Guest post by Robin K. Blum, Founder & President of www.inmybook.com
Ever start reading a new book and just can’t put it down? I have experienced that feeling and know how exciting it can be to open up a Better World Books package, block out everything else on your to-do list and get swallowed up in the pleasure of reading. But inevitably, you’ll need to take a break at some point (unless it’s a very short book or you’re living in a time warp). What do you need to save your place? A bookmark, and in the realm of bookmarks, here’s one with a difference: they’re called In My Book® cards and they’re ‘the greeting card and bookmark in one’. The one-woman company was founded by Robin K. Blum and here’s my story:
In the late 1990’s in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens, I was living the yuppie’s dream, working part-time for a wonderful children’s book publisher (Kane/Miller Book Publishers www.kanemiller.com), raising my two school-aged sons, and in my free time, enjoying reading, photography, knitting, gardening, and travel with my husband, an international lawyer. But there was still a little voice inside telling me I needed to ‘do my own thing’. Maybe it was the coming millennium, maybe it was my approaching 50th birthday, maybe it was a desire to strike out on my own after being a more-or-less full time mother and wife and prioritizing everyone’s needs over my own.
Over a period of weeks in 1999, the idea/project/product came into focus. I loved reading, I loved paper and I loved the tangential things that come along with books. I decided I would make something that independent bookstores could sell…a bookmark. The precursors of In My Book® were a few homemade, handmade bookmarks given to friends and relatives on their birthdays, usually along with books. The bookmark soon expanded into a greeting card, and the concept and format of In My Book® was born (the name was hit upon in the shower).
Knowing that I needed a skilled artist to create images for the cards, I found illustrator Meredith Hamilton,www.meredithhamilton.com
who happened to live a few blocks away from me in Brooklyn, NY. Meredith whipped up a dozen whimsical pen and ink sketches to illustrate each of the original concepts.I put together a business plan, trademarked the name of the company, searched for printers, created a website. The first In My Book® cards were sold in May 2000 at BookExpo America in Chicago. I had no clue if anyone really wanted to buy what I had created. It was definitely a leap of faith. It still is, given the tenuous state of bookselling and retail in general these days. There are now fifteen styles and three new styles are due out in March. My fingers remain crossed.
In the past twelve years, the book industry has changed so much that it is barely recognizable, however I suspect that there will always be readers who are happy to share their love of reading paper books with fellow book-lovers. To date, the cards have been sold in over 500 indie book, library and museum stores (including the Library of Congress and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston). If you’re on the lookout for unique greeting cards for your reading friends, or want to use them as fundraisers for your library or other worthy cause, check out IN MY BOOK® cards at www.inmybook.com.
Do you have a favorite bookmark? What does it look like? Why do you love it? Feel free to tell us about it below or share a photo on our Facebook or Twitter pages.
*Note* The above guest post is from our Twitter friend and Founder of In My Book, Robin Blum. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email email@example.com if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Robin, your bookmarks are adorable!