Side Note: What’s a Friend Book?

I mentioned Friend/ship Books in my Happy Mail post this week, and a question came up as to what the things are.

Friendship books (also known as “FBs” in their abbreviated form) are small booklets made by stapling paper together, or are sometimes just sheets or strips of paper. They are usually decorated and the person who starts the book writes their name and address as the first person sending the book. People often include a list of interests as well. The FB is then passed around from penpal to penpal, and can often also become a way for one to meet new penpals. Most people hope to see the book again once it is full so they add their return address to the back cover of the book too, or inscribe “Return to Sender” on it. People also sometimes make FBs for someone else rather than themselves, in which case they write the name and address of the recipient on the front/at the top. Some people find friendship books fun because you can see where they have been in a trail back to the original sender/recipient.


Here is one of the ones I received:


Post-its with black marker were put over the addresses, but you get the idea. This is one of the nicer ones. The others are a bit ‘rougher’.


Inside, people write their addresses (if they want) along with specifics in regards to the people they want (and don’t want) to write to them.

If I recall correctly, there are little codes that are used to designate these things shorthand. Ah, yep! At the bottom of the Wiki page, you’ll find the abbreviations.

So there you go! Some people find them annoying, some people think it’s fun to see where they get to in the world… (Once it’s filled up, you’re meant to send it to the person who made it/whom it was made for.)

4 thoughts on “Side Note: What’s a Friend Book?

  1. Oh! I had completely forgotten about these! I used to get them quite often back in my teenage penpalling years, great to see people still make them and send them around! 🙂


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