As you may know, up until the early 1900’s, only scholars or educated people read and owned books. Common workers and laborers, and the general public didn’t usually have any books in their homes, besides the bible. Even that was rare. Why have the bible if you already went to church?
So the people who did own books usually put book plates in them, or the authors themselves would sign it and put it in. These plates were small drawings or prints commissioned to show ownership of the book, and was placed on the inside cover.
Here are some examples:
Today they aren’t used as much; people generally just write that it belongs to them, or they don’t claim ownership at all. Why not? Well, books are common now. They are for entertainment, as well as knowledge. People don’t even buy books these days; they’ll buy an ebook or an audiobook. The only time a lot of young people will buy a book in droves is when it is becoming a movie. So of course, they read it and then put it away. Why put a bookplate on it?
Should we use bookplates still? I think this question is parallel to another one I’ve asked to myself: Should we write in our books? If you want to cherish this book, and make it your own, the answer to both questions is yes. If you plan on selling the book and want as much value as possible for it, then the answer is no.
Personally, I love the idea of personalizing your book and making it yours. Why not? Anyone can own Twilight. But nobody else owns your copy of Twilight. Use a bookplate! Make it yours.