the idea of setting this bookmark timer and leaving my phone in another room for 20 minutes of uninterrupted reading time.

Brass Arrow Page Marker. I have my eye on this simple-but-stunning arrow bookmark. You can add your initials to personalize it.

Feather Bookmark Set. Wow, these are pretty! And a 30 piece set is perfect for those of us who tend to lose our bookmarks. (They’re like hair ties. Where do they go?).

Nessie Bookmark. My kids get a kick out of this one. A cute little sea monster (really, it’s cute!) sits atop your book pages.

Book Bone. No, this isn’t for Daisy. It’s a bone-shaped book weight that holds your pages open, in a variety of colors.

Multiple Strand Ribbon Bookmark. Sometimes you need to mark more than one page at a time #bookwormproblems. This reference-style bookmark makes it possible to mark five places in your book. I’m thinking this would be great for cookbooks, reference books, or a hefty nonfiction tome.

What are you using as a bookmark right now? I’d also love to know which book you’re currently marking. Tell us in the comments!

P.S. For more bookish items and gift ideas, check out the 2020 holiday gift guide or my gift guide for Jane Austen fans.


Leave A Comment
  1. Barb says:

    I like to use ticket stubs or pamphlets from travelling. It’s so great to come across your ticket to the Vatican museum, or the zip lining in Puerto Rice, or the botanical gardens in Montreal. I know some people would scrapbook, but that’s not my style. Also, if you go to galleries, sometimes they have cool postcards with art from their collections for free.
    It’s kind of like getting a bonus memory at an unexpected time. Especially now, when travel is nothing BUT a memory!

    • Sarah Wesberry says:

      Barb, I agree 100%. My best friend owns a book store, and we often talk about how boarding passes from “the old days” made the best bookmarks. In fact, we talked about it so much that she and another friend of hers started making them. You might want to check out Camilla Goods (https://www.camillagoods.com/). They make Boarding Pass Bookmarks that are clever and unique. It sounds like you might enjoy them!
      (Also, I don’t normally comment on things like this, so if my recommendation is out of line, I apologize.)

      • Stacy says:

        Great site – thanks for sharing! You just reminded me that I still have our Eurorail boarding passes in our 1994 Let’s Go Europe book we used as our bookmark! My now husband proposed to me on that trip! On the way back to the States, he accidentally left the book in the airplane seat pocket and we were so upset. He called the airline and they retrieved it for us! We just had our 26th wedding anniversary:-)

      • Noell Broussard says:

        Yes, I was going to comment that I loved to leave my boarding passes from the “old days” in the books I read on that flight/trip. Then coming across them again later always brings back memories of that trip!

    • Liz Snell says:

      YES!!! Plane tkts are my favorites.. or were before e tickets and no travel! Hah! I do tend to collage/scrapbook & use these thing in my travel journals.. but I love when a tkt shows up reminding me of a great place I have been. 🙂

    • Gloria Anderson says:

      Barb, I have done the same thing and I agree 100% it is so nice to come across those tickets from museums, galleries, boat rides, etc. Lovely memories! I am in New Zealand and so miss travelling right now too. I also have used boarding passes as Sarah Wesberry commented on. They bring back many happy memories.

  2. Alison says:

    Currently marking “The Bear and the Nightingale” with my Sundog Books bookmark. Makes me happy to remember all the times on the beach in FL since we had to cancel our trip this year.
    I do really like magnetic clip bookmarks, though, as I have little kids and pets who have been known to lose my spot with regular bookmarks.
    Will definitely have to get that Nessie for someone’s stocking this year and the Last Word marker for myself. Thanks for the cute recommendations! It’s the little things these days…

  3. Tina says:

    This isn’t strange, but my favorite bookmarks are notes or drawings from my now 9 year old son. One is a PostIt that proclaims “BEST Mom EVER!” (because we had ice cream for dessert that night). Another is heart shaped rainbow with “LOVE” in his crooked kindergarten handwriting scrawled in the center.

    • I still use notes and drawing my kids gave me when they were little to mark my books (my kids are now 23, 21 and 19). It’s such a treat to open a book and discover a little token of their childhoods.

  4. Norna says:

    I too have used receipts as well as a Kleenex, grocery list, a card that came with flowers and business cards. My favourite ones are the magnets. That is what I’m using now as I read “The House Girl.” My pet peeve is turning down the top corners, dog earring?
    That is a no no!!! Now I’m going to search amazon for some pretty ones! Happy Reading everyone!

