Your Complete Guide To Bookish Back-To-School Swag

Notebooks and bookmarks and tote bags, oh my!

The days are slowly getting shorter as we slip into the crisp season of fall. Aside from rolling your eyes as you witness the unthinkably long lines grow outside of Starbucks for pumpkin-inspired sweets, it's a time to ponder the important things in life: sweater vests, comfortable socks, and perhaps most important, back-to-school supplies.

What's that? You totally wish you were going back to school, but unfortunately you're an adult whose classroom days are over? That never stopped anyone -- or, it certainly never stopped us -- from stocking up on bags and bookmarks and reliving the good ol' days.

In the past we've wrangled up our favorite nerdy supplies, on Etsy and elsewhere. This year, behold: a master list.


Tiny backpacks are in, which we avid readers think is pretty silly. If the things you carry take up more space than a pack of gum, tote bags are still the way to go. We rounded up a bunch of them last year -- below are are absolute favorites.

Poe-ka dots tote: Ha! Get it? Ha ha! (From Out of Print.)

Serif tote: Sleek and clever. (From Little Factory.)

“There is no explanation” tote: Melville House made waves in the tote world with their "I would prefer not to" bag. Their latest only reinforces the fact that they have a knack for picking punchy mantras. (From Melville House.)

Picasso cats tote: A cat is a book lover's best friend. (From Etsy seller leahgoren.)

Peter Pan tote: Less well-read passersby may take this tote to be an invitation, but book lovers will know you're expressing your love for Peter Pan. (From Etsy seller Seeker of Happiness.)


Lest your place-finding frustrations make you swear off physical books forever, you'd best invest in a bookmark. Unless you're cool with folding the corners of your most beloved tomes -- in which case you're dead to us. No, not really. But really. 

Fingerprint bookmark band: Right, that's the line where I left off. Thanks, bookmark! (Via MoMA.)

Bookmarker bookmark: Flag your favorite passages as you read while keeping your place. An elegant solution to both problems that can lead to the dreaded practice of dog-earing. (Via Design Milk.)

Albatros bookmark: Never mark your place again. Really. Just let this clever bookmark pop into place as you turn each page, and mark your stopping point when you close the book. Brilliant! (Via Albatros.)

Expletive bookmark: Were you forced to stop at a !!! moment or a ??? moment in your page-turner? Vent your frustration with these expressive bookmarks. (Via Kate Spade.)

Book hook bookmark: This wedge bookmark has an extra feature -- the central opening is a great place to pop your annotating pen or reading glasses for the night! (Via Connox.)


In the event that you haven't yet abandoned your pen-and-paper habits for the clunky convenience of a tablet, we've got a few notebooks that you can write in with your own two hands.

Hard bound cloth notebook: To give your scrawling some heft, you could record it in a cloth-bound notebook. (From Whitelines.)

Decomposition book: These notebooks aren't just attractive, they're good for the environment, too. The covers are printed with soy ink and the pages are composed of 100 percent consumer waste. (From Michael Roger.)

Patchwork notebook: Double down on the tactile feel notebooks provide with this patchwork design. (From SEASONPAPER.)

Refillable felt journal: This hefty journal comes with two paper refills, so it's worth the investment. (From PapergeekMY.)

Classic author journal: ObviousState has turned their beloved posters into little, collectable notebooks, with quippy quotes from your favorite classic authors. (From ObviousState.)

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