Today, bookmarks exist in a wide variety of forms. From free cardboard strips printed with logos and advertising slogans, the range extends to exquisitely designed bibliophile variants featuring artwork, designs or inspirational quotes by famous personalities. In a narrow sense, bookmarks which can be placed anywhere in the book must be distinguished from the integrated ribbon page markers which can also come in multiple and various colours. Fixed markers such as a thumb index cut into the fore-edge of the book or adhesive page markers make it easier to find a particular place in the book.
Attested use of bookmarks goes back to the early 14th century. Most early bookmarks were strips of parchment. Bookmarks have been used as an advertising medium since the late 19th century. In some cases entire series of bookmarks were created to promote customer loyalty, such as the traditional dress series for the paperbacks of the Rowohlt-Verlag in 1953.