  5. Jennifer Brueck says:

    I should use a better bookmark, but I just use what they stick in my book at the library when I grab it off the hold shelf. But really I wanted to come on here and just tell you how much I LOVE your podcast WSIRN. I have needed to beef up my ‘books to read’ list on Goodreads and you have certainly done that. I just found your podcast about a month ago and it has been one of my favorite things. It has encouraged me to really examine what I love to read and what I find not quite as enjoyable, and I have really enjoyed figuring that out. Turns out, I like happy endings, or at least people in a better position at the end of the book then they were in the middle. I just had to tell you how much I appreciate your book reviews and guests. Every week is a new ‘adventure with Anne’ on your podcast!! So thank you!

  6. Nikki says:

    I am currently using a note from
    my daughter. I often use bookmarks my kids make. Also, I’m currently reading The Invited for a spooky October read w it’s my book club. I really wish this post contained pictures… I might consider an upgrade, but I’m not going to click on ever single one to see if I like any.

    • Carolyn says:

      That is an awesome link on what’s left in a book. Thanks for sharing. I found an recipe once in my library book and in another a beautiful hand written poem.

  7. Patricia says:

    I’m with the ticket stub crowd. I love seeing stubs from a play or movie I enjoyed. I’ve also gotten desperate and grabbed used kleenix to mark my place. Ick.

  8. Susan says:

    Many of the same as mentioned here already: ticket stubs (ex. museum exhibit, concert, sightseeing); bookmarks from bookstores found while travelling; bookmarks purchased while travelling (the ones that look like art); small art made by my boys which I have laminated; bookmarks offered as part of the school photo package when they were in elementary school (our boys are now 20 and 22 years old—the young school photos and their art/printing from that time are so precious)

  9. Virginia Westlake says:

    We have traveled to 40 countries. Usually the only souvenirs I buy are bookmarks (if I can find them). This is a great way to remember our travels and fun to use in books.

  10. Jill says:

    I recently saw an Instagram post with a pair of socks(I think from the NYPL gift shop) which said “Bookmarks are for quitters.” It made me laugh.

  11. Char says:

    I am an English teacher and once had a student who used strands of his (long) hair as bookmarks. He wouldn’t yank them out–just pull his hands through his hair after reading his book and–voila, a bookmark. He was really quite proud of his hair!!

  12. Lauren says:

    While my kids were growing up we tried to encourage the homemade gift idea and I ALWAYS asked for a bookmark for my birthday and Mother’s Day. I bought a couple packages of blank bookmarks from Michael’s or something and told them to personalize them with funny things or sayings from the previous year. I have the GREATEST collection of bookmarks now! Some are sweet, some are silly and some are really beautiful. It’s a fantastic time capsule and I store them in some book themed mugs on my bookshelves.
    I actually have started to put cash between the pages of the really good books they should keep when they are clearing out my library (hopefully someday in the far future!) so they’ll know the ones I really loved and value.

  13. Lori H says:

    Last year, I discovered I could buy a huge stack of blank bookmarks on Amazon. My kids and I painted with watercolors, stamped, drew, glued, etc., to decorate them. Then topped them with pretty ribbons. A year later and most of the bookmarks are lost (meaning in books somewhere on our shelves.) I ordered a new pack ($7 or $8) and my sons are excited to spend a few afternoons decorating more bookmarks.

  14. Theresa O’Leary says:

    While waiting on a flight, I used my ticket which was so lightweight it virtually disappeared in my book. I went to board and I couldn’t find the ticket, even by shaking the book. I had to go through page by page to find the dang thing!

  15. Stephanie says:

    Looks like I am the only reader who doesn’t use bookmarks! Or the only one who’ll admit it 😉 I have tried many times, but I always forget about them and my habit of dog-earring takes over.

  16. Betsie Eikenberry says:

    Maybe not strange, but I’m the only person I know who does this (so far). I exclusively use little post-it notes for bookmarks. They, don’t slip down into the book, they don’t fall out and while I’m reading, I just stick it to the inside back cover of the book and it’s there when I’m done! If you check out books from my library, you will probably come across one because I invariably leave it there when I finish, lol!

  17. Rachel says:

    My daughter’s birth certificate, she needed to bring it with her to her driving test and I was used it as a bookmark and I lost it. Thank goodness I have the short version of it that we can use.

