Shawn Alff: You started posting pictures of forgotten bookmarks on a blog in 2007 after finding a large marijuana leaf pressed in the pages of a microwave cookbook. In a world where the written word is increasingly appearing online exclusively, will there be such a thing as a digital bookmark that a bibliophile fifty years from now will compile to provide some insight into digital readers?
Michael Popek: I'm not sure if there will be a proper digital equivalent. If you think about it, you can buy an old computer off Craigslist today - who knows what kind of files you'll find on there. Perhaps in 50 years, the highlighting and note-taking capabilites of e-readers will have advanced so that you can find a marked-up digitial Ulysses.
MP: Dried and pressed flowers and leaves, by far. After that, I find a lot of photos.
MP: Older books seem to have a lot more newspaper clippings inside. I will occasionally find a volume with text replaced by pasted-in clippings. I'm not sure if that should be some sort of sign of the state of journalism, or just that people don't clip articles out of the newspaper any more.
MP: Big leather Bibles from the turn of the last century will almost always have something inside. I think families used these as portable filing cabinet. Anything big and beefy - dictionaries, encyclopedias, art books - are good bets, but the best bookmarks are in well-worn novels.
MP: It doesn't happen as often as I'd like. I would really enjoy returning some of this stuff to its proper owners. The first time it happened, it was a handmade cloth bookmark. The person who had made the bookmark more than 30 years ago had found the post. (You can read the comments on this found bookmark here).
MP: Hopefully a little note with a gift inscription, something along the lines of "To Mary on her 25th birthday, I loved this book, thought of you as I read it."
MP: I have thought about it, but between Forgotten Bookmarks, Handwritten Recipes (like F.B., but just found recipes) and Book Per Diem (I sell one book a day), I have my internet hands full, not to mention the day-to-day bookshop stuff. I have a bunch of book-related blog ideas I'd like to get off the ground.
MP: I find a lot of these bookmarks in the middle of the text, so they might think we never finish reading a book.
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