Printed Bookmarks

Printed bookmarks in Australia are a cherished and practical accessory for readers, serving the dual purpose of marking a place in a book while also offering creative and customisable design options. They are a favourite among book enthusiasts, marketers, and organisations for their functionality and aesthetic appeal.

printed bookmarks

Here’s a detailed exploration of printed bookmarks and their features:

Material and Durability:

  • Often made from robust cardstock or paper, but can also be crafted from materials like plastic, fabric, or thin metal for enhanced durability.
  • The material’s thickness and quality can vary, with some bookmarks being laminated for additional protection and extended use.

Sizes and Shapes:

  • The standard size for bookmarks is typically around 2 x 6 inches, rectangular in shape, though this can vary.
  • Custom shapes, like animals, symbols, or thematic designs related to specific books or genres, are available for a unique look.

Design and Printing:

  • Design options are virtually limitless, ranging from elegant typography to elaborate illustrations and photographic images.
  • Printing techniques include digital printing for vibrant colours and detailed imagery, or offset printing for larger runs.
  • Special printing effects such as foil stamping, embossing, or spot UV coating can be added for a tactile and visually engaging finish.

Customisation and Personalisation:

  • Personalisation options include adding names, initials, or custom messages, making them great for gifts or promotional items.
  • Businesses and authors often use them as a marketing tool, customising with logos, contact information, or book cover art.

Tassels and Embellishments:

  • Many bookmarks feature a tassel or ribbon at the top, providing an ornamental touch and making them easier to spot in a book.
  • Additional embellishments might include beads, charms, or fabric accents for extra flair.


  • Personal Use: Book lovers utilise them to keep their reading place marked.
  • Promotional Items: Used by bookstores, libraries, and authors for promotional giveaways.
  • Marketing and Advertising: A subtle advertising tool for businesses, often distributed at events or with purchases.
  • Educational Tools: Employed in schools and educational programs, often featuring motivational quotes or reading tips.
  • Souvenirs and Gifts: Popular in museums, gift shops, or cultural events as souvenirs, and as thoughtful gifts for book clubs or literary gatherings.

In Australia, printed bookmarks combine functionality with artistic design, making them suitable for a wide array of applications, from personal enjoyment to marketing and educational use. They are a small yet significant way to enhance the reading experience, promote literacy, and support marketing efforts.

The history of bookmarks dates back several centuries, with various forms used throughout time. However, the first known examples of what could be considered a “printed” bookmark emerged around the 15th century, coinciding with the development of the printing press.

  1. Early Bookmarks (Before Printing Press): Before the advent of the printing press, readers often used small, makeshift items like ribbon, fabric, or leather strips as placeholders in their books. These were not printed, but they served the same purpose as modern bookmarks.

  2. 15th Century: With the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in the mid-15th century, books became more widely available, and the need for bookmarks increased. It was during this time that the concept of a dedicated, manufactured bookmark likely began to take shape.

  3. Printed Bookmarks in the 16th Century: The earliest known references to printed bookmarks date back to the 16th century. These were often made by printers who would use the same presses used for books to create bookmarks. They started as simple, unadorned pieces of paper but gradually evolved to include decoration.

  4. Victorian Era: The golden age of the bookmark was in the Victorian era (19th century). During this time, bookmarks became popular gifts and keepsakes, often intricately designed and incorporating luxurious materials like silk and leather, and sometimes embellished with gold.

  5. Industrial Revolution and Mass Production: With the Industrial Revolution and advancements in printing technology, the production of bookmarks became more sophisticated. It was during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that printed bookmarks, as we know them today, became common, often used as advertising or promotional materials by companies and publishers.

The first “printed” bookmarks were therefore likely simple, rudimentary placeholders that evolved into more elaborate and decorative items with the advancement of printing technology. The Victorian era marked a significant period in the development and popularity of the bookmark, transforming it into an artistic and collectible item.