  18. Marlena says:

    My husband loved to read in the bathroom and his favorite bookmark was toilet paper. I could always tell how much he liked a book by where the paper was. Mine are often old envelopes so i can write down something I like

  19. Nancy Roever says:

    I once found my daughter’s dirty sock crumpled up in between the pages of her book. She was 6 at the time and now at 11 years old I still find things like tissues as bookmarks. At least they’re unused, fingers crossed.

  20. Julie S. says:

    A used, but reasonably clean popsicle stick is probably the oddest thing I’ve ever used. My favorite though, is one my two granddaughters designed that won a contest at our local, small-town Texas library. The library had copies of the winning entry printed up to hand out to their patrons.

  21. Lisa Smith says:

    I’ve used all kinds of things, many listed already. But the strangest one is…I’ve used another book as a bookmark. 😉

  22. Bethani says:

    I work at a library. The strangest things I’ve heard about as bookmarks were a banana peel (really) and a used joint. People will really use anything.

  23. Janice Wilson says:

    For years, bookmarks have become a favorite souvenir when traveling. I’ve found them in wonderful new-to-me book stores, museum gift shops, craft markets, antique shops……
    A huge benefit is that they take up zero packing room!!!
    When I start a new book, I choose a book mark that reminds me of a place or matches the subject of the book, or maybe coordinates with the cover of the book, or merely because it evokes a special memory of a wonderful journey……
    When my beloved husband passed a year ago, I had bookmarks printed with his picture and a special poem to give as memorial cards.

  24. Carla says:

    My kids use some strange things as bookmarks; it seems to be that they will stuff the pages with the first thing they can lay their hands on when it’s time to put their book down. It’s been more than once that I’ve found a child-sized sock keeping place!

  25. Jackie T. says:

    When I was a junior in college majoring in French, I did a term abroad in Aix en Provence. After a few weeks, I suddenly noticed that my passport was missing! My advisor was shocked, but told me that if I started taking the necessary steps immediately, I should be able to get a replacement before I returned home. I started by contacting the local police. Fortunately I had not yet made my way to the nearest American embassy (not even sure where that might be other than Paris!) when I happened to find the missing document marking my place in a textbook that I rarely used! Talk about stupid items to use as a bookmark!

  26. Ioana Nan says:

    When the cold season or allergy season is in full force, I use a toilet paper roll for my runny nose. Fancy, I know. Not few were the occasions when I used a toilet paper sheet to bookmark my books.
    A classmate saw this once and made a comment, to my embarrassment.

  27. Janice Hoaglin says:

    I love bookmarks, too, and especially love the ones I have acquired at various National Parks, in their gift shops. They show such beautiful scenery of the individual parks. But my favorite kind of bookmarks now have become the many magnetic ones I have, because they are so practical. I have bought them at National Parks too, but also at Audubon Bird Centers, and at bookstores. I have many books setting around in various stages of being read, all with my place marked with a magnetic bookmark!

  28. Annie McCloskey says:

    I really love Magnetic bookmarks! This was if I stop halfway down a page, I stick the bookmark right on that actual section. I drive a VW Beetle and I bought a set of 6 VW Beetle magnetic bookmarks at the Strand in NYC. Sadly, I am down to only 3 (where do they go?) and they no longer sell them there!

  29. Jill Duffin says:

    I was gifted a month of bookmarks in a packet with each month attached to a painting by Gustav Klimt! Presently November’s Die Freundinnen is in The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I rarely read fantasy but I loved The Night Circus by her.

  30. I pulled a favorite bookmark out of the drawer recently to mark my spot in a difficult read. It’s a stuffed lion bookmark. My dog growled at it when she saw it in my book a was afraid of it. The next time I read, she stole it to use it as a chew toy. Thankfully, her Yorkie teeth didn’t harm the lion.

  31. Cathy says:

    I am reading the Invisible Life of Addie Larue. At the moment the page is being held by a large magazine. I usually like things that are a little thinner! But that was closest at the moment.
    I’ve also used my phone – which is also a bit lumpy!

  32. Sandy Montoya says:

    I use bookmarks that my mom made from all the sympathy cards that she got after my father died. A great way to not feel guilty throwing away the cards and not ending up storing them either. Lots of flowers and other nature themed book marks in my collection.

