What do you write in your books?

I've written before about how (and why) I write in my books as I read. I underline, I highlight, and I dog-ear. But beyond my reading notations, I mark each book as my own. For my nicer editions, I have an embosser (best gift ever) that prints "From the library of Kerry" on the paper. Because it only works on paper of a certain quality (mass market paperbacks, for example, will just tear under the pressure), I mark any non-embossed title page with my name. Embossed or not, I also mark the month and year I'm reading the book, and any special information I might want to remember about my reading experience.

The books I read on my honeymoon? Those are the first books in which I wrote my "new" name instead of my maiden name, and under the date on each, I wrote "Honeymoon Reading."

The two I read in the Virgin Islands last summer? Yep, those say "July 2012, USVI."

My copy of Jane Eyre? Name, date, "Septemb-Eyre Readalong."

All the editions of Harry Potter? Name, date, second date, third date, fourth date...

My grandmother wrote her name and the year on the title page.

My father writes his name and his phone number on the first interior page of the book, regardless of whether it is title or not (not that anyone actually returns a borrowed book just because you've reminded them of your contact information).

My aunt writes "Please return to...." on the inside front cover.

My Nashvillian friend initials the outside of the pages at the base near the spine, and writes on the inside front page the date she purchased it and the date she read it, to catalog how long it steeped on her shelf before picking it up.

Someone on a podcast recently mentioned that he annotated each of his volumes with the store in which he purchased it.

It seems a very personal thing, this marking, and varies by reader. But it also seems somewhat universal, as each reader approaches his or her library with a sense of ownership. When we lend books out, or give them away, or sell them to a used bookstore, we are doing so with a message to the next reader: I read this. I read this when. I read this where.

So, inquiring bookworm that I am, I want to know: Do you write in your books to designate them as yours? If so, what do you write?


  1. I never thought about marking the dates/places in which I read a book! That's interesting; I think I'll do that from now on. Right now most of my books are in the States, and I usually just read my Kindle over here in France, but I can still note when I read them, so I think I'll start doing that :) - Maggie @ An American in France

  2. I don't write in my books. At all. Although I am beginning to soften on this, at least right now in terms of writing when you read a book. I like that idea, especially when you re-read a book

  3. I've only recently started writing in my books, and even then, it's only here and there. Mostly, it's just Readalong books that I've written in, and a few bookclub books. I still have a few books from high school English in which I wrote/underlined/highlighted in and I I find it fascinating to flip through them and read what I marked. I love the idea of writing the month/year you read the book along with where/what you were doing when you read it. I wish I had started that before I was married. And I think I have to order myself an embosser now!

  4. I have an embosser too! I love it, but I only mark my favorite books with it because it has my last name on it (it was a gift, I probably would've just put my first name).

    I love the idea of writing your name and the date that you've bought or read it. Kind of makes me want to start doing that to my books :)

  5. What a cool idea! Like some of the other commenters, I've never thought to mark my books with the places and times that I read them. That would be an amazing way to commemorate different times I'd read them. I'm going to do that from now on. I already write my name in my books, so it wouldn't feel any more like vandalism to add dates and places.


Thanks for stopping by!