Debate It: Bookish Merch

We book lovers love our shiny pretty books, but what about the other bookish odds and ends out there? Today’s Debate It is about all about bookish merch, so stick around to hear our opinion on bookmarks, book sleeves, bookish candles, jewelry, pins and more! Although to be honest we each just picked our favorite piece of merch and talked about why it is the superior kind of merch for an entire blog post. Oops!

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Chana: I’ll be the first to agree that bookish merch is super fun. Posters, bookmarks, tote bags, and pins are all good and fine but none of them holds the key to my heart. One of the reasons I’ve recently begun refraining from buying book boxes is because as much as I might want the book inside the box, the merch is always a gamble. Sometimes it might be filled with miscellaneous branded merch that I have absolutely no use for. If I’m lucky there might be a bookmark, and we can all agree that those are always useful, but I’m not ready to continue taking that risk with book boxes. And besides for my issue with book boxes, there is only one type of bookish merch that holds my fancy. Candles.

Me, when my candles boxes come

Now I know I said the reason I’m not so crazy about book boxes anymore is because some of the items might not be useful, but hear me out. I know that I don’t NEED candles. And they don’t really serve an explicit purpose especially since I don’t light them, but THEY’RE PRETTY. And they smell nice! And they come in cute lil’ jars that sometimes have sparkles in them! I don’t know where my fascination with bookish candles stemmed from but now that I’ve started collecting them I can’t seem to stop. It’s like an animal part of my brain has awakened that is only capable of three coherent words of thought. Must. Get. Candles. Do many people call me crazy when they see my candle adorned bookshelves? Yes. Have I had to become used to the disappointed look of despair my mother gives me each time a new batch of candles arrives at our home? Also yes. But I am a hoarder and at this point, I’m in too deep to stop.

When I gaze upon my hoard of candles

Malka: I agree with the first half of what Chana said, but she lost me at candles. Being a part of the book community for so long, you’d think I’d have loads of bookish merch. And that’s kind of true. I do have a fair amount of pins, bookmarks, and posters. But the majority of those were free, and half the time they were shoved into my hands. Not like I’m complaining, but I didn’t go looking for most of the merch I currently own. Out of the products I mentioned the only item I go looking for are bookmarks, even though I have over 100 minimum. But we’re here today to take about merch we purchase!

My first array into bookish merch was before my very first BookCon in 2015. I wanted something to show off my favorite book, unsurprisingly Fangirl, but couldn’t figure out what the best way to do it was. But then I discovered a cute Etsy store that would personalize bookish earrings. I immediately bought myself a pair and to this day I still wear my Fangirl earrings to most bookish events. But that was a one-time thing. It’s only recently that I’ve found my merch calling. BOOK SLEEVES!

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My adorable Fangirl earrings!

You see, I’m practical. I can’t justify buying several sets of earrings because I don’t go to book events all the time, and so one pair is perfect to wear 2 or 3 times a year. But I’m starting to think I can never have too many book sleeves. You see, I hate when books get damaged. And so up until now, my solution has been a makeshift book sleeve. I’d wrap a book in paper towels and then put the wrapped up book into a plastic bag, that way it was safe from spills, tears, and many other forms of damage. But one time when I was over at Chana’s place, she saw my ridiculous method an gave me a book sleeve she had gotten from a Little Box of Joy. It may have very well changed my life.

You see, unlike candles *cough cough* book sleeves are useful. I do a ridiculous amount of traveling, and of course, I take books with me everywhere I go. I now have a simple method to protect my books. I put them in a book sleeve and they safely arrive at my destination. I can’t justify making a purchase on something I won’t use. I wouldn’t burn a candle, so while they’re pretty to look at and sometimes they smell nice I just don’t see their use, practically. On the other hand, I can definitely justify buying a book sleeve for each and every book I own!

When I pack my 39 books to go on a 2 day vacation

Chana: Okay, sure whatever. Practicality. But were you listening when I said THEY’RE PRETTY. So shiny. So pretty. So nice. I collect my candles and I stack them in obsessively neat piles on my shelves. And when children visit and ask, oh what are they for? I smile and say, nothing. Nothing at all. I don’t burn candles either for fear of ruining the prettiness. Which I will admit is a tad bit strange. But people have been collecting things for centuries! Ptolmey collected books, Jack the Ripper collected the teeth of his victims, and I collect candles. We each have our own unique vices.

Me talking to my candles (I swear I’m not crazy) 

All kidding aside, the reasons I like candles are purely superficial, but they make me happy, which as expert Marie Kondo would say, is what really matters. My candles spark joy and so I shall keep them. I do understand functionality over frivolity though, and in all other aspects of my life I’m a trash first and ask questions later type of gal, but as I’m sure some of you can relate to, bookish merch, or just merch, in general, is something that people tend to buy because it brings them joy. And that in itself serves a function.

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Your turn! What do you think about bookish merch? Does it have to be practical or just make you happy? And which one are you quicker to buy, candles or book sleeves? Do you collect any other items that we didn’t mention?

19 thoughts on “Debate It: Bookish Merch

  1. Bookish merch is absolutely amazing, although I must admit that people kind of look at me strangely for spending most of my money on all things books. Practicality is nice, but as long as it is something I think I will use, like a bag, cushion or candle, then I don’t really mind. Candles are my guilty buy so I would say I buy way more of those then book sleeves. Don’t even get me started on the stack of bookmarks!