  33. Meg Faulkner says:

    There is a fantastic used bookstore where I used to live in Orange, California, called The Bookman. He has the best instagram account (@bookmanorange) and he frequently shares posts he calls Things Found In The Pages of Old Books. It’s so interesting! Ticket stubs and flyers and postcards… people use all kinds of things to mark their place.

  34. Jenny P says:

    When my husband was in high school, he folded a sheet of notebook paper into a narrow bookmark. He used it for YEARS. All through college, then grad school, and long into our marriage. He’s a one-at-a-time book reader, unlike me. When our toddler got ahold of The Bookmark, he legitimately cried. Most of it was beyond repair but the bit he was able to save is still tucked in his current novel. It’s been 4 years since then!

    I usually just use a revolving pile of junk mail. It gets lost and replaced every time I crack open a book.

  35. I’m using 3×5 cards or cute postcards for ads or discounts. I like having a straight edge to use when I underline.
    I’m reading Journey Into the Heart of God by Pfatteicher and Introduction to the Old Testament by Longman and Dillard.

  36. Leanne says:

    The strangest bookmark I have used is kleenex or toilet paper. The book I am presently reading is Adelaide Piper and I’m using the free bookmark from my bookstore where it was purchased.

  37. Diane says:

    My favorite bookmarks are recycled Christmas photo cards! I like thinking of the sweet families as I put the bookmark in and out of my reading material. Also, those multiple page bookmarks exactly match a craft I helped kiddos with years ago in Vacation Bible School! Easy Peasy to make with ribbon, pieces of leather, and a glue gun.

  38. Katie says:

    Such a fantastic article and thread! It reminded me of the episode, In Used Books, from the podcast The Daily Smile (09/09/20) which interviews a young woman who searches through used bookstores and thrift shops on the weekends for things hidden within the pages of secondhand books. She has an Instagram account where she posts her finds: @inusedbooks

  39. Nancy Waanders says:

    I’m a school librarian and actually keep a drawer of things found in books. Some of the more fun include a check for $34.95 from 2002, a photo strip you get from the booths in a mall, and a love letter.

  40. Wendy says:

    I have used a Kleenex, my phone, and coupons among other things. My fave are the magnetic bookmarks because I can mark my place as well as my page.

  41. Debbie says:

    I love bookmarks and have a small collection of them kept in a drawer of my antique Singer treadle sewing machine. My collection is made up of old and new bookmarks, some belonged to my grandparents and parents. I love choosing a bookmark that in some way is suited to each book I read.

  42. Jeannette says:

    and one more thing. I have a nice collection of art postcards from my favorite art museums. I always pick out several cards from each new exhibit I visit. They make lovely bookmarks. I often match up the book with a painting that complements it.

  43. Teresa Moore says:

    I’m using my favorite bookmarks from “Love Maude” Etsy shop. They are cute, handmade in Indiana and work wonderfully! You must check them out. They are great to give as gifts!

  44. Kylee says:

    I really like to make bookmarks with my favorite quotes from books. I’ve purchased some lovely downloadable watercolor images from Etsy. When I’m reading and stumble across a quote that really resonates with me, I find a nice font, type the quote on one of the watercolor images, print it, and wrap it inside a laminating sheet. I love having homemade bookmarks with my favorite quotes from my favorite books!

  45. Charisa E Race says:

    I think the strangest thing I’ve used was the a Kleenex when I had a cold, not realizing of course that it was the last one in the box until I desperately needed one.

  46. Kathy Boyer says:

    What fun post. I use the leaf knitted bookmark, and I sell them as well. The leaf forms a pocket and your pages fit inside. I have photos but I don’t seem to be able to show you.
    If you go to my knit blog you will see it on the header.
    Anyone can email me regarding colors and orders.

  47. Judith says:

    I have to jump in after the debit card story. I once lost a credit card; had the account cancelled, new account and card issued, the works. Months later I found it in the yellow pages (dating myself there). I had ordered pizza or something over the phone, used the credit card, and closed up the yellow pages with the card inside.
    So fun to hear I’m not the only one!!

  48. Aimee says:

    I have hundreds of old business cards, that are no longer valid (office location/phone changed). So I always use them for bookmarks – not very pretty, but convenient!

  49. Linda Zarett says:

    Bookflip bookmarks are amazing. They hook onto your book spine and attached twine is moved to mark the page. The bookmark never falls off and the twine stays secure within the book pages. They are available in a variety of styles. I love it! I have ordered mine (and I have many) online through shopify.

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