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  2. This was such an entertaining discussion! I do have a bit of bookish merch, but it’s mostly all Harry Potter. 😉 I have various articles of clothing, coffee mugs, bookmarks, etc… I do have to say that I would love to get some bookish candles?? This may have fully convinced me to look into it. XD

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  3. I’m more drawn to bookish t-shirts, and while I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, I’d definitely give bookish jewelry a second look (my mom has a really cute pendant of the book To Kill a Mockingbird!). Other than that, I don’t have much need for stuff…although I do love candles! 🙂

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    1. Yes! I love being able to wear my bookish faves proudly! I really need to stock up on more bookish t-shirts though (and maybe some more jewelry too)! I might justify going on a bookish apparel buying spree as necessary purchases for BookCon this year!

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  4. This is a interesting discussion and I can definitely see how it becomes addictive because you just want more. And I have never had a book box but I do get that problem as I feel like I would end up with a lot of merch I don’t like.
    But I would buy book merch if I am invested it and would use it for decoration, to wear etc. I think you need to have a balance when spending money– you get some stuff you want because you want it. But at the same time don’t go overboard as it can be addictive and you need to buy food and that 😂
    Great post!!! 💕

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    1. Addictive just about sums it up! And I totally hear your point about balance. Every once in a while I let myself buy something just because I want it, but I try to make sure those are isolated instances that way I don’t get into the habit of spending lots of money every month on merch!

      Thank you!

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    1. I own 3 book sleeves at this point, but I don’t plan on stopping just yet because I really do take a lot of books with me on my travels! I have some non-practical merch as well, but it’s a rare thing for me. There are a few candles or Funkos that I wouldn’t say no to, though!

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  5. At first, I liked the random stuff you got in book boxes, but I am so over bookish merch. It is stuff I don’t want and normally end up throwing away when I have clear out. I want bookmarks, maybe a candle or two occasionally, and tote bags. I do not want pins, I hate jewellery. I don’t like scarves and posters. I don’t want it. Bookish merch has become too big a thing and sure, it’s nice when it’s for a book you love or has a cool bookish quote on… but I don’t need it for everything and I’m fed up of having it. I like to buy it for myself and not have to sift through the stuff I don’t want. It’s why I don’t get book boxes anymore.

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    1. Yup! I’m very specific about what kind of merch I like and from which fandoms as well. With book boxes it’s hard to know if I’ll get something I want or not! I used to not like tote bags, but as I’ve started using them more I definitely see their use! But I agree, in general, bookish merch is not my thing.

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  6. I’m not a huge collector of bookish merch, surprisingly. I have a couple of Penguin Classics tote bags that I love, and various Harry Potter related things (pyjamas, wands, jewellery etc.) and some Funko Pops (but they’re more to do with TV shows/films really?), but that’s about it, to be honest…which is kind of weird when I think about it, since I tend to hoard loads of other things, eg. books and stationery.
    I would like to get some bookish pins though to decorate a new bag I have, and I like the idea of book sleeves! I think I might need to get one.

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  7. You two are so delightful! But really I’m not a candle girl. I don’t see the allure sparkles aside (because I can see why the shiney could lure you in!) And I LOVE your Fangirl earrings. So cute. Honestly though I love bookmarks! I can’t get enough and love to collect the odd ones like wood ones and magnet ones an especially love when fanart is a part of it. I’m actually thinking about collecting pins too… but that’s all due to instagram. ❤️

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    1. Awww! ❤ Thank you! Aren’t the earrings so cute?? And I definitely have a bit of a bookmark collection going. They’re mostly paper, but every once in a while I get a super cool bookmark as a present. And I totally hear that about pins. I’ve started eyeing some super cute ones I saw on Insta as well. I’m not quite at the point of buying myself any yet, but if I got a free one I wouldn’t say no!

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  8. This cracks me up, I love how you both defend your merch of choice hahah. So… I want both the book sleeves AND the candles. I want to hoard them both, thankyouverymuch. I have maybe… 5 book sleeves? And I love them, and they ARE useful, but Idk if I really need any more? As for candles, I have a candle problem for real (when I moved, I had an entire box of just candles… and it wasn’t ALL the candles), but I still haven’t gotten any bookish ones! One of my friends is supposed to give me some, so then I can tell you if I agree with the fuss!

    But as a rule, I like practical merch. I have a Cinder and a Hunger Games comforter. I have a The 100 blanket. The 100 Kindle Sleeve. A Catching Fire mousepad, a THG clock. My mugs are all from books/The 100. And someday when I can afford new bedding, I shall design and buy the perfect The 100 comforter for my new bed. And a shower curtain! Okay I guess I just want a bookish and/or The 100 house and that is it. 😂

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    1. I’m glad this entertained you! We have a lot of fun making these debates and I’m glad the levity translates onto the page!

      I have 3 book sleeves, and once I have a few more I’ll probably be satisfied, but I still am on the search for more at the moment. But I think the only candle I’ve ever really been interested in was the OwlCrate candle based on Fangirl. Like you, if it’s in a fandom I love, it’s a lot easier for me to want to buy ALL THE THINGS! There’s no better way to express how much you love a fandom than spending all your money on merch!

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